'All about giving': Cedar Rapids loses prolific contributor

Jasperse volunteered and served on the leadership board for the McAuley Center

Published: March 14 2014 | 2:04 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:37 am in

Some give back financially. Others build. Others create.

Sheryl "Sher" Jasperse gave herself, friends and colleagues said.

Jasperse, 59, of Cedar Rapids, who had cancer and passed away on Thursday, didn't necessarily have a lot of money, but her impact on the community was no less valuable then if she had donated riches, they said.

"I think Sher, and her (surviving) husband Daryl, too, loved being simple in their lifestyle," said Paula Land, executive director of Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids. "It's not that they had a ton of money, but they gave back in giving of themselves, and they modeled how giving back made for a better community."

Jasperse wrote for the center, volunteered as a tutor and served on its leadership board. The center supports clients through tutoring and housing.

"She really embraced the volunteer role wholeheartedly," Land said, recalling that she learned Spanish to help connect with one of her students.

Look around the community, and you'll see Jasperse's mark all around.

She edited the bi-annual magazine, Slovo, for the Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. She served as co-captain for the Cedar Valley Runner's Association chapter of Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer. She was an active member of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, and volunteered for Waypoint Services.

The list goes on.

"I would say she was the least successful person at saying 'no' of anyone I ever met," said Jack Evans, president of the Hall-Perrine Foundation in Cedar Rapids.

Evans worked with Jasperse through Coe College, where Jasperse was director of public relations, and United Way, where Jasperse undertook an oral histories project for its centennial celebration.

She was recognized with a 2013 Governor's Volunteer Award.

Perhaps a lasting memory of Jasperse can be found in her obituary, which she penned herself.

"I hope that if you have tears right now that they are tears of joy, and not sorrow, because I'm finally home and resting in one of the many rooms of my Father's house that He has prepared for all of us," Jasperse wrote.

There will be a celebration of Jasperse's life at Clark Alumni House at Coe College on March 30, 1-5 p.m.

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