Listen to this article

ST. JOHNS, Fla. — Sherry Jo (Smith) Ashenfelter passed away in St. Johns, Fla., on Sunday (Sept. 8, 2019) at the age of 75.

Sherry was born Dec. 18, 1943, in St. Joseph, Mo., to parents Josephine Cummings Smith and Floyd Lee Smith.

Left behind to cherish Sherry’s memory are John "Jack" Ashenfelter (husband), David Elliott Boyer (son), Thuy-Trang Nguyen Boyer (daughter-in-law), Beth Smith (stepmother), Terry Lee Smith (half brother), Deborah Kay Prendes (half sister), her cats — Fancy and Moon Pie — and additional extended family and friends.

Sherry spoke fondly of her small-town upbringing in Gower, Mo. In the Gower Baptist Church, she participated in the Girls’ Auxiliary and Training Union, taught vacation Bible school, sang solos and duets, and was a member of the choir. At Gower High School, Sherry served as vice president and president of the student council, editor of the yearbook, a cheerleader, majorette, homecoming queen attendant, FHA song leader and reporter, chorus soloist, and a member of Gower’s sextet, pep club, junior play cast and senior play cast. She graduated as the valedictorian of the Class of 1961 and was awarded the Schuster Key for excellence in academics and her participation in so many activities. 

At the University of Kansas, Sherry earned a bachelor of science degree in secondary education with a concentration in political science, was inducted into two honor societies, Pi Lambda Theta and Pi Sigma Alpha, and graduated with distinction. At the University of Connecticut, Sherry earned a master's degree in social work and subsequently earned the Certified Social Work (CSW) and Academy of Certified Social Work (ACSW) credentials. Sherry was employed as a school social worker in Illinois, where she was named Social Worker of the Year in 1983 for the Illini District of the National Association of Social Workers.

Sherry was known for her intelligence, wit, outgoing personality and compassion. She very much enjoyed public speaking and was told by many, many people that she was a natural born teacher. Sherry considered herself an Elvis girl and her greatest passion was dancing. Sherry and Jack, accomplished dancers, voluntarily taught dancing to over 500 students, ages 8 to 95. Sherry extended joy and encouragement to all who knew her.

To honor Sherry’s memory, donations may be made to Community Hospice and Palliative Care, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257; the Jacksonville Humane Society, 8464 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32216; or Westminster Retirement Communities Foundation, 25 State Road 13, Jacksonville, FL 32259.

A celebration of life will be held for Sherry from 10 to 11 a.m. Sept. 14, 2019, at her retirement community, Westminster Woods on Julington Creek, 25 State Road 13, Jacksonville, FL 32259, in the auditorium. Arrangements by Hixson-Klein Funeral Home, Gower, Mo.