Dear Members of the NJCU Community,
It is with tremendous sadness that NJCU announces that long-time professional staff member and labor leader Sherry Ann Thomas passed away on Thursday, October 19, 2023 after a brief illness. She was 60 years old.
Sherry joined the NJCU community in April 1997 and celebrated her 25th year of service to the university last year as a Building Maintenance Worker, most recently serving in the Housekeeping Department after beginning her career in the Public Safety Department as a security guard for many years.
Additionally, Sherry was a union leader in Local No. 195 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE AFL-CIO.). She has held the title of Madame Chapter President since May 25, 2017.
Sherry fiercely advocated for employees whose titles were represented by IFPTE, including security officers, building maintenance workers, operating engineers, locksmiths, mechanical equipment specialist, grounds workers, repairers and senior repairers, carpenters, painters, mechanical store clerks, landscape technicians, and plumber and steamfitters.
"Sherry leaves an unfillable void," said NJCU Interim President Andrés Acebo. "My first day on this campus was greeted with her big smile and her warmness and I have tried to heed her counsel by keeping my door open and embracing our community as family. She often talked about NJCU as a family and implored us to honor that and return to it. Anyone that had the blessing to interact with Sherry, especially when she fought for the things and people she was proud to champion, very quickly found themselves with the regret of not having known her longer. I can say that was true for me. Let’s honor her love for this university by being kind to one another and by holding one another accountable to our better intentions like a family. Let’s join her friends and loved ones in thought and prayer and relish in the blessing we had to have shared time and space with Sherry."
Denise Gourdine, Assistant Director of the Department of Public Safety, was a sister-in-law and a close friend of Sherry and the Thomas family, and remembered her friend as follows:
The Broken Chain
"Sherry had a personality that would impact the lives of many and a smile that would radiate a room. She fought a good fight but got too weak to continue her journey. On October 19, 2023, God saw fit to rescue her from continuous pain, suffering, treatments, fear, and tears. Now Sherry is an Angel created anew, free of her illnesses, and resting in peace. On behalf of the Thomas family, we want to thank each of you for your prayers and well wishes as she truly felt the love and concern expressed to her. I’m glad to have been her co-worker, union laborer, sister-in-law and friend for 42 years — all the way to the end. Rest in Paradise dear friend and colleague, your footprints at NJCU will never be forgotten."
Sherry leaves behind two adult daughters and three grandchildren. Memorial services are pending and will be announced by her family in the coming days.
Counseling services will be made available to co-workers and friends who are affected by her passing. For information about the employee assistance program, please contact the Employee Advisory Service Contact toll free at 1-866-327-9133.
UPDATE (as of October 24, 2023)
Funeral services for Sherry Thomas will be held as follows:
Monday, October 30, 2023
Viewing: 9-10 a.m.
New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
472 Bergen Avenue
Jersey City, N.J. 07304
Service to follow
60 West Side Avenue
Jersey City, N.J.