Sherlyne Gregg Willis was born on July 12, 1936, in Bryan, Texas to her parents, James Anna Sanders and Henry Smith. She was the fourth child born in the family. She was raised surrounded by both her mother and her aunt, Susie Sanders. In December of 1946, her mother relocated to Denver, Colorado where Sherlyne, at very early age, along with nineteen family members, united with Zion Baptist Church under the pastoral leadership of the late Reverend Wendell T. Liggins. She was a faithful member of the church. She became a member of the Children’s Choir, the Baptist Training Union (BTU), and the Red Circle. She remained a faithful member, and at the time of her passing, she was a fifty plus member.
Sherlyne received her formal education in Denver where she attended Mitchell Elementary, Cole Junior High School, and was a 1954, graduate of Manual High School. She furthered her education by attending Emily Griffith Opportunity School completing course in Cosmetology. She was employed as a caretaker of her nieces and nephews, and worked part-time as a Beautician.
In 1956, Sherlyne moved to Las Vegas, Nevada along with her sister, Atheline and brother-in-law, Willie Otis Jackson to help her sister while Otis served at Nellis Air Force Base. After returning to Denver, Sherlyne gave birth to her first born a daughter, Yanina and two years later, her second born another daughter, Yolanda.
In 1966, Sherlyne married, Billy Willis and in 1968, she and her two daughters, joined her husband who was serving in the United States Army in Okinawa, Japan. After two years in Japan, she returned to Denver and became employed by S&H Green Stamps from 1970-1972. She then became employed by Saint Luke’s Hospital in the Central Processing Department as a Technician. She later became employed by Mercy Medical Center in 1974, working in Central Supply. She remained there until the hospitals closure in 1995.
Sherlyne relocated to Louisville, Kentucky to live with her daughter, Yolanda. She remained there and enjoyed her retirement years. The family moved back to Denver after the passing of Yolanda’s husband. Shortly after her return, Sherlyn’s health began to decline but it was manageable until June of 2022. She was hospitalized for a period. Then sent to short -term rehabilitation in September 2022, she was admitted to long -term care at Highline Rehabilitation Facility until the Lord called her home.
Sherlyne was a fun-loving woman who enjoyed life and those she encircled. In her free time, she found great pleasure being surrounded by her family.
Terms of Endearment from family include:
Michael would always say, “Hey Pearly” Bobbie called her “ Tutu” Jeremy would say, “ Ah, Grandmom Please” Yolanda called her, “my little girl” Nina called her the,“ Patient” her sister would refer to her as “ Ms. Willis or My Sister” Sue, her niece would call her “Auntie “ her Brother in Law called her “Shelly” and Anthony called her “Best Friend” Deceased Sisters, called her “My Baby Sis”
She is preceded in death by her mother, James Anna Mobley; her father, Henry Smith; sisters, Ernestine Mason, and Atheline Jackson; and a granddaughter, Jodi Willis.
Sherlyne Willis departed this life to the embrace of the Lord on March 20, 2023, in Denver, Colorado. Those left to cherish her memory and mourn her loss include her loving and devoted daughters, Yanina D. Duke and Yolanda S. Furgason; 1 sister, Alma D. (Joseph, Jr.) Johnson; 1 brother, Curtis (Marie) Smith; 3 grandchildren, Bobbie D. Rosenberg, Michael T. Willis, and Jeremy D. Willis; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and many friends.