William Sherman, Jr. Family

William Francis Sherman, Jr.

William Francis Sherman, circa 1928
This page is dedicated to my father,
William F. Sherman, Jr.
September 4, 1915 - September 18, 1990

William Francis Sherman, Jr. was born on September 4, 1915 in Sibley Hospital, Washington D.C. - at 12:OO AM, according to his birth certificate - to Nellie Viola Niess and William Francis Sherman. He was born just one short year after their wedding, and was soon to be joined by two brothers, Raymond Carvell Sherman, July 15, 1918 and Vincent Edwin, February 7, 1920. Three little boys were too much for their mother to handle, so my father went to live with his grandparents, Edwin and Carrie Niess, in the same city. He lived with them from the age of eight until he was thirteen, at which time Billy (his father) and Nellie moved to New York where Billy had found employment.

Since he lived with his grandparents so long, he became more like a son than a grandson to them. He was called "Buddy" by everyone who knew him. Buddy was a good student, and passed all the exams above his classmates. He was skipped a semester because of his test scores. He was drilled at home daily, and given extra assignments by his grandfather. It was at their home he learned all the social skills required for Washington D.C. society. He attended Easter Egg Rolls on the White House lawn, and was an alter boy at "The Church of Presidents". He helped his grandmother with her china painting and learned to embroider at her knee. Summers were spent in Braddock Heights, Maryland.

Home was in the northeast section of Washington and was, at that time, largely rural. Their neighborhood was built on a corner of some land that had formerly been a dairy. According to his memoirs "That same land today is figuratively awash with apatment houses, stores, and people. No trace remains of the dairy, or the stream where the kids my age used to skinny dip, or the fields where we used to have "camp fires" and incinerate hot dogs." In 1923 they moved to the North West section remaining there until 1929 and the New York City move.

Because of his skipping an extra semester in school, he became shunned by his peers - "Don't sit too close to him, you might hurt his brains!" and "Here comes the professor!" He withdrew into a protective shell until his graduation from Brightwood School. He graduated from Brightwood School on June 20, 1928. I know that because I have his original diploma! He entered high school at Central High in Washington D.C., and left that school when the family moved to New York.

In New York City he attended Newtown High School and "did well, both in classes and socially!" His memories of New York, will always includes everyone's love affair with "Amos and Andy". When the program came on, it was futile to try to reach anyone - every radio was set to receive the program and no one was on the streets for that 15 minutes! The program was thoroughly discussed the next day!

Saturdays in New York were spent riding the subway! His mother would give him 10 cents and a sack lunch and tell him to be home in time for dinner. He and his friends would ride the subways or elevateds all day, being careful not to be kicked off at some remote location - since fares were a nickel!

The family moved to San Francisco where my grandfather had a job. It was the depression and jobs were scarce. In San Francisco he was enrolled in Lowell High School by his mother. At that time, and I understand still today, it is the high school for the advanced scholars. He graduated from Lowell and enrolled in college at USC.

One of my father's memories of San Francisco during the depression was the start of his dislike of macroni! He had an intense dislike to macaroni thoughout his life. He remembers his mother winning a radio contest and the prize was a case of macaroni. He said they ate that in every possible form and style, and until the day he died, he would not eat macaroni! This is just another story I remember at his knee!

Another memory centers on a few of the little rhymes he would have for different occasions:

I eat my peas with honey
I done it all my life
It makes my peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife!
Hit the ketchup in the bottle
None will come and then a lot'll!

If I were to think back on my teenage years and of my favorite memory of Dad at that time, it would be sharing banana splits with him. "This is our secret," he'd say as we sat down for a banana split at the Riverside, California, Harris Company Department Store ice cream counter. Mother was always watching his weight for him, so I kept his secret, knowing that Banana Splits were his favorite food group! To this day, I can't see a banana split without thinking of Dad!

This page is still under construction . . . as I have time, I'll be recalling more of my father's life!

The song you hear playing, in case you don't recognize the tune, is "The Greatest Man I Never Knew", made famous by Reba McIntire. The words to this song are as follows:

"The greatest man I never knew, lived just down the hall
And every day we said, "hello," but never touched at all
He was in his paper, I was in my room
How was I to know he thought I hung the moon?

The greatest man I never knew, came home late each night
He never had too much to say, too much was on his mind
I never really knew him, and now it seems so sad
Everything he gave to us took all he had.

Then the days turned into years and the memories to black and white
He grew cold like an old winter wind blowing across my life.

The greatest words I never heard, I guess I'll never hear
The man I thought would never die, has been dead almost a year
He was good at business, but there was business left to do
He never said "I love you," guess he thought I knew."

I dedicate this song to my Dad ~ the greatest man I never knew

William F. Sherman, Jr's obituary

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