Dr. Sherman Gordon Brough
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Every blade in the field-
Every leaf in the forest-
Lays down its life
in its season
as it was taken up.
-Henry David Thoreau
Sherman Gordon Brough, 82, layed down his life peacefully on Saturday, May 25, 2013, 11:08 p.m. at The Coventry in Cottonwood Heights. The ravages of Alzheimer's disease ultimately took his life, but we are left with inspiring and happy memories of our dear and sweet father, grandfather, uncle, and friend.
Sherman was born June 9, 1930 in Nephi, Utah to his loving parents Franklin Hamner Brough and Blanche LaPreal Bigler Brough. As a young boy growing up in Nephi during the Great Depression and World War II, Sherman was taught the importance of service, hard work, thrift, and honesty. These characteristics were frequently exhibited by Sherman throughout his entire life. He also lived by the phrase, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Following high school graduation, Sherm was ready to take on new adventures away from home in Logan, Utah.
While attending a sorority-fraternity exchange at Utah State University, Sherm met his sweetheart Patricia. They dated for a few months and just before graduation they were pinned. On July 3, 1953 they were married in the Manti Temple-which makes almost 60 years happily wed. At USU, Sherm received his undergraduate degree in botany. At the same time, Sherm also belonged to the ROTC and therefore became a commissioned officer after graduation. That meant a stint in the Army while Pat taught second grade in the Salt Lake City School District.
In April, 1954, now living in Fort Lewis, Washington, it was noted in the local newspaper that Sherman received his first lieutenant bars and, on the same day, his wife Pat gave birth to a baby boy (David)-a very exciting time for the Broughs.
After Sherm's two year service in the Army, he attended the University of Washington and received his master's degree. He then taught high school science for several years in Olympia, Washington. In 1964, the Broughs family moved to Vancouver, Canada so that Sherm could work on his doctorate degree at the University of British Columbia. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in 1970 Sherm went on to teach botany and other science courses in the university's department of science education until his retirement in 1992. Many of the science teachers in the secondary education system of B.C. today came through Sherm's mentoring and teaching. In later years, following his retirement, Sherm still received letters from former students who recalled his passion for what he taught and his interest in training them to be keen scientific observers. Because all of his degrees are in the field of mycology (the study of fungi), Sherm found British Columbia the ideal place to teach and conduct research because he could collect specimens all year round. He did extensive work in many areas of the Pacific Northwest studying these elusive organisms. His botanical passion later turned to trees because, as he put it, "… you do not see mushrooms every year. You might find them once and then not ever see them again for 20 years. In the meantime, you've forgotten all about them."
Sherm published extensively in his scientific endeavors. Among other works, he authored the successful Wild Trees of British Columbia, Identification of Flowers in the Albion Basin, and Navajo Lichen Dyes. He also co-authored Trees of Utah, and Trees of Idaho with his friend and colleague Dr. Darrell Weber of Brigham Young University. Because of this association with BYU, Sherm donated his extensive and prized collection of lichen specimens to the Botany Department at BYU.
While living in Vancouver, B.C. his family came to love their second home in Canada-they enjoyed many close friends and you might say that they were part Canadian themselves. It was a wonderful place to raise his children. Every summer, Sherm packed up the car and with his family made the long exodus back to Utah where they spent many memorable days visiting family and relatives in Salt Lake City, Nephi, and Spring City. Macro photography, listening to jazz, a capella, and big band music, hiking, sightseeing, tours to Fish Lake, personal and family history work, and arrowhead hunting with his children were also just a few of the many ways that Sherm relaxed and spent time alone and with his family. Going on hikes with dad/grandpa, in particular, were interesting because he could tell you the common name and technical name of any plant you pointed to and he could tell you all about its unique characteristics. Gardening was also one of his passions. Throughout the years, Sherm's garden was always a thing of beauty and amazement. Whatever plant he touched it always seemed to grow and thrive. For many years we enjoyed the bountiful variety of produce that he grew from seed. He looked forward every January to receiving the latest seed catalogs to find just the right tomato, or corn, or something unique to grow. He belonged to the Utah State University Master Gardener program.
At church, Sherm served as a stake high councilor, councilor in the stake young men's, Bishop three times (once at a young adult ward), high priest group leader, and as Scoutmaster. Sherm has also had the privilege to serve on Temple Square for several years where he shared his in-depth knowledge of plants, flowers, and trees. It was a labor of love for him. Of interest, some of Sherm's most favorite trees included the Chinese White Fringe, Crabapples, Heptacodium, Picea omorika, Yews, Bristlecone pine, Pinyon pine, Bald Cypress, Scrub oaks, and Gingko.
After retirement in 1992, Pat and Sherm returned to live in Utah where new friends and neighbors warmly welcomed them to the Cottonwood Heights area near Salt Lake City. Sherm cherished his time spent in the neighborhood and the Brighton wards. Both he and Pat felt like life had come full circle living once again in their childhood home state of Utah.
Sherm and Patricia had three boys and one daughter. When Anne passed away in 1992 and their eldest son, David, passed away in 2004 (both from cancer), Sherm and Pat were devastated and heartbroken. Then, on February 5, 2013, Sherm's beloved wife of nearly 60 years died from brain cancer. In the weeks following her death, Sherm found strength and solace in knowing that he would be with his wife, eldest son, and daughter again. We know that a happy reunion is already occurring.
Sherm is survived by his two sons, Richard (Margaret) of Orem, Utah, and Andrew of Salt Lake City, Utah; son-in-law Ivo Stutznegger of Sandy, Utah, and daughter-in-law Bonnie of Vernon, British Columbia; sisters Kathryn Joan Brough (John) Bateman, and Miriam Jane Brough Braithwaite (Scott) Flandro, both of Salt Lake City, Utah; 12 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by his mother and father, brother Franklin Keith and his wife Patricia, brothers-in-law John Bateman and Paul Braithwaite.
Please take a moment today and share your memories of Sherm or Pat at the www.cannonmortuary.com website. Both of their obituaries are out there.
Thank you to Ginger and the many CNAs at The Coventry Assisted Living. Thank you also to Marina, Miriam, and Eric from Curo Hospice for the loving and dignified care given to Sherm since December 2012. We express our gratitude to family, friends, and neighbors of Sherm who reached out with their kind and timely visits, phone calls, letters, pictures, flowers, and food.
Funeral services are Saturday, June 1, 2013, 11:00 a.m. hosted by the Brighton 7th Ward at 2925 East Bengal Boulevard (7800 South), Salt Lake City, Utah. Visiting with family and friends begins one hour before the funeral service. Interment is at Larkin Sunset Gardens cemetery, 1950 East 10600 South, Sandy, Utah.
Published in Deseret News from May 30 to May 31, 2013
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