"When the shots rang out, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, threw herself into the danger," the Associated Press reported recently after Sherlach was fatally shot along with 25 others at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14.
Judging by the number of cars, many more turned out to remember her sacrifice. The funeral, at St. Stephen's Church on Route 25 on Friday, was closed to the press.
According to AP, Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school's principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him, it reported.
"Even as Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbor, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator. Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted on the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes, relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said, but never had the chance. In a news conference Saturday, he told reporters the loss was devastating, but that Sherlach was doing what she loved.
According to her obituary, Sherlach, 56, wife of William Sherlach of Trumbull, was born in Endicott, N.Y.
She received a Bachelor's degree in psychology from SUNY Cortland and a Master's degree from Southern Connecticut State University. She started her career working in psychiatric facilities in New York. Her work as a school psychologist began in North Haven and Redding. In 1994 she started her work at Sandy Hook Elementary School, doing what she termed "God's work" by helping children who needed her the most. Mary is remembered as a loving wife and mother, and a caring soul who was always there to lend an ear or a shoulder to someone in need. In addition to her husband Bill of 31years, she leaves two daughters, two brothers and two sisters.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Fairfield County Community Foundation, Fund for Health and Wellness, 383 Main Ave., Norwalk, CT 06851 to continue her work with children and mental health. To light a virtual candle, visit www.abriola.com.