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Vera Hazel Erwin
Williamson: Entered into rest peacefully on November 27, 2023 at age 83.
Predeceased by husband: John S. Erwin, Jr; parents George and Vera Sherman; sisters; Gladys Hickey and Virginia Dorn; brother; Robert Sherman
Survived by her children Teri (John) Backus, John (Kelly) Erwin III, Mary (Billy) Erwin, grandchildren; Paul (Faith), Adam (Laura), Rachel (Christopher), Benjamin, Michael, Eleanor, Audrey, Lilianna, John IV; great grandchildren; Skye, Adam, Jonah, Evan, Delilah, Lincoln, Antonio, Samantha; sister: Paulette (Peter) Griepsma; brothers-in-law: David Dorn, Gerard (Julie) Erwin, Larry Mandel and John Hanwell; many extended family members and friends.
Vera Hazel Sherman was born November 6th, 1940 to George and Vera Sherman in Niagara Falls NY. A lovely blond haired, blue eyed child. When Vera was just a toddler she was horribly burned and spent weeks in the hospital fighting for her life. With God’s grace she recovered. She carried the scars from that tragic accident throughout her life. Strong child.
Vera’s family was constantly on the move. Restless souls as they were. She moved around the country some 18 times over the course of as many years. Here and there she was always the “new kid in town”. Anyone that knew Vera would recognize her gregarious and outgoing personality, perhaps a gift or coping mechanism she was granted to make new friends during these tumultuous times growing up. Strong kid.
Her family finally settled in Sodus, NY where she graduated from high school. In 1963 Vera gave birth to her daughter Teri Lyn. She was a single mother in the early sixties. Single motherhood is hard enough let alone back then. Vera persevered with the help of family and friends. Strong mother.
One night in 1969 she happened to meet a young man from Williamson named John. Who knew you might meet your true love at Cherry Lanes. After a brief courtship John asked for her hand in marriage and they were wed August 9th, 1969 at the Church of the Epiphany in Sodus. John happily adopted Teri and moved his new family to his farm on Townline Road in Williamson, NY. Vera had never known farm life, but with the guidance of John and his parents Stu and Rose, she soon learned all the ins and outs of cattle and hogs, tractors and hay, and the hard work of planting and harvesting the yearly crops. It was on the farm that she was finally able to plant roots and settle down. She lived there for over fifty years with John. Strong woman.
Vera was very adept at the toilsome task of castrating male piglets after weening them from the sow. With a razor blade she would turn a boar into a barrow with a flick of the wrist. Many an ol’ farmer would carefully cross his legs when witnessing her skills in action.
In 1970 a son, John the 3rd was born, and in 73’ a daughter, Mary. Times were good in their humble home. Friday nights at the Senator restaurant and weekly shopping at Star market. Saturday afternoons watching the Monster Matinee on a black and white T.V. Vera loved old movies. Vera loved T.V.
Sunday Mass at Epiphany was also a weekly ritual and Vera was an active parishioner. Vera participated as a religious education teacher and also as a Lector, and often read the readings of the Old Testament. One particular Sunday she misspoke and referred to the particular reading as that of the Jews and the Genitals. Father Cavanaugh carefully held his composure, unfortunately the congregation did not. She allowed the audience a good laugh and persevered. Strong public speaker.
In 1980 a grandson by the name of Paul Michael was born and due to circumstances at the time Vera and John took the child in and raised him as their own. Although it was hard at times she loved him dearly and the pair were inseparable. Strong Grandmother.
During the eighties Vera ventured off the farm and found employment through WFL-BOCES as a teacher’s assistant in a special education classroom. For nearly twenty years she helped children with learning and emotional disabilities and provided them with guidance and love and did her best to be a positive role model in their lives. Strong teacher.
After that period Vera was a daily care giver for her granddaughters Eleanor and Audrey after their births in the early 2000’s. Her love and care is one of the reasons they grew into the strong and compassionate women they are today.
Throughout all these decades Vera found time to spend with her family and friends and loved simple things like tractor shows and the state fair, eating out at diners, visiting neighbors, going to the beauty parlor and shopping. She loved getting her hair did and her nails done. Oh, not to mention sending cards with the envelope adorned with stickers (if you ever were fortunate to have received one, you’ll know).
Vera made multiple trips to various Marine Bases to visit Mary and Billy and as a matter fact whilst on the island of Oahu, had the opportunity to meet the POTUS and First Lady at the time. That photo alone is worth its weight. Vera loved talking to her daughter Teri everyday on the phone and used this time to keep up with the goings on of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Vera had a keen sense of humor and sharp wit. She appreciated hearing and telling jokes. One of her favorites involved a young man hobbling into an ice cream shop to order a sundae. Best not told here, but it is definitely one that will get a laugh. She liked a good story and always had at least one to share with anyone who would listen. One particular quirk of hers is that when frustrated, usually around major holidays and birthdays, she would exclaim at the top of her lungs “___________ __________ VERA HAZEL!!!” Feel free to insert any holiday in the blanks and try it yourself, say it nice and loud and let off some steam. It worked for Vera, perhaps it might work for you.
In 2018 Vera was blessed with one more grandson nearly four decades after her first. She and John IV spent many hours walking around the farm examining Gunk’s (John) collection of rusty treasures. The pair could also occasionally be seen riding around the farm in John IV’s Power Wheels Razor. Yes, remarkably they both fit in the vehicle. Vera was about the size of the average third grader, yet ten feet tall in people’s hearts.
In 2023, Vera moved into the Edna Tina Wilson Living Center in Greece, NY. Vera was fortunate to adore her roommate, Helen as well as the activities living at ETW provided her on a daily basis. She was very socially involved and she was referred to as the mayor of ETW!
She will be dearly missed, and as was said about her beloved husband John, who passed in May of this year, they aren’t making them like her anymore. In memory of Vera remember one thing, when in doubt slap a sticker on it.
A celebration of Vera's life will be held on (Saturday) December 9, 2023 at 10am at the Church of the Epiphany, Sodus, NY.
Online condolences can be expressed at www.youngfuneralhomeny.com