Erling 'Pete' Maynard Sherry
ONALASKA -- Erling "Pete" Maynard Sherry, 86, of Onalaska passed away Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, at Black River Memorial Hospital. He was born May 30, 1933, in Readstown, the sixth of seven children of Gerhard and Mabel (Swiggum) Sherry. Pete's childhood was spent on the family farm in Readstown, attending school at the Sherry School and graduating as valedictorian from Readstown High School in 1951. On Nov. 26, 1953, Pete married his high school sweetheart, Annette Nelson, on a snowy day at Franklin Lutheran Church in Soldiers Grove,. Together the couple raised one son, Bryce and three daughters, Kareen, Kristi and Lisa.
Following his graduation from Wisconsin State College at Platteville, in 1955, with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural education, Pete and Annette moved to Lime Springs, Iowa, where he taught high school agriculture and sciences and drove the school bus too. In 1959, the couple moved to Winona, Minn., where Pete started his insurance career with Lutheran Brotherhood. In 1960, Pete and Annette moved to Onalaska, where he continued his insurance career, majority of which as a partner in Carrier Insurance Agency.
Pete loved music, singing in the Men's Glee Choir at Platteville and as a proud member of the La Crosse Coulee Chordsmen, for over 50 years, receiving the Distinguished Service Award. Special moments for him were a surprise performance by chorus members at his 80th birthday celebration and most recently the gift of music by the "Special Export" quartet, while hospitalized these past few weeks. He taught himself how to play the ukulele and enjoyed serenading his daughters.
His faith was very important to him and it is what sustained him the last few months of his life. Pete sang in the senior choir at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, served on numerous boards and committees at the church and was most recently, a member of the OWLS (Older Wiser Lutherans) group.
Pete was proud of his Norwegian heritage and could be seen wearing his Norwegian flag necktie at special events. Pete and Annette were long time members of the local Sons of Norway. He was a former member of the Onalaska Rotary Club.
Pete and Annette enjoyed traveling through their 65+ years together, from car trips with the kids in the early years, to global trips throughout Europe and Asia, through his insurance business and trips to visit the grandchildren, in more recent years. He enjoyed tinkering in his yard and summers on the porch.
Pete was a sports fan, cheering on Wisconsin Badgers football on Saturdays and the Green Bay Packers on Sundays. His favorite season was college basketball season. Through the years, Annette learned to embrace sports as well, planning their dinners around their college basketball viewing schedule.
Pete is survived by his wife of 65 years, Annette Sherry of Onalaska; son, Bryce Sherry of Onalaska; daughter, Kareen (Steve) Schmidtknecht of Rockton, Ill.; daughter, Lisa (Tom) Liebl of Sheboygan, Wis.; four grandchildren, Sarah (Duke) Snider of Weston, Mo., Peter (Kristy) Schmidtknecht of Roscoe, Ill., Alexander Liebl of San Jose, Calif., Abigail Liebl of Milwaukee; four great-grandchildren, Everett and Parker Schmidtknecht of Roscoe, Danica Snider and Duke Snider Jr. of Weston; sisters, Margaret Larson of Viroqua, Lucille Erickson of Menagha, Minn., and Louise (John) Sime of Burlington, Wis.; cousin, Tom (Marge) Sherry of Viroqua, who was raised as part of Pete's family; nieces and nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors, who will remember his sense of humor, quick wit and friendly smile.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kristi Kolb; son-in-law, Dennis Kolb; parents, Mabel and Gerhard Sherry; mother-in-law, Mabel (Jackson) Nelson; and father-in-law, Hugo Nelson; sisters, Esther Aspenson and Kathleen Ranallo; brother, Adrian Sherry; sisters-in-law, Helen McKittrick, Benetta Nelson, Florence Nelson and Sally Sherry; brothers-in-law, Virgil Aspenson, Kenny Erickson, Keith Larson, Melvin McKittrick, Maurice Nelson, Merlin Nelson and Joe Ranallo; nephew, LeRoy McKittrick; nieces, Cheryl (Ranallo) Mirgai and Jacquelyn Ranallo.
A celebration of Pete's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 410 Main St., Onalaska. A visitation will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 and again from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service Saturday at the church.
Memorials in Pete's name may be contributed to First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sugar Creek Bible Camp or to the charity of the donor's choice. Dickinson Family Funeral Home is assisting the family in arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.dickinsonfuneralhome.com.