On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Sherlyn Joyce Rockwood died unexpectedly at her home in Edgewater, FL, just one day after her 65th birthday.
While Sherlyn’s family and friends are shocked by her death, they are thankful for her life. Her fortitude transformed early hardships into abundant creativity, which she shared with the world in myriad ways. Her wit, ebullience, and love of laughter made her light up every room she walked into. (At times, literally. She had quite a flair for interior design.)
To her daughters, she imbued soulfulness and a love of musical harmony. To her friends and family, she will be remembered as a darling cook and a generous, inspirational host who made everyone feel as if they were both the guest of honor and comfortably at home.
For herself, she escaped with music, and for the world, she created it. A woman of faith, she sang in church for as long as she could remember. She directed Christmas musicals and participated in her daughter’s school plays. A pianist and effortless vocalist, Sherlyn had a brilliant stage presence. In 1999, six years after recording her first album and traveling with the World Peace Choir, she formed the band Pennies From Heaven: a harmonious trio of women who would immediately become family, backed by some of Nashville’s most talented studio musicians. They were magnetic on stage, a modern version of the Rat Pack, teasing each other and joking with audiences, like this family-friendly jab, “We’re Pennies From Heaven and this is our band…’Spare Change!’”
With a catalog spanning decades of swing, jump-blues, rock & roll, and country standards, Pennies From Heaven was anything but spare change. And Sherlyn did it all, from costume design to orchestral arrangement, while working full time as the manager of a staffing company. (She’d make her way to District Manager before owning her own.) She chose the songs, booked the gigs, found last minute stand-ins and horn players, adjusted harmonies, organized rehearsals, logistics, travel, and more. For years, Pennies From Heaven played shows from South Broadway to Switzerland, including a residency at the Casino Aztar in Evansville, IN.
Along the way Sherlyn met the love of her life, Bruce, and they were married shortly after. She became an avid boater and a dog mom, eventually moving into her “dream home” in Hendersonville, TN.
In 2017, months after a tick bite went unnoticed vacationing in York Beach, ME, Sherlyn discovered she had Lyme disease, a widely misunderstood inflammatory disease which can cause a host of complications if left untreated. Migraines, arthritis, nerve blockages, and sever fatigue were just some of the many side effects she battled daily.
She was exhausted; but she maintained her sense of humor. She always did know how to keep things positive. She was charmingly effuse, exceptionally funny, and unapologetically herself.
Sherlyn is survived by her best friend and husband of twenty glorious years, Bruce Rockwood of Edgewater, FL; mother Lenora “Lennie” Edwards of Mena, AR, and stepmother Dean Walker of Arlington, TX; children Kendralyn Cornish of Sioux City, IA, Jenifer (Peyton Ligon) Anastasi of Boston, MA, Amanda Anastasi of Nashville, TN, and Stephen Anastasi of Lancaster, MA; siblings Kevin (LeighAnne) Walker of Mena, AR, Steve (Regina) Walker of Glenwood, AR, Marty (Carleen) Walker of Harrison, ID, Alicia (Charles) Moore of Chesterfield, VA, and Amanda (Anthony) Sansano of San Antonio, TX; as well as: three grandchildren, two “Pennies”, one great-grandchild; and a partridge in a plethora of nieces, nephews, relatives, and in-laws she so much adored.
She was preceded in death by her father, James “Jim” Walker of Arlington, TX, and Ripley “Right Turn Rip” Rockwood, the most esteemed dog to ever scurry the docks of Anchor High.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Sherlyn’s honor at 4:00 pm on Sunday, July 10, 2022, at Cumberland Old Hickory Yacht Club, 165 Sunset Drive, Hendersonville, TN.
For those who are able to help at this time the family asks that you consider donating towards funeral expenses, in lieu of flowers. A fund has been set up in Sherlyn’s name at https://gofund.me/74c8738e
For more information about Lyme Disease and how to prevent it, visit cdc.gov/lyme/index
165 Sunset Drive, Hendersonville, TN