Obituary: C.L. "Sonny" Sherman

C.L. "Sonny" Sherman

C.L “Sonny” Sherman, a loving, generous husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, businessman and active member of the Beaumont community, passed away April 10, 2018, surrounded by close friends and family.

Sonny was born Sept. 10, 1931, to Chester L. Sherman Sr. and Lucy Bienvenu Sherman. He was the middle of three children, his sister Gloria being the oldest and brother Wayne the youngest.

Growing up, Sonny and his siblings liked to challenge each other in hunting and fishing. He claimed his mom would cook whatever they brought home from a hunt, including frogs, squirrels and alligators. There’s even a story of him playing a trick on his family by bringing home a squirrel for her to cook that had been run over by a car. Sonny and his brother, nephews and friends were lifelong avid hunters.

At the age of 9, against his mother’s wishes, and always the daredevil, Sonny was challenged by some kids from the neighborhood, to climb the highest branch of a nearby tree. When he fell several feet to the ground and the kids saw blood coming from his shirt, they took off. He tried to walk home but was taken to the hospital by a neighbor where he received several stitches for a puncture wound. At the age of 23, it was discovered that part of that stick was still there and had to be surgically removed by famous Houston surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey. That procedure was written up in a medical journal. Sonny always said that carrying that wood in his lung for 14 years may have contributed to his getting in the lumber business.

Sept. 3, 1949, Sonny married his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Dorothy Harkins. Together they had three children: sons Richard and Gary and daughter Janie. He and Dorothy were happily married until the moment he took his last breath.

Sonny worked with his dad building houses and later joining him in the retail lumber business. The business started out of a building the size of a garage without even a cash register. The transition from building to selling came easy for him. While working for his dad, the lumber business had its ups and downs. Sonny later bought out his dad’s share and grew the business with the help of his brother and his sister. C.L Sherman & Sons Lumber Company was born. The locally famous advertising jingle is still remembered by the community to this day. The family business was a huge success until the day it was sold to Ritter Lumber in 1999. Selling the business did not stop him from continuing his lifelong work. He worked for Ritter Lumber until officially retiring a few short years ago.

Sonny Sherman was very active in the community and passionate about doing his part to make his town of Beaumont a better place in which to live. He was a dedicated member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Navigation District, and the South Park Rotary, later known as Spindletop Rotary. He was also very active in school board and city council meetings, where he was often extremely vocal. In fact, he sparred with one particular former mayor so much she put him in charge of a committee to fix the problems he was so passionate about. All he wanted was what was best for the community.

Sonny was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Wayne; and his son Richard. Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; his son Gary and wife, Ellen, and their three children; his daughter Janie Alley and husband, Robert, and their two children; and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Gloria Rougeau, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A gathering of Mr. Sherman’s family and friends will be from 5-8 p.m., Tuesday, April 17, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 1350 N. 23rd St., Beaumont. Interment will follow at Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont.

The family would like to express the most sincere appreciation to special friends, Chad and Tammy Bromley and their children Reese and Mallory for their dedication to his care; to Sharon Hartford for assisting with administrative issues, as well as the caregivers at SETX Homecare and Riceland Hospice and the Oaks of Beaumont for accepting him with open arms.

Donations in Sonny’s honor may be made to Spindletop Rotary Club, P.O. Box 5509, Beaumont, TX 77726.

— Broussard's