This memorial website was created in memory of our loving wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother, and friend, Sheryl Larson. We will remember her forever.

"A Celebration of Sheryl's Life - A Gathering to Share Our Love" is scheduled for Saturday, July 23rd, 2016, at 2pm at the Unitarian Church of Evanston located at 1330 Ridge Avenue, EvanstonIL, 60201

~ Please dress for the weather, comfort, and a celebration (all colors welcome) ~

The Unitarian Church is not air conditioned.

If the parking lot is full, there is ample street parking west of Ridge, south of Dempster.  Please exercise caution when crossing Ridge Ave. 

Please share your memories of Sheryl in the space below:
1)  Stories about how Sheryl touched your life in the above Stories tab
2)  Name, connection to Sheryl, and two sentences in the Tribute tab recalling something specific about Sheryl that you will never forget. 
3)  Share pictures, videos or songs under the Gallery tab, or to the right under Add Photos

Donations in Sheryl's memory may be made to the Jabboury Foundation for Cancer Research, Inc:,169/view,donation/   

Posted by Stacy Harris on June 5, 2021
Sheryl's roses are blooming and stronger- better than ever.

They represent and embody here in so many ways, especially beauty and a character of their own.

Of course, there are no words to truly express the emotions of this day.

Much love to the spirit and soul of Sheryl wherever she resides.

Posted by Ginny Holbert on June 4, 2021
Five years. Sometimes it seems like five days and other times it seems like several lifetimes. I think of Sheryl every day, whether I am hanging pictures (not too high!), cooking bacon (low and slow!) or arranging flowers (more is better). When it comes to questions about cooking, design, real estate, and life in general, I often ask myself 'what would Sheryl do?'. I'm glad she didn't have to endure Trump, but I know that all of us would have been enriched by her perspective on the tumultuous events of the last few years.
Posted by Gail Silvey Higgs on June 4, 2020
Thinking of Sheryl today and all of her family. She was a key person in my childhood and all through high school. She will not be forgotten.
Posted by Barry Weiss on June 4, 2020
It's hard to believe it's been 4 years today since Sheryl passed. We miss her and her friendship for so many reasons. Her wisdom and commitment to social change in this dramatic time - I'd love to hear what she'd be doing, saying and writing. And, her unfailing cheer, care and design for well-being would be comfort and inspiration even on a Zoom call these days. Blessings and love to Sheryl's' memory, friends and family.
Posted by Bud Wheeler on August 2, 2016
An approachable Queen
Posted by Karen Holbert on July 23, 2016
I have been struggling to find words that convey Sheryl's wonderfulness but, alas, I do not have her gift of eloquence.  I simply leave this note to convey my deepest sympathies to her beloved family and to express my gratitude for all that she shared with our family.  We are so grateful for Sheryl.  She was so generous with all of us. She shared her heart, attention, wisdom, insights, enthusiasm, support, cheer, research, masterful editing skills, fun, great taste, forward thinking and so much more.  We miss her and will hold dear in our hearts all that she inspired and shared.
Posted by Barry Weiss on July 23, 2016
Sheryl Larson planted her flag in this world as an emissary for the power of beauty to uplift what it means to be human. And to say she brought grit and grace to the last several years of her life would be an understatement as she rewarded her caregivers with the gift of a patient wanting also for her case and treatment research to help others. Her intelligence, wisdom and curiosity shined and I will miss her dearly. I commit to being the best friend possible to Hank, her family and her memory.
Posted by Anya Cordell on July 21, 2016
I met Sheryl through my daughter, Amy, who was school friends with Hannah. She was a truly special friend, mentor, and 'second mom' to Amy, and then a great friend to Sarah, now Amy's wife. I just posted some photos and a video of Sheryl and Hank dancing at their wedding. I've watched this video many times. It just exudes so much spirit and joy in life. Sheryl was truly someone whose beauty and spirit shined forth, and surely still ripples in untold ways. I am so grateful she was such an integral part of Amy's, then Sarah's life; and also that I had the extreme pleasure of knowing her, all too briefly. With much love to Hannah, Ella, Hank and the whole family.
Posted by Eric Lindbom on July 21, 2016
Sheryl was many things to many people. To me, above all, she was an editor and the finest by far I'd ever worked with. She motivated people to do their best work through encouragement, inspiration and an infectious curiosity that led others to ask questions and not jump to conclusions. She loved culture and politics and even in her last years would email over essays, stories etc. that her friends would eagerly open because quality was assured -- since they were curated by a fertile, passionate editorial mind. Sheryl was a mentor and a dear friend. Miss her terribly.
Posted by Ariel Sehr on July 19, 2016
Sheryl is the center of so many memories of raucous elementary school sleepovers and wild birthday parties. Being in her and Hank's home was always a treat. I've never forgotten one moment when she was giving me a ride home from fourth grade. She turned around and looked at me, grumpy and slumped in the back seat, and told me she thought I was cool. A small moment, but to me, and from her, it was everything. Thank you for your kindness and wisdom, and for bringing joy to so many moments.
Posted by Claudette Rasmussen on July 19, 2016
Highly compassionate   Quick witted
Wholly engaged        Distinctly perceptive
Keenly intelligent       Exceedingly wise

