Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Goodbye, Sheena

I was out doing some Christmas shopping tonight when I saw that someone had left a message on my cell phone. I hate getting messages on my cell phone - Verizon has it set up so that if you have any messages near their expiration date, you have to play through all of those and either delete or re-save them before you can hear your new message. Generally I just check the caller ID of whoever called me and call them back. But this time I made it to the message immediately and listened to it.

It was a friend I went to the University of Scranton with. He was an Electronics Engineering major in my class, the class of 1989 (I majored in Physics, and we were both part of the same department.). He asked me if I had gotten the latest alumni magazine, the Scranton Journal. He asked if I had seen that Sheena McDermott, who was an Electronics Engineering major from the class of 1987, had died.

I had gotten the magazine, but I hadn't read it. I was still sore at the University for their supremely bad timing in calling me earlier this week to ask me to make a donation to the alumni fund a few minutes after I had confirmed that I would be on layoff for this rotation.

Sheena was a remarkable person. Feisty, vivacious, alive. She smoked and drank and swore like the fine Irish lass she was. I saw her more out of the department than in it. She was one of the University Players. I remember seeing her in Bus Stop, playing the role of Cherie. (At one point in the production a prop door refused to open. Rather than going around, she shouted "Help! Help! I'm locked outside!")

In recent years, as I've stretched my legs on the Internet, I've tuned up my sleuthing / stalking / people-finding skills. Sheena was one of my earliest targets. Unfortunately, "Sheena McDermott" is not exactly a unique name, so I received a plethora of results, most or all of them pointing to Sheena McDermotts other than the one I was looking for. This was before the days when MySpace and Facebook and personal blogs were ubiquitous.

I guess I haven't looked for her in a while. Otherwise I might have found her site, and re-connected with her, or at least known about what was going on with her, or what had gone on with her. From the site:
Sheena lost her battle with cancer the night of April 26, 2008. As all the entries in the Guestbook here and in the NJ Star Ledger obituary reflect, Sheena left an extended community of friends and family who will miss her greatly.
Her obituary:
Sheena Ann McDermott

NORTH ARLINGTON - Sheena Ann McDermott of North Arlington passed away Sunday, April 27. She was 44 years old. Ms. McDermott was born in Jersey City and raised in North Arlington.

She was a graduate of Queen of Peace High School, received her undergraduate degree in Physics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Scranton and received her M.B.A. from Rutgers University School of Business. During her career as an engineer, she was employed by several corporations all over the country before returning to North Arlington and starting a second career as a math teacher at North Arlington High School.

She is survived by parents Charles and Mary (nee McMahon), siblings Karen, Mark and his wife, Rita and Neil and his wife, Bonnie. She is also survived by nieces and nephews Jeffrey, Zachary, Brooke, Brian, Tara and Andrew as well as extended family and close friends.

On April 30, relatives and friends attended the funeral from Parow Funeral Home and the funeral mass from Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, both in North Arlington.

The family would appreciate donations made to the American Cancer Society (Colon Cancer Research), 20 Mercer St., Hackensack, NJ 07601 in her memory.

Goodbye, Sheena.

See also:
Brad Macomber's posts about Sheena
American Cancer Society: Sheena's Inspiration
More information on Sheena's Inspiration


hedera said...

Having recently lost an old friend with whom I'd lost touch, believe me, I sympathize. Losing people hurts.

RMinNJ said...

I remember her as a somewhat wacky physics major...always friendly though.

20 years later it certainly reminds us of where we've been, where we are going and of what's important in life.

Anonymous said...

I knew her at the U of S, and her death saddens me deeply...

Anonymous said...

I was a fellow engineering student and lived next to Sheena, Beth and the gals off-campus. Sheena was a a shining light, always with a smile, always fun to be with. I am very sad to hear she is gone.

Anonymous said...

I knew Sheena at "Da U". If only the good die young, she was the best. Sheena, see you later, when we all geet there.