Sherwin Samuel Shermis, known affectionately as Sam, passed away at Hearthstone Health Campus in Bloomington, Indiana at age 85. He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Lulla D. Shermis, by his brother Stewart, and by his parents Harry and Celia. He is survived by his three sons, Michael, Joseph, and Daniel, one grandson, Benjamin, four nephews and two nieces, his brother-in-law Jim Story and partner Jill, and many friends, colleagues, writing partners, and students.
Sam graduated from Fresno State University in 1954 and taught high school for five years in Chowchilla and Parlier, California. He later moved with Lulla to Lawrence, Kansas where he earned a Master's and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Kansas. Afterwards he began his career as a professor of education at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. In1965 he took his wife and three children for a 32-year stint teaching and writing at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. During this time period he authored and co-authored a series of books, monographs, and articles exploring the nature of social studies.
Sam lived a life of reflective inquiry (a term he helped coin), was a voracious reader, and enjoyed conversing with students, friends, and family on any topic that was of interest. He was steeped in history, philosophy, the social sciences, and the liberal arts. He enjoyed science and technology, being one of the first in his field to get a computer in the early 80s. He found ways to collaborate with those in business, agriculture, biology, and many more fields. He found much pleasure in classical music and his knowledge of composers, performers, and pieces of music was encyclopedic.
His profession allowed for him to be a visiting professor in other parts of the world; his first sabbatical was in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he took his entire family for a rich cultural experience. Later he travelled with Lulla for sabbaticals in Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia.
Sam was a very active member of the Jewish community, serving along with Lulla in a variety of capacities at Temple Beth Israel in West Lafayette, Indiana. He and Lulla often did outreach for the Temple (including much in Jewish-Christian relations); when people called to join they were often the ones who welcomed newcomers.
When Sam and Lulla retired, they moved to Asheville, North Carolina and became quite active in the Jewish community there. He became the Temple’s scribe, doing ketubahs and anything that called for calligraphy. Sam and Lulla cherished their faith, bringing joy and cheer to all proceedings and celebrations.
Retirement was full and busy for Sam; he took up painting, taught part time at Warren Wilson junior college, collaborated on academic articles with a variety of people, and enjoyed numerous visits from his sons. After their time in Asheville, Lulla and he moved to Bloomington, Indiana to be near their oldest son, Michael. There they lived together for the rest of their lives. Their sons, extended family, and many friends share the joy of a life well spent.
Services are at 10 a.m., Tuesday, December 3rd, at Congregation Beth Shalom, in Bloomington, Indiana, to which all memorial contributions (in lieu of flowers) can be made.