Every singular descriptor of Sheryl invites a positive modifier because the qualities in Sheryl ran deep and wide. Qualities that:
everyone experienced in her presence, especially family and friends;
enabled her to seek knowledge that informed her parenting and profession, defined her politics and economics, extended her life;
caused her to be courageous in the face of death, many times over.

I feel so very fortunate to have been Sheryl’s friend, to have shared time and space with her for 20 years -- from kindergarten Mom experiences at King Lab to the “daring” move of Ella and Kelsey to middle school at Baker Dem to our vacation in Cape Cod and Boston and finally to the spiritual union felt at Sheryl’s tree.  

Throughout those years I watched Sheryl intentionally nurture and appreciate her ever-growing love for Hank, guide and admire the “Kinzie girls” as they became remarkable women, invoke and apply the wisdom of her mother and grandmothers, connect and reflect with oh so many friends. 

I have learned much from Sheryl’s example. I will continue to be inspired by her profound assessment of life: “love is all there is”.

I love and celebrate Sheryl Larson!
Posted by David Lindgren on July 19, 2016
First of all, I am so sad not seeing Sheryl for the past few years while she was heroically battling cancer. And after numerous outings together with Hank and Sheryl in the early 1990s, Sheryl came to our house re 1993 and shared the incidence of her breast cancer. We connected because my wife, Sally, was struggling with the same problem. I remember Sheryl being upbeat and "going out to find a tree to hug". Also remember sharing stories about her experience "In Our Times" and her rigorous sense of public opinion. My next experience was Sheryl finding my present home in southeast Evanston. What a gift she is. She figured out what I needed and thank you, dear Sheryl, I love my home. And I will always love you. David
Posted by Lisa Pildes on July 18, 2016
Michael and I have know Hank and Sheryl for many years. Our children went to school together.

Later, Sheryl was our real estate agent on nearly a dozen transactions. Her inate kindness showed in her advice. She always conducted our negotiations in a calm, respectful manner which recognized the basic decency of all parties. This was her special gift: to call forth in the people she encountered their best and most generous selves.

Two years ago we moved into the building next door to Hank and Sheryl. We so looked forward to being neighbors. Sheryl and I would talk about how we would be able to see each other from our kitchen windows. When we moved in, Hank and Sheryl were in Texas and we waited with anticipation for their return. After that, because of Sheryl's illness, we did not see each other nearly as much as we hoped.

But there was texting, email, and an occasional dinner. I am not the only one, I'm sure, who received links to news articles about the latest Republican outrages. We hope that she took some comfort in our assurances that The Donald would not win!

