Former Mayor Perkins says goodbye to friend

Published 7:10 pm Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dear editor,

Sherri James, you are already missed.

I express my appreciation to Jean Martin for giving me the opportunity to include a comment in her article on Sherri James, and I apologize to her for not responding to her request.

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Even though I wanted to comment, I could not come up with a one- or two-line sound bite sufficient to cover what I need to say about Sherri and what she meant to the city, my family and me. It will take some time to come up with words that adequately describe the Sherri I knew, but in the interest of being timely, I must try.

Sherri’s friendship and loyalty shared with Cynthia, my kids, mother, father, entire family and me was complete and without exception. Sherri’s professional ability shared beginning in 1993 with my business and with the city during my entire mayoral tenure was exceptional and without exception. Sherri’s example after example of humility in long-suffering shared with cancer survivors and victims across the state could well be the standard for generations. Sherri’s peaceful and forgiving spirit shared in her Christian ministries touched and changed the lives of many.

While some talk about the imperfections of others and ignore their own imperfections, the Sherri I knew talked about her own imperfections and prayed for the imperfections of others. While some shy away from our troubled youth, the Sherri I knew drew troubled youth to her side like magnets. While some have pity parties over their personal health and lifestyle crisis, the Sherri I knew found blessings in her struggle and shouted praises to our Savior.

To Ollie, Andrea, the sisters and brothers and all members of this beloved family, I say to you, on behalf of the city of Selma (specific to my tenure as mayor), thank you for sharing Sherri with us. The long hours and personal sacrifices helped to make our community better.

Today, I mourn the loss of a true friend and colleague, and prepare to celebrate her life and the victory in her salvation. Even though I am extremely happy, that her suffering is over, my happiness does not change the fact that the pain of her passing is deep.

Sherri, you are already missed.

James Perkins Jr.

Mayor, Selma (2000-08)