My wife and my best friend passed away 328 days after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer of the bones. Sheryll accepted her terminal diagnosis with grace, taught those who love her how to make tough decisions, and never asked ‘why me’. She held onto her faith and to my hand until she went Home – Tim O’Brien
We love our mom, we miss our mom, and most of all we are proud of our mom; of her many accomplishments, for her strength through all of her health battles, and for the humor she brought to our lives. We found peace because she accepted her fate, and we were strengthened by the laughter she kept in our home until the very end – Hannah and Jessica
My daughter, my middle child, a one of a kind person passed away. When Sheryll learned of her terminal illness she prayed to God that he would give her no more than she could handle. Sheryll handled plenty and demonstrated to all just how strong she and her faith truly were. A mother should not have to bury her child, but I am truly blessed and most grateful for the time we had together. My darling daughter Sheryll is with God now and I will miss and love her forever! Sealed with a kiss and a big, big hug – Love Mom
Our sister, the kid in the middle, the one who always teased that she had clowns to the left and jokers to the right, passed away. Sheryll protected fiercely, laughed easily, and loved unconditionally. She always taught us to dream big and reflected back a world of possibilities through her accomplishments. Sheryll is part of who we are. We were blessed to love and be loved by our dear sister. God bless you Sheryll Anne – Don and Marjorie
My MammyGrams was funny, cuddly, and caring. She made great Jello and was very smart. We had great sleepovers and made toilet paper tube bird feeders. That reminds me, MammyGrams was very clever – Hadley
And now something from Sheryll.
I could not leave this planet without writing something about my life. I am who I am because of the love I received; from my wonderful husband Tim, the man who laughed at my hijinks and shouldered every burden with me; from my incredible daughters Hannah and Jessica, who offered love and comfort and showed real grit when I know they wanted to sit in a corner and cry; from my darling granddaughter Hadley, who brought immeasurable joy to my life and gave the best hugs ever.
My life was blessed from the beginning by having my mother Ruth Bodreau, and brother Donald Sneade, and sister Marjorie McCarthy, who shared my life’s journey with more smiles than tears. In my most difficult months I received uplifting support and love from my extended family members, Denise Sneade and Nicole Buck, and from the 973 O’Brien relatives, most notably Kathy Gaffney and Eileen Stupik. These women shared their medical expertise and emotional support day and night. They were there from the very beginning waiting for good news, and when there was none coming they made sure I never felt alone. My gratitude to them is endless. And to Donna Eaton, Debbie Gagnon, Jennifer Lane Courville, and Joyce McTigue, I thank you for the shoulders to cry on and the laughs we shared during this difficult time.
For all of my 64 years, 01603 has been my home. I grew up in Columbus Park, happily claiming turf between the Lovell Street rotary and the end of Englewood Avenue. I was raised by my parents, Donald Sneade (deceased) and Ruth Bodreau, a finer woman you’d never meet. I lived on Hobson Avenue with my older brother Don and younger sister Marjorie. We were kids raised in the 1960s, part of the ‘Go Play In The Street Generation’ my friend Kevin Mullaney recently said. As kids we spent our days riding bikes, skipping rope, and playing nightly games of Kick-the-Can that started right after supper and ended when the street lights came on.
I attended Columbus Park Elementary and South High School and continued my love of learning by burying my nose into any book I could find; particularly those written about or by notable women of history. For pleasure, I read suspense and mystery novels, crocheted blankets and did needlepoint.
In 1986 I married Tim O’Brien, a true gentleman who I lovingly refer to as Mr. Wonderful. My husband is a steadfast guy who does what he promises which is why he managed to go the long haul with me. God knows I tested that man’s patience with my antics then easily brought him to tears of laughter with some wacky explanation for whatever transgression or hairbrained stunt I pulled.
My greatest passion in life was being, Mom to Hannah and Jessica, and MammyGrams to Hadley. I never missed an opportunity to teach in the moment believing fully that my children were on loan from above and I was blessed to be their guide. I took the role of motherhood seriously and I know in my heart that I am leaving the world a better place because my girls are in it.
In 2018, I decided to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing a novel, “Just one so I can see my name on the spine of a book,” I said. At the time of my terminal diagnosis in November 2021, I had 22 books published. My publishing team, Andria Flores, Nancy Pendleton, and Jessica Champion worked 24/7 to get three of those manuscripts to print so I could work on a project near and dear to my heart – a book of advice for my granddaughter, Hadley. While on hospice I wrote four additional books and helped prepare them for publication.
During my life I have entered into friendships with some wonderful women. I want to single out one. Donna Eaton is my nearest and dearest. As moms, we shared happiness and shouldered profound sadness during our 30 year friendship. It was Donna who encouraged me to write, write, write, and then celebrated every book upon its completion and publication. And when she heard about my illness she did what besties do, she helped keep me sane – which was a tough slog on the best of days.
Like many people facing death, I closed ranks around me. The people central to my life were the ones I wanted near, and there were others who I needed near. Dr. David Weinstock, my PCP, took control of my situation and made sure my medical needs were addressed and I was emotionally supported and cared for. He delivered terrible news with clarity and genuine sympathy. And when it was time to share my care with hospice, he brought to my world two kind and caring women who helped me on my final journey. I owe a debt of gratitude to Marlene and Heather from the Jewish Health Center. These uniquely caring women helped a stranger feel like a cherished family member during a time of profound sadness. When the end of my journey was evident, I was welcomed at Rose Monahan for the peaceful passing I hoped for.
There’s a lot of other stuff I could say about my life. Trust me, I could ramble on about the experiences that have brought joy and disappointment, but the things worth noting have been noted. Except this: I thank God for His blessings, they were plentiful.
In closing, please know that …
“The best story I ever wrote was the one I lived. To me it was a bestseller.”
A memorial gathering for Sheryll will be held at O’Connor Brothers Funeral Home, 592 Park Avenue on Saturday, October 8th from 10am-12pm with prayerful offerings and eulogies beginning at 11:30am. Immediately following there will be a procession past Sheryll’s childhood home that will end at the Knights of Columbus, 44 Circuit Avenue North, for a party in Sheryll’s honor. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: Jewish Healthcare Center at jhccenter.org/make-a-donation or to Rose Monahan through [email protected] If you prefer sending flowers, her favorites are white.