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Sheryl E. Poggi

1951 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Sheryl E. Poggi 1951 - 2017
Springfield, IL—It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away after living a very healthy life for 66 years. Never smoked, drank, or took a drug; ate healthy, yet could have exercised more. Then in April 2017, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after 4 months, I am gone. Everyone knows death will happen one day but few want to hear, much less experience it. In my case, I started planning for my death while I was still healthy. I strongly recommend that everyone do that – plan on your own terms.
And while on that subject (the story of my life)… on March 27, 1951 my parents (Joyce V. and William O. Sandage, both deceased) and four of my older siblings (Diana Dexheimer (deceased) married to Jerry, William D. Sandage, Gary M. Sandage married to Judith, and Donald W. Sandage celebrated my birth. Douglas Sandage, my younger brother, arrived six years after me but passed away 2 years before me.
As a child I attended McClernand Elementary School where teachers like Mrs. Underdown, Mrs. Simpson and Mrs. Martin, along with my mother, planted the seed that eventually led me to the field of education. From there, I attended Edison Junior High School and Lanphier High School. College was the logical next step where I graduated with an elementary teaching degree and master's degree in elementary school counseling. I will be forever grateful to the Henry Bunn Memorial Scholarship Fund for their support in furthering my education. I joined the Illinois State Board of Education where I had the good fortune to begin and support many programs that touched the lives of thousands of other educators. Among these were Summer Bridges, educator-in-residence, and the first system of support for districts and schools with low performance. In 2003, I retired after 30 years and started consulting for the next fourteen years with the North Central Region Education Laboratory, The America Institute for Research, the Ohio Department of Education, the U. S. Virgin Islands and the Illinois Center for School Improvement.
Of course, during this long educational career, many other important experiences occurred in my life. The memories I'm taking with me now are so precious and have more value than all the work I produced with great satisfaction.
Memories … where do I begin? Well, I remember my Mother as the perfect parent; I remember my older sister and I spilling a bottle of Clorox on our newly purchased blue and red tennis shoes, hoping we wouldn't get in trouble – we didn't; I remember my older brother taking care of my younger brother while he was battling cancer; I remember my other older brother as the consummate stay at home child who ended up traveling the world; I remember sewing clothes for the two girls when they were small; I remember grandmother Plowman wringing a chicken's neck for Sunday dinner.
I married my husband, Don, on December 30, 1975 and from that day on I was proud to be the parents of Michael (Mary), Barbara (Danny Coffey), Mark (Kimm), Molly (Orlando Medina), Rick and Daniel (Tracy). My greatest treasures call me Nana. Michael Coffey (deceased), Jennifer Coffey-Lott, Brett Coffey, April, Hannah, Hunter, and Alexis (all Poggis), Sarah Ruzicka and Tim Phillips have enriched my life more than words can say. They're treasures that are irreplaceable and will go with me wherever my journey takes me.
So … I was born; I blinked; and now on to the next transformation.
No buildings or streets named after me; but we do have a lovely family monument at Oak Ridge Cemetery across from Lincoln's Tomb that was family planned if you would like to drop by sometime. I did have the chance to work with amazing people and know and love each and every friend as well as all my family members. How much more blessed can a person be?
So in the end, remember… always do your best; set and follow high standards; balance your heart and mind in making decisions, and make something amazing out of your life. Oh, and never stop learning.
I'll leave you with this…Life is not forever, love is.
Private Graveside services will be held.
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Published in Print in The State Journal-Register from Aug. 27 to Aug. 28, 2017
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