Sue Sherman, born Sulochana Gogate in New York on April 2, 1928, died peacefully in her sleep on Jan. 23, 2021, at Pacifica Senior Living Memory Care in Santa Barbara, CA.
Her last years were marked by dementia and declining health, but she continued singing up until her last days. Formerly of Sarasota, FL, she is survived by her children, Shelley, Diane, Roger, Mark and their families, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and her sister Mira Frederick.
Sue’s early life was marked by poverty and a number of moves, from New York to Denver to Washington, DC, as her Indian immigrant father and Swedish American mother struggled to find work to support their family during the Depression. Despite the family’s economic poverty, the importance of getting a good education was always emphasized.
Sue often said how much she looked forward to going to college, to meeting others who were smart and would appreciate who she was, to being in an environment where she could learn and grow. Antioch College was that place, a college dedicated to experiential learning, to empowering students to think for themselves, to take responsibility for their learning and to be responsible to their community. In a passage that she wrote for a Reunion book, Sue said: “Antioch made me the person I am today, an unabashed liberal who cares about the direction of my country, my state, my town.”
Although she started college intending to fulfill her father’s dream for her to be a doctor, she said that she realized the sciences were not her strength, and she graduated with a BA in English. Antioch’s Co-op program enabled her to work while in college, to gain practical skills and varied experiences, and she took advantage of it to work at a cottage supervisor at a Reformatory for Women in New Jersey, as an occupational therapist at a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut, as a clerical worker at a Children’s Hospital in DC, and as a teacher-counselor at a boarding school in upstate New York.
It was at Antioch that she met Hal Sherman (Antioch class of 1950, deceased in 1998), the love of her life, when he returned from World War II. Following graduation in 1950, they were married.
Sue and Hal went on to live a life marked by change, giving birth to five children and making lots of friends as they moved to follow his career in Minneapolis, MN; Akron, OH; Memphis, TN; Worcester, MA; Houston, TX; and Wilkes-Barre and Media, PA. Sue obtained her master’s degree from Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre, and began her 20-year teaching career. Her teaching was rooted in her Antioch education, as she wrote about the importance of an education that nourished self-discovery, provided the opportunity to live a full life, and preserved “the best traditions of our democracy — liberty equality, tolerance of diversity.” Antioch remained important, and they often attended Reunions until Hal’s death.
After retirement, they moved to Sarasota, FL, where Sue lived for 25 years. Throughout her adult life, Sue was active in the Unitarian Universalist Church, the League of Women Voters, anti-war, women’s rights, racial justice, and many other liberal causes. Widowed in 1998, she later remarried and was again widowed in 2005.
Sue’s legacy is one of resilience, standing up for one’s beliefs, and commitment to family. A private Zoom memorial celebration was held for family and friends, and her ashes will be distributed according to her wishes. Donations in her memory may be made to: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Common Cause, Planned Parenthood of Sarasota or the League of Women Voters.