On June 4th 2021, shortly after noon, my grandmother, “Mashe,” finished her battle with cancer at home surrounded by her family. Her given name was Mary Sharon Wilkins and while contemporaries called her “Sherry,” young people everywhere knew her as “Mashe.” According to my parents, “Mashe” was born when I didn’t get “Mama Sherry” quite right as a baby. Mashe - the matriarch of our family and our standard bearer - loved God first and others second. She was 75 years old and we will miss her dearly.
Born August 17, 1945 in Little Rock, she was the daughter of William Edwin “Ed” Wilkins and Philomene “Phil” Pruniski Wilkins. She attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Elementary School where she and Harrigan Edward Wortsmith, “Grandaddy” to me, first became sweethearts when she was in third grade. After moving to Little Rock, she attended her beloved Mount Saint Mary Academy from fifth grade through graduation in 1963.
Smitten from the beginning, Grandaddy would ride the bus to court her through high school and their love endured through the separation of college years. Mashe graduated from what we now know as the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and she and Grandaddy would marry on September 3, 1966.
Together they shared the joys and challenges of a growing family and a growing family business. Their roles, while very different - one being a company president and one being a “Household Executive” as Grandaddy liked to call her - were intricately bound through mutual respect, hard work, prayer and most of all love. Together they have provided our family with blessings for which we are all immensely grateful.
While Mashe only ever wanted to be a wife and a mother, she was never one to sit still very well. Her passion for St. Mary’s inspired her continued involvement and plank holder role in their Dinner Belle’s fundraiser. She had a similar passion for the Junior League of Little Rock and Riverfest and cherished the friends she made there. If there was socializing to be done, she wanted to be part of it - as witnessed by all of her bridge friends she had most likely just beat. Mashe loved being with people and was grateful for her huge army of extended family and friends - most especially the “Rosary Grannies.”
Many have called Mashe a miracle patient. For sure, she had amazing medical care and many thanks to the wonderful people that were part of her team but it was her dogged determination that kept Mashe with us for so long. She was on a mission to make sure that Grandaddy and the rest of her family were in good places before she left for heaven.
Mashe and Grandaddy were blessed with three children – Kelly, Keith (my Dad), and Dena.
Aunt Kelly (Snook) works as the Communications Director for the Little Rock Athletic Club. She and Uncle Roy have three of Mashe’s seven granddaughters. Rachel, who graduated from the Naval Academy, recently married Mat Crispell, whom she met there. Mat is serving as a Marine Officer in Twentynine Palms, California, and Rachel is a Medical School Student at the Uniformed Services University of Health Science in Bethesda, Maryland. Cameron Parker is a graduate of Ole Miss and is managing the front desk at the Capital Hotel with well-suited and great aspirations in the hospitality industry. Natalie Snook is a junior at the University of Alabama with her eyes on law school.
My Dad, Keith, is part owner and President of Dash Heating and Cooling. My Mom, Karyn, teaches Gifted and Talented at McDermott Elementary School. I am Madison, the oldest of the grandchildren. Following graduation from the University of Arkansas, I attended dental hygienist school and am in my second week on the job. My middle sister, Blair, graduated from Ole Miss with her Bachelors and Masters Degrees and is now working at the University of Florida as Program Coordinator of Campus Events. My youngest sister, Payton, is a senior at the University of Alabama working on an aerospace engineering degree.
Aunt Dena (Daniel) and Uncle Shawn spent 20+ years traveling the world with his career in the United States Army and he now works at Stephens Inc. They have two children. Katie Grace is a senior at the University of Alabama’s School of Nursing. Jake, the only grandson, just graduated from Catholic High School for Boys (4th generation) and is headed to the University of Arkansas to study engineering.
Finally, by apprenticing with Mashe and Aunt Dena, Grandaddy has mastered “home engineering.” With mission accomplished, Mashe was able to turn her 15+ year fight over to the Good Lord. She was a daily inspiration and we will never forget her subtle grit, courage and faith. We will miss her – as will those who knew and loved her, too.
As Mashe would have told you, thank you for loving her and us.
Please join us in colorful garb to celebrate her life and love.
Mashe’s Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00a.m., Friday, June 11, 2021 at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic Church. The Visitation will be 5:00 - 7:00p.m., Thursday, June 10, 2021 with a rosary service to follow at 7:00p.m. at Smith Little Rock Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Mount Saint Mary Academy at http://mtstmary.edu/support-msm/give-now.
To send flowers to Sherry's family, please visit our floral store.