Sheryl took great pleasure in her family, interest in how our kids and my elderly parents were doing and looked forward to meeting our first grandchild. Such a lovely, graceful, gentle soul and well met.
Posted by Nancy Jaffe on July 15, 2016
Sheryl was an instant friend and was a beautiful, intelligent, creative, loving person. When Sheryl walked into a room she brought a lightness. She was always smiling, always wearing something beautiful and creative, always ready to talk and have some fun. She looked at you with those beautiful blue eyes as if you were the most important person in her life. I miss her and am so sorry for Hank, Hannah and Ella and the rest of her family and friends.
Posted by Gail Silvey Higgs on July 13, 2016
Sheryl was generous to others with herself and her time and I have been blessed having known such kindness, and by the quality time spent with her! We grew up together, living a few doors apart from the time of my birth through high school.
Posted by Carrie DeBacker on July 7, 2016
When I picture Sheryl, I see her welcoming us into her kitchen during Winter Break home from Carleton. Maybe it's in Evanston, maybe at the Barn, but she's wearing something comfortable yet effortlessly fabulous, surrounded by eclectic objects and artwork reflective of her keen eye and creative mind. I think of all the times I sat with her and Hannah on the couch, talking about the news and gossip--she always made each of us feel special and valued. At times, she was a cheerleader, a guide, an inspiration, the best imaginable IKEA companion, and a friend to all of us. I will always remember her courage, inner strength, resilience, and generosity--qualities she passed on to her daughters. Someone else used the word "radiant," and that's a perfect descriptor. Sheryl made the world brighter, and her loss is deeply felt. Sending all my love to your family.
Posted by Mable Kinzie on July 1, 2016
Her beauty and grace were obvious, almost secondary to her sharp intelligence, her interest in and deep understanding of so many political, economic, and artistic strands that intertwine to shape our reality, and all capped by her impish sense of humor. But these gifts were surpassed by another...when we basked in her attention, she helped each of us feel we were among the most interesting people, doing the most worthwhile and creative work, and that we mattered...mattered to her and the world. How can we recover from the loss of this kind of champion?
I love you Sheryl. Thank you.
Posted by Marsha Cayton on June 26, 2016
Sheryl: never meet a stranger; connected with you immediately and wanted to know you; completely loved her family as we all should; appreciated her friends and spoke of them highly; savored what the day gave her; taught me so much....
I will never forget our first meeting It is my blessing that we were friends that I will keep in my heart forever.
Posted by Susan Hope Engel on June 26, 2016
Sheryl was a love in my life. She had a stunning sense of compassion and justice. Absolute brilliance. A beautiful spirit that knew no bounds. A mentor to so many, she was the most remarkable woman I have ever known. I want to write it across the sky, "The world is a better place because of Sheryl Larson." We will all carry her torch.
Posted by Donna Cascarano on June 23, 2016
I knew Sheryl only a short time but she left me grateful to have known a genuine friendly and kind soul. We first met at Samantha & Chris' wedding and my memories of her friendliness and humor will be with me forever. She will be missed deeply by all who knew her.
Posted by Gwenn Waldman on June 23, 2016
There will always be a beautiful part of Sheryl in my loft at 1800 Ridge. She had already picked out all the colors, upgrades and other additions when she and Hank decided not to proceed with the purchase of that condo. So I bought your unit and was given the choice to do change everything to my own likings, but I left everything the way it had already been done by Sheryl.That is how much faith and respect I had for this remarkabley creative, talented and special woman, Sheryl! You will always be around me and I will always remember you. Thank you for being you.
Posted by George Rounds on June 23, 2016
She clearly was a light in the world, touching so many lives with her love,. laughter, passion for the truth, compassion for the wounded, and courage beyond my imagining. I still cherish her incredible expose on the Radical Right and their 30-year campaign to change our politics and our Nation. An amazing spirit that will be fondly remembers for a long time.
Posted by Terre Houte on June 22, 2016
"Sheryl was like a sister to my little sister. Their deep friendship followed them through so many stages of their lives. Sheryl was one of the classiest, most soulful women I have ever known."
Posted by Terre Houte on June 22, 2016
"Sheryl will always remain in my heart", Love, "Mom" Millie Houte
Posted by Melba Graffius on June 22, 2016
I love Sheryl to the moon. She was a perfect partner in helping me solve most any challenge I was facing-- personal, professional, health, finance, you name it She educated me on social security spousal benefits, and even buy backs. She referred me to better physicians. She could easily list every good trait of my son, which all mothers want to hear. Quick mind, quick wit, quick smile, amazing caring. Perfection in every way. I miss her everyday...and think of her every night.
Posted by maureen mcnichols on June 21, 2016
Sheyl was truly a person of amazing quality and spirit. The small amount of time that I was around her always made me leave feeling the better for it. I know her spirit will live on in her family and friends....I am so sorry for this loss.
Posted by Holly Birnbaum on June 21, 2016
Although her intention was not to teach, so many of us learned so much just from being with Sheryl. For one, she taught me how to have cancer. Dump the drama, focus on the science and walk through it.
In a word, Sheryl was always radiant.
Posted by Barbara Holbert on June 21, 2016
In all the years I've known Cheryl I never saw her without her beautiful smile. She lit up a room. I am so sorry for your loss but know that Cheryl is at peace now.
Posted by maureen mcnichols on June 21, 2016
Sheryl was truly a person of amazing quality and spirit. The small amount of time that I was around her always made me leave feeling the better for it....I know that spirit will live on in her family and friends.
Posted by Stacy Harris on June 20, 2016
Living in the city means you always pick up your pet's poop.
While at the barn, Ax had to do his business. Of course, I take him out with poop bags in hand. Sheryl laughed so hard she cried.
Posted by Stacy Harris on June 20, 2016
Sheryl's love was not just for humans. Our puppy, Axel, basked in her love.
Posted by Harvey Pranian on June 20, 2016
I have always had fond memories of Sheryl. She and Hank were among my favorites, even though we did not see each other that often. Sheryl was always cheerful, positive and supportive. She will be missed by so many. Harvey Pranian
Posted by Cheryl Dixon Nolden on June 12, 2016
Although your grief will never truly end, may time heal your heart and memories comfort your soul.
Posted by David Rich on June 11, 2016
Posted by Paul Johnson on June 11, 2016
Blessing to you all in this time of your loss.
I will keep you in my prayers.

