DAVENPORT — Beloved teacher, activist, father and husband, William “Bill” Lee Sherwood, 67, of Davenport, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The family will greet friends 3 until 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, at the Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home, downtown Davenport. A service to celebrate his life will begin at 6 p.m. with a time of sharing stories and memories of Bill. In keeping with his wishes, cremation rites have been accorded in Florida.
Bill was born in Martinsburg, W.Va., on Oct. 12, 1947, to Jessie Murl and Ruth Imogene (Jean Cooprider) Sherwood.
After World War II, his family moved to Terre Haute, Ind., before resettling in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in 1958. There, he attended Camarillo High School and Thousand Oaks High School. In 1967, he married Laurel (Hugunin) Sherwood. From this marriage, they had two children, Melissa and Mitchell Sherwood. In California, Bill was a nursery manager at Boething Treeland Nursery. In 1970, Bill and his family moved to Camanche, Iowa, where he attended Mount St. Clare College before transferring to St. Ambrose College (University), where he graduated in 1984. During his undergraduate years, Bill worked in maintenance at Jane Lamb Hospital in Clinton and Mercy Hospital in Davenport. While attending St. Ambrose College, he met his wife and partner, Ann McCluskey. They had two children, John and Erin McCluskey, and lived together in Davenport until his death.
While Bill was an undergraduate student, he worked as a residential advisor at the Opportunity Center and Handicapped Development Center. He also served as director of the Weatherization Program at Project NOW.
In 1985, James Andrews, Principal of JB Young Junior High School in Davenport, hired Bill for his first teaching job. Bill spent the following 25 years working for the Davenport Community School District: two years as a teacher and coach at JB Young; one year as Associate Principal of Williams Junior High School; and 22 years at Kimberly Center for Alternative Education (now Mid-City High School), where he taught history, social studies and humanities. At Kimberly Center, he became a Crisis Interventionist and the Primary Disciplinarian, where he introduced the concept of restorative justice.
In 1999, Bill was elected to the Davenport City Council as Alderman-At-Large. The first order of business on the new council was to pass the equity ordinance, which institutionalized tolerance and diversity in our community. During his time on the council, he helped lay the groundwork for Vision One, which resulted in the Figge Art Museum, the River Music Experience, the Skywalk and the parking ramps in downtown Davenport. He was the Chair of the Community Development Committee and served as a member of the Executive Board of the Davenport Industrial Park and of the River Renaissance Committee.
In 2010, Bill retired from teaching. In 2011, he was elected to the Davenport Community School Board. He dedicated his life not only to educational issues but also to the betterment of his community as a whole. He was passionate about poverty and environmental justice, working to educate those around him about climate change and its impact. In 2012, he was picked as the facilitator of the Environmental Forum for Progressive Action of the Quad-Cities and, in July 2014, Bill was appointed by Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba to serve on the Sustainable Environmental Methods and Technology Commission. He knew the most effective way to change the world was to develop the leadership abilities of everyone around him, empowering his children, students, colleagues and friends to become leaders themselves.
Bill is survived by his wife, Ann McCluskey; sons, Mitchell Sherwood (Angela) and John McCluskey; daughters, Melissa Sherwood, Erin McCluskey and Rania Benzbiria; sister, Donna Lafean (John); brother, David (Michel) Sherwood; grandson, Ian Sherwood; son-in-law, Dugan Hayes; brothers-in-law, Patrick McCluskey, Michael McCluskey, David McCluskey and James McCluskey (Amy); and sister-in-law, Jennifer McCluskey.
Special thanks go to Ken and Joanne Wilson and Collin Evans.
Please make out memorials to the Bill Sherwood Education Fund. Online remembrances and condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Bill’s obituary at www.hmdfuneralhome.com.