Monday, July 21, 2008

Planning an Online Memorial for a Wonderful Blogger and Friend

There are bloggers who share lots of personal details of their lives, but I'm not one of them. I try very hard to keep my blog focused on the recipes, with a tiny glimpse of my life once in a while. Today I've literally been sitting in front of the computer for at an hour, trying to start the hardest post I've had to write since I started blogging. By now, many of you have heard that the lovely and wonderful Sher from What Did You Eat died from a heart attack on Sunday morning. My heart is simply aching at this news.

I had been trying to meet Sher in person for two summers now. Last year she had planned to drive down to San Francisco when I was there, but her personal life got turned upside down, and she just didn't feel up to it. We made plans to meet again this past weekend when I was in San Francisco for the BlogHer conference. Sher was going to come to town on Saturday, share my room that night, and spend the next day with me and Christine from Christine Cooks. About a week ago Sher let me know she was having health problems and might not make it, and on Friday she confirmed that she wouldn't be coming. It was that phone conversation which left my number on her phone, which led to her husband calling on Sunday morning to tell me that she had died.

Anyone reading this who has experienced the deep connections you can make online with people you've never met will understand why so many bloggers are feeling a huge loss today with this tragic news about Sher. Her best online friend, Glenna, has written a moving tribute to Sher at A Fridge Full of Food. As the news spreads, I have heard from more and more people who are deeply saddened and wondering how to honor her memory.

I first became acquainted with Sher through Weekend Herb Blogging, and as the night went on last evening, I kept thinking it would simply not feel right to go ahead with that event as usual this week. As a tribute to Sher, I have decided to suspend Weekend Herb Blogging for the week of July 21 - July 27.

Then I heard from Mary that Bread Baking Babes will be making one of Sher's recipes and posting it on Sunday, July 27, and would be honored to have other people join in the tributes to Sher. I promised I would help get news of the plans to people who knew Sher through Weekend Herb blogging. If you are one of Sher's fans and want to participate, Glenna also suggested that posting one of the recipes from her blog or writing about her on that day would be a wonderful way to honor her memory. Please feel free to participate in this in any way that feels right to you. (Edit: I've just learned that Glenna has offered to link the tribute posts to her tribute to Sher in order that Sher's family and friends can find them. Bloggers who would like their tribute linked can send it to marie9949 (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.)

(Edit) BlogHer honors Sher with a Memorium on the front page of

(Edit) Below is the obituary and information about the memorial service I received from Sher's husband Bob.)
Sherry Cermak
December 2, 1948 to July 20, 2008

Sherry was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, grew up in Illinois, and made Davis, California her home for the past 28 years. She died of a sudden heart attack on July 20, 2008.

Sherry graduated with High Honors from UC Davis in 1985, and from UCD's School of Law in 1988. After a brief career as an Attorney, Sherry found her true calling as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and blogger. Her blog "What Did You Eat?" is a popular site with wonderful recipes and photographs of food she has creatively prepared. The weekend postings are updates on the life of her cats and rescued wildlife.

Sherry was cherished and loved by her family and many friends. She will be greatly missed.

Sherry is survived by her husband of 37 years, Bob Cermak; brother Frank Cunningham III, and several loving cousins, aunts and uncles, and her mother-in-law Margaret (Bunty) Cermak.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 26 at 10 a.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Rd., with a reception to follow at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Sherry's name to the Wildlife Care Association. Those who wish to sign a guestbook online may do so at Wiscombe Funeral.

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More to Chew On:


  1. Kayln,

    First, I am so very sorry that you lost such a good friend as Sher. She was a very special person who touched so many of us food bloggers lives. She was super lady and her loss is felt deeply.

    Thank you so much for helping The Babes get word out about our Sunday, July 27th posting in tribute to our sister and fellow Babe, Sher.

    We were to post that day about our bread of the month, instead, we will all be making a recipe this week from Sher's blog and posting about it on Sunday.

    We would be pleased to welcome any Weekend Herb Blogger as an "honorary Babe" that day.

    Thank you so much.

    Breadchick Mary and The Bread Baking Babes.

  2. Mary, I love the idea of letting Sher's creative recipes live on in this way. Thanks for letting us be a part of it.

  3. Kalyn,

    I was looking at your WHB Who's Hosting when I saw the news. I am in shock. Sher was a fabulous writer who contributed many fantastic posts to Fit Fare for more than a year, until she had to step away for personal reasons.

    I've missed her ever since. I had just thought of her this morning and wondered how she was faring . . . Funny how things like that work.

    She was a wonderful person with great wit and a lot of creativity and kindness to share. I am so sorry that you've lost this wonderful friend . . .

  4. Kalyn, although I did not have the pleasure to know Sher, I am devastated by the news. It's the first time I come across the loss of a fellow blogger and I can understand how all of you who knew her feel. I cannot imagine losing one of my dear friends I have made through blogging. May she rest in peace.

  5. Kalyn, thanks for being a center of info, be it good or bad. I heard from you about Sher's death as a a regular reader of her blog...I'm deeply saddened.

  6. Kalyn,
    I am so sad by this news. Thanks for getting the word out though. You and all of Sher's friends, family, etc. are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. It's so strange, and rather wonderful, how connected we can get to people we know only through their writing and blogging. I feel like I've known her (and Upsie, and the rest) longer than the actual 2 years... And it's a sad day for food (and cat and other) bloggers.
    I'm so very sorry you weren't able to get together....

  8. It's very shocking, and beyond sad.
    To think I was set to meet her yesterday afternoon!
    My condolences to you, Kalyn, and all Sher's friends who will be affected by this news.