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Stacy Harris on June 5, 2021
Sheryl's roses are blooming and stronger- better than ever.

They represent and embody here in so many ways, especially beauty and a character of their own.

Of course, there are no words to truly express the emotions of this day.

Much love to the spirit and soul of Sheryl wherever she resides.

Posted by Ginny Holbert on June 4, 2021
Five years. Sometimes it seems like five days and other times it seems like several lifetimes. I think of Sheryl every day, whether I am hanging pictures (not too high!), cooking bacon (low and slow!) or arranging flowers (more is better). When it comes to questions about cooking, design, real estate, and life in general, I often ask myself 'what would Sheryl do?'. I'm glad she didn't have to endure Trump, but I know that all of us would have been enriched by her perspective on the tumultuous events of the last few years.
Posted by Gail Silvey Higgs on June 4, 2020
Thinking of Sheryl today and all of her family. She was a key person in my childhood and all through high school. She will not be forgotten.
Recent stories

Fifty Three Years: The Director's Cut

Shared by Lynn McKinven on July 24, 2016

It was wonderful connecting with all of you at Sheryl’s celebration of life.  Following is an unedited version of my tribute to Sheryl.

Good Afternoon.

Mr. Larson, Renee, Jana, Hank, Hannah, Ella, Taya & Kyle: I’m holding you especially close in my heart, as I share in your crushing grief.  Hank, thank you for your steady care of Sheryl.  Her eyes sparkled whenever she spoke of you.

“My Cup Runneth Over” when I think of the friendship I had with Sheryl and I’m grateful for the honor of remembering her with you today.

Sheryl always greeted me with “Hello, my oldest friend”.  What she really meant was our friendship was the longest - for both of us.

We first met in fourth grade, I was a new girl and we clicked over our matching bass weejuns. With her typical kindness and concern for others, Sheryl took me in. Her talent for making each of us feel special was already fully-formed at age nine.  I count her friendship as one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Our lives intertwined throughout grammar school, middle school and high school.  We attended the University of Illinois together, living in the same dorm, across the hall from each other.  We both had Pam as our college roommate, sharing many (redacted) episodes.  It was the ‘70’s. 

Sheryl and I were each other’s date, to a pig roast, the night Toni introduced her to Hank (who wasn’t wearing a lime green jacket that evening).  Sheryl uncharacteristically ditched me, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Hank and Sheryl were married a few months later at Avanzare, a hip Chicago restaurant where our late friend Dennis, the chef/owner, created a Larson/Kinzie worthy dinner party. 

Sheryl was such a lover of good food & music, hence a glorious hostess. She brought a certain sharpness to almost any discussion and graced our senses with thoughtfulness and style.  She was intuitive – tenacious – courageous and her girls are a mirror image of her.

Sheryl listened to understand and not just to reply.  That’s why she was the unofficial Godmother to so many of her friend’s children, including my daughter, KK.  Taryn, Lucian and Andrew are blessed with Sheryl as their official Godmother. 

Sheryl was my most steadfast, supportive friend.  Not only did she encouraged me to start a baking business, she also served up my best customer, Jonathan Black and his 7-tier wedding cake order - a feat Sheryl, Jonathan, Kaarina and I were still discussing at Hannah’s wedding, some twenty years later.

Sheryl and I were kindred planners and perfect travel partners. I went on more soul-restoring getaways with Sheryl than any other friend.

