Likely the most important figure in the history of education in Langley has died.
Norman Sherritt died early Aug. 16.
"His is a huge loss to the community, and one that has personally struck me very hard," said local author and historian Warren Sommer. "He leaves a marvelous legacy, having taught so many young residents in his role as a school teacher and administrator, and having contributed so much to researching and writing about Langley's history."
Prominent local artist Brian Croft worked with Sherritt to learn the history of key local landmarks which often appear in his paintings.
Sherritt has written on places such as Murrayville, key buildings such as the hospital, the feed store in Milner and Sharon United Church, and topics such as local service stations and a detailed history of post offices in the Langleys.
Sherritt was a teacher and principal in Langley for several decades, and through his hobby became one of Langley's most prominent and learned historians.
"History in Langley is not dull," he was fond to note. "Confusing, maybe, but not dull."
Sherritt was a frequent contributor to the Langley Advance, which started in 1931.
"I know he enjoyed his relationship with you and the Advance, and truly appreciated your efforts to highlight Langley's colourful, and sometimes coloured, past," Sommer wrote to editor Bob Groeneveld.
Sherritt's father built the Murrayville Hall so when the community was looking at how to preserve the historic building constructed in 1928, Norm played a key role.
Sharon and Wally Martin own the Princess and the Pea Bed and Breakfast which used to be the Travellers Hotel.
Sharon met him in 1970 when she was a teacher and he was the principal at Aldergrove Secondary.
"He knew more about Langley history than anyone we ever met," the Martins recalled. "The amazing thing was that not only did he know what had happened in Langley but he could produce a newspaper clipping or some other document or photo to back up the fact he was talking about. He had a warm and welcoming disposition, a great sense of humour and supported us 110 per cent in our relocation to Murrayville. Norm spent a good part of his life in Murrayville so he had the information we needed to carry out an authentic restoration of the hotel. We spent many hours talking to Norm about Murrayville. Thank you for your support Norman. We have been involved with the Murrayville Hall over the past 15 years and he had all the facts about the hall. His father Ab built the hall so he knew it very well. Norm also shared with us many of his photos and documents in that regard. A truly unselfish person."
In 1998 Sherritt was named the HD Stafford Good Citizen of the Year.
No details about a memorial service were available before press time.
Norman and Mabel Sherritt celebrated their 60th anniversary back in 2002 when they were profiled in the Advance.
From the Dec. 24, 2002, edition in a story by then-reporter Erin McKay:
Norman and Mabel Sherritt of Cloverdale celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Dec. 19.
There were married in the Anglican Church of the Redeemer in Cloverdale in 1942, and have lived in the community ever since.
Norman grew up in Murrayville and attended Langley High School.
Mabel (nee Main) grew up in Cloverdale and attended Surrey High School.
The two met when they attended Vancouver Normal School in 1939/40.
They both started their teaching careers in September, 1940, Norman at Fort Langley Elementary School and Mabel at Hjorth Road Elementary in Surrey.
They married in 1942, when Norman was in the uniform of the Royal Canadian Artillery, and Mabel was teaching at Newton Elementary School.
After the war, they built a house on the Pratt Road (180th Street) and have lived there ever since, and are now in a second house on the same property.
Norman taught at Langley Secondary School for 21 years, and retired in 1980 after 11 years as principal of Aldergrove Secondary School. He was the founding member and the first president of the Lower Fraser Valley Cerebral Palsy Association, which operates the South Fraser Child Development Centre on 140th St. in Surrey, which is now it its 49th year of operation.
Norm is past president of the Cloverdale Seniors Centre, a member of the Aldergrove and Langley Heritage Societies, and of the Surrey Historical Society. Norman is also a historian of the Langley and Surrey areas and is a member of a team preparing a history of Surrey's railways, for a display in the Surrey Museum.
After raising a family, Mabel returned to reach at Surrey Centre and Cloverdale Elementary Schools. She is a member of the Church of Christ the Redeemer Guild at Surrey Centre, the Cloverdale Old Age Pensioners, and the Surrey Retired Teachers Association.
Both Mabel and Norman are members of the Cloverdale Seniors Centre Camping Group.
There are four generations in the Sherritt family: Mabel and Norman; son David and daughter Linda; grandchildren Arlan and Christie; and great grandchildren Nicholas, Tyler, and Meagan.
Mabel and Norman celebrated their anniversary with a small reception at Newlands in Langley.
Members of the original wedding party attending the party were Mabel's sister Mildred Dorwert, who was the bridesmaid, and her brother Harry Main, who was an usher.
The only ones missing were Ron Cockett, who was best man, and Chauncey Arnold, an usher.
Also at the 60th anniversary celebration was the soloist from the wedding, Hazel Harrower, who sang I'll Walk Beside You, and still had a good voice after 60 years.
@ Copyright 2013