Floral 28

Sharon B. Dewan

August 29, 1942 ~ May 26, 2022 (age 79)


URBANA -- Sharon "Sherry" Boewe DeWan, 79, died on May 26, 2022 in Urbana, IL. In recent months she had moved to Brookdale Senior Living, where her husband of 59 years, Edmund DeWan, also resides. Sherry was born in West Salem, IL on August 29, 1942, one of three daughters of Evelyn Roosevelt and Howard Boewe. After graduation from Edwards County High School, she moved to a woman's dorm at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and joined the Illini Folk Dance Society (IFDS) on 9/16/60, where she would dance the rest of her life. She met Edmund there in 1962 and they married on January 29, 1963 at the Moravian Church in New Salem, IL. Sherry earned a BS degree in Anthropology at the U of I in 1965. They moved to Massachusetts, where their sons Geoffrey and Gregory were born, before moving back to Urbana in 1971. Sherry found that it made more economic sense to stay home and clothe and feed the family, rather than accept the low wages being offered to professional women after earning her degree. And there were many ways to feel self-fulfillment outside of the rat race. Sherry became active in organizing performances where IFDS could demonstrate dances of many cultures, including annual Oktoberfest performances in Havana, IL, and International Fair performances at the Illini Union; the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and other venues, and teaching high school students the German dances probably known to their ancestors, at the Royal, IL Centennial celebration. She made authentic replicas of folkwear worn in other countries, and helped the dancers, male and female, make their own performance clothing. Sherry was also active in other local dance groups, such as the Central Illinois English Country Dancers from the 1990s to 2019, and the Monday night Scottish Dance group in the 1960s and '70s. She also joined the Natural Areas Studies Group (a local group of hikers and walkers to enjoy nearby nature). For at least 3 decades after returning to Urbana, Sherry was very active in the Champaign County League of Women Voters (LWV). She was on the Board of Directors most of that time participating in budget/fundraising, voter services and lobbying at the local, state and national levels. She chaired various local committees and was a member of some State Committees. Sherry organized 10 volunteers to interview 67 school superintendents about possible asbestos in their buildings. She chaired or participated in various studies leading to consensus; she illustrated and helped write the publication "Drainage Districts in Champaign County" and contributed to many other works. Sherry was also a mentor for the Student Chapter of the LWV. Other civic involvement included being a member of the steering committee of the county's Regional Plan Commission's Town Meeting for Tomorrow. She was also acting chair of the Urbana Citizens Advisory Committee on Bicycle Programs. In 1981, Sherry coordinated a public hearing on the National Clean Air Act, sponsored by the American Lung Association. (She managed grant monies for the project, recruited a panel to hear testimony, and persuaded Congressman Edward Madigan to act as hearing officer; prepared advertising publicity and press releases; oversaw the registration and scheduling of the witnesses. She prepared a summary transcript of the proceedings and sent it to the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation.) On another occasion, Congressman Madigan persuaded Sherry to make presentations to farmers about the advantages of reducing topsoil erosion, by waiting until Spring to plow the soil, rather than turning the soil right after Fall Harvest. In 1979 Sherry was hired by W. H. Smith & Associates in Champaign as an Executive Assistant: she wrote documents detailing procedures used by the company in mapping large-tract coal reserves; acted as mediator among field geologists, office staff and computer personnel; edited reports and designed and wrote advertising materials. Sherry was interim office manager and client representative at the welfare rights clinic. She represented clients in administrative hearings conducted by the Illinois Department of Public Aid (IDPA); elicited case histories from clients and advised them on their best course of action; assisted welfare recipients in disputes with the IDPA; researched and interpreted regulations; determined what kind of help was needed, and referred clients to other agencies when appropriate and mediated between the IDPA and third parties, on behalf of welfare recipients. In the 1987, Sherry was a Technical Assistant with the Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center, where she researched and wrote consumer-oriented material on household hazardous waste. Sherry also enjoyed raising black cats, reading many types of books, drawing, gardening and tending the flowers in her yard, and listening to the local National Public Radio stations (they didn't need a TV). She was preceded in death by her parents and by her older son Geoffrey. She is survived by her husband Edmund, her younger son Gregory DeWan (Arizona), and her sisters Valerie Boewe Krajec (West Salem) and Sonja Boewe Ramey (Eddyville, KY) and their children. No funeral service is planned, but Renner-Wikoff Funeral Home is arranging the cremation. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the League of Women Voters (visit https://www.lwvchampaigncounty.org/donate.html), the Champaign County Humane Society (see http://www.cuhumane.org/Donate/WishList.aspx),the Empty Tomb, or your favorite charity.



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