Skip To Main Content

An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

James M. McSherry ’49


James Michael McSherry, who had spent summers on Chapoquoit Island in West Falmouth, died April 9 in Weston at the age of 87.

Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, he was adopted as an infant by Frank Johnson and Elisabeth Jones McSherry and was raised in Washington, DC. In his youth he sang for four years as a treble chorister in the Washington National Cathedral.

He was educated at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown, Delaware; Phillips Academy in Andover; and Brown University, from which he graduated in 1954.

It was at Brown where he met Joanne Webster, who would become his wife of 64 years.

Mr. McSherry received his commission in the US Navy as an ensign. He served three years on the USS O’Hare (DDR-889) out of Norfolk, Virginia, with two tours of duty in the Mediterranean with the Sixth Fleet.

Following his military service, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, Class of 1959.

Mr. McSherry worked initially for E.R. Carpenter Company in Richmond, Virginia, and then joined the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company (soon to become Westvaco) in 1960. He worked for Westvaco in two divisions, retiring in 1994 as vice president of sales and marketing of the Kraft Division in Charleston, South Carolina.

He and his family lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois—with multiple moves to some states—before finally settling in Charleston, South Carolina. They spent nearly every summer at the home they called "Periwinkle" on Chapoquoit Island.

Early one Sunday morning in June of 1988 the chimney of that home was struck by a bolt of lightning, ripping a hole in the side, while Mr. McSherry's son was in bed near where the bolt struck. A photograph in the Enterprise showed the damage, fortunately minimal, with missing bricks and exposed liner partway down the chimney.

Mr. McSherry was a member and former commodore of the Chapoquoit Yacht Club. In South Carolina, he belonged to the Lions Club of Charleston and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 147 on James Island.

In addition to his wife, Joanne Webster McSherry, he leaves four sons and their spouses, Peter and Eileen McSherry of Melrose, Mark and Leiko McSherry of West Falmouth, Andrew and Cheryl McSherry of Needham, and John and Maura McSherry of Newton; 11 grandchildren; a sister, Dr. Elisabeth Green; a brother, Dr. Joseph McSherry; and extended family.

A memorial service will be Saturday, May 11, at 11 AM at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 91 West Main Street in Falmouth.