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Jim Sherwood remembered for plants and flowers, music

Jim Sherwood is shown recently amongst flowers at The Treehouse in Pequot Lakes. Submitted Photo

Jim Sherwood, longtime owner of The Treehouse nursery in Pequot Lakes and G&S Plants in Pine River, is being remembered for his talent with plants and flowers, his love of music, and his work at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa.

Sherwood, 80, died Wednesday, May 23, after battling prostate cancer for 14 years. He spent a lot of the last three years in the hospital, but died at home.

His love of music will be evident at Sherwood's funeral, which he planned himself. His partner of 39 years, Curt Lindelof - the two were married Feb. 3 - said the funeral will be held as soon as the new organ at Lutheran Church of the Cross is fully installed. Others agreed that Sherwood's funeral can't go on without the organ, saying he always advocated for organ music over the piano.

"When he heard that we were finally going to get a new organ, he fervently wished to live long enough to hear it, and designated all the gifts he and Curt received for their wedding in February to the organ fund," Laura Raedeke, an organist at the church, said via email. "That wish was not to be realized, but his Celebration of Life service will likely be the first time the new organ will be heard, and I can't help but think he will in some way know that."

Lindelof said: "His love of the organ is incredible. It's his favorite instrument."

Sherwood was a leader in the bass section of the senior choir at church and volunteered to sing solos.

A local boy who grew up in Pine River, those close to him called him "Jimmy." As part of his love for plants, Sherwood was a member and past president of the Nisswa Garden Club. In fact, the club's May 24 meeting was scheduled to be held at The Treehouse. The meeting went on and turned into a celebration of Sherwood's life.

Sherwood is also being remembered for "his baby blue eyes and infectious smile," said Ronda Boehne, affectionately known at The Treehouse as "Girl Friday" and who worked with Sherwood for the past six years.

"He had a laugh - his laugh was wonderful," she said. "He was like a father to me because I worked hand in hand with him for six years. I'm definitely going to miss him."

Speaking for all the staff at The Treehouse, Boehne said Sherwood was not just their employer, but their teacher and friend whom they loved so much.

Pastor Kari Williamson, associate pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, also said she would remember Sherwood for his smile and laugh.

"It was a smile that lit up a room, brought laughter, life and welcome to all those around him," Williamson said in an email. "His smile was as quick as his laughter was. He loved life and gave all that he had as he loved his family, friends, his community and his church."

Sherwood played a large part in decorating Lutheran Church of the Cross for Christmas and Easter. Michael Smith, former choir director at the church, worked closely with Sherwood to decorate the church for those holidays.

"On many occasions I was fortunate to be part of the 'decorating crew' that tried to carry out Jim's very explicit ideas - ideas that included use of huge, lighted birch trees, evergreen trees, hundreds of poinsettias, and hanging baskets for Christmas and a virtual garden of flowers for Easter," Smith said in an email. "Jim always knew exactly what he wanted and where everything needed to go to create a beautiful effect. Jim's love of people, his church and his community made an indelible mark on our area."

Cathy Taylor, director of music at Lutheran Church of the Cross, also will remember Sherwood for "his love of creative beauty, specifically for Lutheran Church of the Cross in his decorating and love of music."

"He loved singing in the choir," Taylor said in an email. "When I would be at the piano during rehearsals, he and I would share glances occasionally when something was funny or off. I will miss that. I will miss Jim and his strive for excellence in his decorating."

Sherwood's cousin, Kathy Kater, shared the eulogy she will give at Sherwood's funeral. In it, she summarizes Sherwood as most knew him:

"... one of the most capable teachers, botanists, growers of just about anything, and fixers of just about any tangible thing or mechanical device you can imagine. He was a talented singer - he probably would have loved to sing a solo at (his) service - and an all-around musician. Jimmy loved most music, but especially big music, loud music, his favorite being classical organ music - played at full volume. Which fits, because Jim did little if it could not be spectacularly impressive by most standards. Why be 'pretty good' when you could do something off the charts? Whether it was his precise and lightning speed slalom turns on water skis, his to-die-for homemade ice cream, pies and Chinese food, or the grandest flower display you could imagine, Jimmy's motto was, go big. Make a statement!"