  9. We are all still in shock. I think cooking one of our favorites is a great way to celebrate her life and her love of cooking.

  10. So sorry to hear about Sher. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

  11. I am so sad and shocked to hear this. MY heart goes out to her family, friends and the food blogging community that she was such an active part of. She will be deeply missed.

  12. Kayln, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts are with you and Sher's family and friends.

  13. Kalyn, it wasn't until today (just before reading this post) that I knew you two had actually not had the opportunity to meet in person. I'm so very sorry about that, and am extending my condolences -- I know all too well how supportive and wonderful these friendships can be that start with blogging, whether those friendships involve paths crossing or not, and I think your tribute idea is perfect. I will find a recipe on What Did You Eat? to prepare in Sher's memory and honor.

  14. This is my first visit here. I completely understand the close connections we as Bloggers make with one another, I would be devastated by the loss of a close blog friend. My heart goes out to you, her family and all the others that will miss her.

  15. We've hugged and cried and now that we're home I wish I could hug you again. Sher touched so many lives through her work and her blog. I too was hoping that this year I would finally get to meet her. Many of us had either talked to her or exchanged emails as recently as 4 days ago. This just doesn't seem possible. I think the idea of a July 27th tribute is wonderful and I will be honored to be a part of it.

  16. Kalyn- My heart aches from this sad news. Condolences to all who loved her, and her many fans.

    I've been thinking about her ever since I learned of her untimely death and one thought that keeps haunting me is- carpe diem.

    Sher was so close to moving into new territory and enjoying the next phase of what life had to offer- but she never got the chance. I imagine her gently urging each one of us to not take today for granted- to reach for what you dream, today- don't put it off.

    And yes, she would ask, What did you eat?

    much love and condolences,


  17. I'm very sad & sorry to hear this news. Take care Kalyn.

  18. I am so sorry to hear the news! Thank you for sharing with us all. Please take care of yourself in this sad time.

  19. Sher participated in the last WHB I hosted. I remembered that she sent a very friendly note along with her entry. My heart goes out to her family & friends.

  20. I am so sorry you didn't get the chance to meet her in person, Kalyn. The internet is a wonderful place, connecting us to people all over the country but it is hard to get people together someitmes. I, myself, only got to share a week in real time with Sher but, like all of us, I felt like I knew as well as any of her real time friends. Thank you for such a loving post. We will all miss her so much I can hardly bear it.

  21. So sad! I was really shocked by the news! I will miss Sher and her blog very much!

    All my condolences to her family and friends.



  22. Kalyn - what a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to make something from her blog that was near and dear to her! thank you for letting people know.

  23. Kalyn, I am sorry you had to experience this first hand. Sher was a great lady and a wonderful soul and she will be missed.

  24. Oh, Kalyn, this was such shocking news. Sher is among the first people I connected with when I began my blog, and the comments she left on my blog have always felt special because of that.

    I admired her cooking, her garden, and her warmth. She was such a fun, witty writer. The posts she did in her cat's voice were especially hilarious. When I first learned she was also a wildlife rehabilitator I told her she was my hero. It's still true.

    It's hard to imagine her being gone.

  25. that is so sad to hear. blogging creates strong, beautiful bonds. i did "know" her through her blog. she will be missed. hugs to you, dear kalyn.

  26. Kalyn, I am so sorry. My condolences go out Sher's husband and the rest of her family.

    I only knew Sher through exchanged blog comments but I found her warm writing stlye a pleaure to read and her recipes inspiring. I am sure the food blogging community will miss her terribly.

    From the little picture she kept on her side bar, I imagined her to be young- perhaps the same age as me. I now assume this was not the case, but it has made this even more shocking to me.

  27. Thank you to everyone for the love for Sher your comments display and your support for everyone who is feeling this great loss.

    For those who might be wondering, Sher was my age (59) and we had great plans for traveling together after I was retired. Much too young to be gone in such a sudden way.

  28. Kayln,
    Sher made this wonderful world of food/cat/herb blogging a beautiful place to be and enjoy. She enriched all our lives so much.
    Sher and I wrote many times and she was so loving, insightful and interesting.
    Thank you so much for helping to coordinate the wonderful tributes.
    I am sure Sher's spirit will always shine brightly through the writing of the many inspired by her accomplishments.
    I will miss her so very much as I have been missing Upsie and Pumpkin!

  29. I'm speechless. This is such sad and surprising news! And thank you for posting it, Kalyn. Add me to the many people who will sorely miss seeing Sher's wonderful posts and comments.


  30. This is so sad. I was regular reader of her blog. She will be missed.

  31. Kalyn,
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a lovely tribute to an amazing woman. I only wish I would have taken the time to get to know her even better.

  32. Thanks for letting others know about this Kalyn. It was through WHB that I came into contact with Sher. She sent me a very nice compliment along with her entry when I was hosting. Even with that brief contact, I realized how very small and what a community I discovered through food blogging.

  33. Thanks for sharing this sad news - I enjoyed Sher's blog and am so sorry to hear the news - she will be missed

  34. That's very sad news, Kalyn. I didn't know Sher, but had visited her blog many times before. My heart goes out to all her family and friends.

  35. I am lost in words... Sher is a wonderful friend and blogger... I miss her so much.. Sher, R.I.P.

  36. What sad news! So sorry to hear it! What a sudden tragedy! All my best to her family!

  37. Oh dear Lord I didn't know.

    I love Sher she was one of the first blogs I ever began reading.

  38. Sounds like she did so many great things and touched many lives...human and animal. There is no greater job than saving an animal. Bravo to her life!

  39. Kalyn,

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. I hope you are well.



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