Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Deceased student will be missed

Christopher Michael Sherrill was a man who loved God, life and nature, said his father Mike Sherrill. Chris, a senior majoring in history from Coker, Alabama, passed away Sunday, two days after his 24th birthday, from causes the family wishes to keep private. While Chris did not have a long life, he made a lasting impact on those around him by the way he viewed the world and ministered to others.

“The special thing about Chris was his commitment to being true to himself,” said family friend Ellen Moon. “He had very strong religious beliefs, and while he did not force them on anyone, he did not compromise them. He never understood why people would waste time being discontent about little things that make no difference in the grand scheme of things instead of spending time wisely on love and caring.”

Chris was a joy, and a loving son who never met a stranger and worked to share his unparalleled faith with others at every opportunity, said his mother Myra Brenda Sherrill. She said he often gave her daily scripture verses on scraps of paper and told her “God told him to give it to her.” She said he always built her up spiritually, and she feels he was blessed by God from birth.

“He gave Bibles away to people,” Myra said. “Chris’s former manager at Home Accents told me Chris always had a Bible with him. That’s how he would spend his lunch break—sitting in his truck and reading his Bible. He would also look for opportunities to witness to other employees and even customers. I laugh now, when I think about how many Bibles I bought, thinking I was buying them for him, which I was, but he was giving them away.”

Andrew Martin, a senior double majoring in history and political science, said Chris was his good friend and classmate, and noted Chris’s passion for sharing the word of God.

“Chris is a sweet, godly man and a beacon to us all,” Martin said. “In my time of grief and sorrow over the loss of my grandmother, he took time out to talk to me and remind me that in prayer we can find strength. We can find comfort in knowing that such a kind and sweet hearted man is in a better place with God.”

The Sherrills said Chris was a good old country boy who loved the outdoors, and spent hours fishing, camping and gardening. Chris loved animals and brought home countless dogs and cats over the years. He also had a green thumb and enjoyed supplying the family with beautiful flowers and succulent vegetables in the summer.

“I remember being so surprised when I went over to their house when Chris was just a skinny little boy, and I saw this gigantic garden,” family friend Ellen Moon said. “I assumed it was the mom’s or dad’s, but Myra said it was Chris’s. He also had a rooster, just because he wanted one.”

“We did it the old fashioned way with a tent in the woods,” Myra said. “We camped out in the cold often, and as a child in the summers Chris would wake me up at three or four in the morning to boil hotdogs, and we would be off to the lake. He could fish all day, even if he didn’t catch very much.”

Another passion Chris shared with his dad was their love of history.

“We would annoy everyone by watching exclusively the History channel for years,” Mike said. “We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Battle of Selma when we went down to watch that reenactment one time. Chris wanted to combine his first calling, the ministry, with teaching history at the university level at one of the major institutions in the South. His goal was not only to teach history, but also to minister to people. He was adept at that.”

Chris worked as David Michelson’s personal research assistant in the history department, and Michelson said Chris was by far the most rewarding student he has ever taught.

“As his teacher, I was deeply impressed with the breadth and tenacity of Chris’s intellectual curiosity, his impeccable work ethic, and his remarkable record of academic persistence and achievement in spite of many difficulties,” Michelson said. “More importantly, however, I valued Chris as a friend and fellow pilgrim on the earthly journey of discovery that we all share as human beings. I will miss the many conversations that I had with him about the value of humility, of faith, and of hope in the life of the mind.”

James Mixson, associate professor of medieval history, said Chris was one of the best students he has ever had.

“We were especially proud of him just now, because he had worked so hard and had just been admitted to our graduate program as a Master’s student,” Mixson said. “We were all looking forward to what great work he was going to do. He was an inspiration to all of his teachers.”

Dan Riches, an associate professor in the history department, also admired Chris.

“The obstacles Chris had overcome in order to make it to the university, and the excitement he felt about learning new things and exploring new parts of the human past struck me as unique,” Riches said. “He was always so humble and polite, but also so surprisingly intelligent.  There was a depth of thought and power of mind to Chris that wasn’t always apparent when first meeting him, but that came across so impressively and powerfully when one got to know him.”

“If ever there was a boy destined to make a difference in this life, he was the one,” Mike Sherrill said. “Chris was effective in sharing his beliefs with most anyone because he had this big broad smile and can-do attitude, and he always took the side of the underdog. Not only was Christopher my son, he was my greatest friend and most confident confidante.”

“Chris and I couldn’t sit in the same room together for more than five minutes without finding something to laugh about,” said his 19-year-old brother Nick. “Laughter was kind of mine and Chris’s thing. We used to sit outside for hours talking about things, and no matter how bad things were we’d always laugh at the end. We had so many inside jokes that they would fill up an entire book.”

Both Nick and their pastor, Roger Phillips, said Chris lived his life for others and had an unselfish way of handling himself.

“I can’t look at a single wall in my room without seeing something he gave me,” Nick said.  “I remember once I was at work at my old job, and he came in and asked for the keys to my car. When I got off work, I found a Ben Harper vinyl album sitting in the driver’s seat. We both loved Ben Harper.”

“Chris was behind me on every single decision I made, no matter how bad the decision was,” Nick said. “I could always turn to him no matter what. He was and is the best big brother I could have ever asked for.”

Visitation will be held from 12-2 p.m. on Saturday at Magnolia Chapel in Northport. Services will commence at 2 p.m. Burial will be at Big Creek Cemetery in Coker.

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