Byrnes Mill officials plan to plant a tree in memory of the city’s first court clerk, Mary Lou Sheriff, who died in March at age 72.
The public is invited to the tree-planting, which will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday (May 8) near the entrance of Byrnes Mill City Hall, 141 Osage Executive Circle.
Sheriff, who lived in Cedar Hill, was hired to work for Byrnes Mill in March 1991, and she worked there for 22 years. During her tenure, she helped establish the city’s court.
“She really helped get our court system off the ground, and she established the filing system and documentation that was absolutely necessary,” said current Ward 3 Alderperson Mary Scheble, who was the mayor when Sheriff began working for Byrnes Mill. “We were audited every year as every court is, and we never failed an audit or had any correction. So, she did a fantastic job.”
Sheriff died March 14 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Her husband, Paul Sheriff, said she was diagnosed with ALS on October 26, 2020.
He said his wife had a lot of patience.
“I always kind of marveled at her ability to deal with people who were knuckleheads,” Paul said. “If you got a speeding ticket, she was the cute redhead you had to give your money to. Typically, most people after getting a speeding ticket, or any kind of a citation, are not necessarily in their most cheerful mood, but she was really good at dealing with those folks.”
Paul and Mary Lou Sheriff were married for 25 years, and their blended family includes four daughters and a son.
The two also have 13 grandchildren, one great-grandson and a great-granddaughter on the way.
“She was a real blessing to me,” Paul Sheriff said. “She was my gift from God. He knew I needed to learn how to love and she was really good at teaching how to do that.”
Scheble encourages anyone who knew Mary Lou Sheriff to attend the tree-planting.
“We are going to put her (tree) down in front closer to the entrance of the road and I think we’re going to plant a Japanese red maple,” she said.