Obituary for Erling "Pete" M. Sherry

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Erling “Pete” Maynard Sherry, 86, of Onalaska, passed away on August 13, 2019 at Black River Memorial Hospital. He was born May 30, 1933 in Readstown, Wisconsin, the 6th of 7 children of Gerhard and Mabel (Swiggum) Sherry. Pete’s childhood was spent on the family farm in Readstown, attending school at the Sherry School and graduating as Valedictorian from Readstown High School in 1951. On November 26, 1953 Pete married his high school sweetheart Annette Nelson on a snowy day at Franklin Lutheran Church in Soldiers Grove, WI. Together the couple raised one son Bryce, and three daughters Kareen, Kristi and Lisa. Following his graduation from Wisconsin State College at Platteville in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education, Pete and Annette moved to Lime Springs, Iowa where he taught high school agriculture and sciences, and drove the school bus too. In 1959, the couple moved to Winona, Minnesota where Pete started his insurance career with Lutheran Brotherhood. In 1960, Pete and Annette moved to Onalaska where he continued his insurance career, majority of which as a partner in Carrier Insurance Agency.
Pete loved music, singing in the Men’s Glee Choir at Platteville and as a proud member of the La Crosse Coulee Chordsmen for over 50 years, receiving the Distinguished Service Award. Special moments for him were a surprise performance by chorus members at his 80th birthday celebration, and most recently the gift of music by the “Special Export” quartet while hospitalized these past few weeks. He taught himself how to play the ukulele and enjoyed serenading his daughters. His faith was very important to him and it is what sustained him the last few months of his life. Pete sang in the senior choir at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, served on numerous boards and committees at the church, and was most recently a member of the OWLS (Older Wiser Lutherans) group.
Pete was proud of his Norwegian heritage and could be seen wearing his Norwegian flag necktie at special events. Pete and Annette were long time members of the local Sons of Norway. He was a former member of the Onalaska Rotary Club.
Pete and Annette enjoyed traveling through their 65+ years together, from car trips with the kids in the early years, to global trips throughout Europe and Asia through his insurance business, and trips to visit the grandchildren in more recent years. He enjoyed tinkering in his yard and summers on the porch.
Pete was a sports fan, cheering on Wisconsin Badger football on Saturdays and the Green Bay Packers on Sundays. His favorite season was college basketball season. Through the years, Annette learned to embrace sports as well, planning their dinners around their college basketball viewing schedule.
Pete is survived by his wife of 65 years Annette Sherry of Onalaska; son Bryce Sherry of Onalaska, daughter Kareen (Steve) Schmidtknecht of Rockton, Illinois; daughter Lisa (Tom) Liebl of Sheboygan, Wisconsin; four grandchildren , Sarah (Duke) Snider of Weston, Missouri, Peter (Kristy) Schmidtknecht of Roscoe, Illinois; Alexander Liebl of San Jose, California; Abigail Liebl of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; four great grandchildren, Everett and Parker Schmidtknecht of Roscoe, Illinois, Danica Snider and Duke Snider Jr. of Weston, Missouri; sisters Margaret Larson of Viroqua, Wisconsin, Lucille Erickson of Menagha, Minnesota and Louise (John) Sime of Burlington, Wisconsin; cousin Tom (Marge) Sherry of Viroqua, Wisconsin who was raised as part of Pete’s family; nieces and nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors who will remember his sense of humor, quick wit and friendly smile.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Kristi Kolb, son in law Dennis Kolb, parents Mabel and Gerhard Sherry, mother in law Mabel (Jackson) Nelson and father in law Hugo Nelson, sisters Esther Aspenson and Kathleen Ranallo; brother Adrian Sherry, sister in laws Helen McKittrick, Benetta Nelson, Florence Nelson and Sally Sherry; brother in laws Virgil Aspenson, Kenny Erickson, Keith Larson, Melvin McKittrick, Maurice Nelson, Merlin Nelson and Joe Ranallo; nephew LeRoy McKittrick; nieces Cheryl (Ranallo) Mirgai and Jacquelyn Ranallo.
A celebration of Pete’s life will be held on Saturday, August 24th at 11 a.m. at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 410 Main Street, Onalaska, Wisconsin. A visitation will be held Friday, August 23rd from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 pm at the church, and again on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service. Memorials in Pete’s name may be contributed to First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sugar Creek Bible Camp or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Dickinson Family Funeral Home is assisting the family in arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to the family at