Sheryl’s long fashioned, magnetic persona offered  “shelter from the rain.”  She always responded with patience to see things through and found time to thank the people who made a difference in her life.

I’m finding it very hard to live without Sheryl.  Our lives will simply not be the same.  She was a fetching, bright light and so reliable.  Could Ginny, Jill, Susan and I not notice this month the birthday card we didn’t receive? She had mastered friendship and personal interaction.

We all know Sheryl doled out wise words.  She taught me “belief in yourself” is “the head chemist of the mind”. She also shared practical strategies and gave me the best driving tip ever: if someone is tailgating you, press the emergency blinker button.  It works every time. So very Sheryl: non-aggressive yet effective.

Her mindset of “living in the present” was a valuable asset. She believed the purpose of life is to evolve and become a better human being. Sheryl was a fully evolved human being.

Quite fittingly, one of our last outings together was a trip to a fabulous shoe store in Kansas City.  Sheryl was clad in her Chloe studded ankle boots:  “Retail therapy”, she said, after completing her targeted therapy.  Our friendship was bookended by a mutual love of design (& shoes!).

Our final time together was last May, at my family’s Wisconsin vineyard.  What was planned as four days of fun ended up being two days of goodbyes.

I now realize Sheryl was resolved to honor our last get-together.  Short on energy, she still swung by the Milwaukee airport on her drive up to retrieve Toni, who had flown in from San Diego.  As always, Sheryl was determined, helpful, and loyal.  Toni and I hold the memory of those two days with very deep reverence.  There is no doubt in our mind this was divine timing.

We bundled Sheryl in blankets, as we sat by the bonfire endlessly talking and forgetting to let Hank know she’d arrived safely.  We plied her with homemade soup, massaged her feet with essential oils, and tucked ourselves in bed with her, sharing photos on our phones.

Sheryl spoke about not wanting to leave this world or those she loved, so soon. Her words were brave, painful, and true. She marveled about beauty and nature.  She summed up friendship with this quote from Ghandi: 

“Friendship that insists on agreement on all matters is not worth the name. Friendship to be real must ever sustain the weight of honest differences, however sharp they be.”

We are all greater to have had the privilege and joy of knowing Sheryl. She was confidant, authentic, lived her values daily, and held herself to a high standard. 

May we carry on her legacy by doing as much as we can to help others, and by being the very best version of ourselves for the rest of our days.

I will always hold a sanctuary in my heart for Sheryl Larson.

Thank you and I send love to all of you.



Shared by Kate Kinzie on July 23, 2016

For those who don't know, I'm Sheryl's niece, Kate. My dad, Richard/Huey [Hank's brother] filmed and I edited this piece during this last Thanksgiving when Ginny Holbert had the great idea to bring ecologically friendly paper lanterns. So instead of fireworks, we lit these off into the sky. It was understood that as we lit each one, we'd make a wish for Sheryl.

Peace. Love. Wisdom. 

Shared by Kelsey Holbert on July 22, 2016

I've had many special times with Sheryl- at The Barn, at Ginny's house, at my parents' house, at The Lucky Platter for brunch, at my soccer games, at Hannah and Ryan's wedding, at my grandma's house, etc. I cherish all of them. 

I also cherish... our texts and email exchanges. I have hundreds of emails and even more texts withSheryl. I have been going through them as I have thought of Sheryl in the past few weeks and they make me smile every time. 

A sampling: 

An article about her doctor or the research behind her treatment that she thought I would like to read
A note of encouragement as I began to apply to medical school
An article about West Virginia engineers who discovered that Volkswagen was deisgning some lines of their advertised-green cars to only be "green" during an emissions test (She sent this to me because I had recently been accepted to WVU and thought WVU might be a good place for me because of this)
A thoroughly edited (with great detail and care!) medical school application essay 
A note about her neice suceeding in soccer and Hannah surprising her for Mother's Day 
The nicest thank you letter I've ever received for a tiny gift I gave her 
A simple "thinking of you" 

All "Sent from my iPad". I loved that. I could picture her with her stylus every time.

What I am hoping to convey is Sheryl's enormous love and thoughtfulness. She made me feel so special. In talking to other people and reading others' stories, I now see that maybe this is what I admire most about her. Somehow, she had enough time, energy, and kindness to make SO many people feel special. No matter what she was going through, she found a way to make time for me and for so many other people. 

I miss you Sheryl, my dear friend. XOXO