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Editorial — Norm Sherritt was an outstanding citizen
Norm Sherritt gave a great deal to Langley — and he didn’t even live here for most of his life.
In return, he didn’t get too much in the way of tangible rewards — but he did receive a lot of gratitude from students, fellow teachers, parents, people interested in Langley’s history and yes, even from newspaper editors, who are well aware that people like him, who intimately know the foundations on which a community is situated, are more precious than gold.
He was recognized as a recipient of the H.D. Stafford Good Citizen of the Year award in 1998, and Langley Township council named him an honourary pioneer in 2005. That recognition came after he had addressed the annual Douglas Day gathering on two occasions. From then on, he was invited to attend the annual pioneers’ dinner, something that he very much enjoyed.
While his deep interest in the background of the community and ability to dig out obscure facts were legendary, he also achieved a great deal in his professional life as a Langley educator for almost 40 years. He began as a teacher in 1940, and retired in 1980 as principal of Aldergrove Secondary. His time was interrupted by a stint as an instructor with the Royal Canadian Artillery during the Second World War.
His fellow teachers very much enjoyed working with him, and students appreciated him. As Warren Sommer notes in this issue, he was “outwardly stern when the occasion demanded it, inside he was warm, generous, and compassionate.”
He enjoyed a long and happy marriage to fellow teacher Mabel Main. They married in 1942 and afterwards lived in her home town of Cloverdale. But despite his Surrey address, Mr. Sherritt remained keenly interested in Langley, both in his work life and his passion for local history.
He was an outstanding citizen in so many respects. He was a role model for young people, a mentor for fellow teachers, a resource for historians, a good husband and father and he was always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who asked.
Langley has been most fortunate to have him as a key part of this community for over 90 years. Such keen interest in a community, and all the ways that it functions, is an essential element of a healthy and sustainable community.