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Sherman Dutch

Published On: Jan 15 2014 06:11:21 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 03:02:22 PM CST

Sherman Lloyd Dutch, age 90, was talking about growing up in Madison during the depression. His poverty level was acute, some would call it abject poverty, but not Sherman. His Mother, Rachel (Sweet) Dutch had emigrated from Russia and had a 2nd grade education. His Father, Nathan, had no job, his only source of income was rolling his own cigars and going to sell them on the square in front of the printing press for the Capital Times. They lived in a 2 bedroom apartment, one bed slept his Mother and Father, along with his sister Sylvia (Sweet) and Norris (Demont). They rented out the other bedroom to drifters, so Sherman had to sleep in a closet. The difference, he would say, between being poor then and now, was the Madison School System. Everybody was poor, but we all went to school and learned, the Bush was like one big family, every one, Jew, Gentile, Italian, Black, we all were poor but our families were close and we all went to school.

Sherman turned 18 on December 6th, 1941. The following day, in front of Schwartz' pharmacy, he and his friends learned Pearl Harbor was bombed. Along with obtaining his high school degree from Madison Central in the spring of 1942, he enlisted in the Air Force and spent the next 3.5 years oversees, seeing combat including participating in the D Day invasion. He would say never enter a war against a country you would not want to visit later, profound then as they are now.

Sherman was a confirmed bachelor until his sister set him up on a blind date with a beauty from Chicago. Their first date was a trip to the friendly confines of Wrigley field where his date feigned enthusiasm for the Chicago Cubs. Sherman and Sandra Tonkon were married on May 6th, 1953. They proceeded to get down to business and their first child, Shelly Lynn (Chuck Callender) was born on June 12, 1954, followed in close procession with their eldest son Gregory Neal (Sandra Estep) and the young one David Steven (Nancy Gilbertson). Sherman lived "Death of a Salesman", just not the bitterness and despair. He worked 45 years at A. J. Sweet, as an officer in the family business as well as their accountant, a skill he learned while receiving his bachelors degree from the Univesity of Wisconsin in 1949, all paid for by the GI Bill.

His 43 years of marriage were blissful, with the understanding that his wife was always right. They had many friends and family whose name ended in Sweet, Schvid, or Shapiro. Sometime following the vicissitudes of his three children, Grandchildren arrived, Alexander, Carly, Rachel, Luke, and Eli. Although Sherman had one daughter, he often talked about Sylvia's daughters, Karen (Zimmerman), Pam (Troia) and Debbie (Burns) as his own, and appreciates all they have offered him over the years.

Our father was a kind, decent man, putting family first, known to watch the bottom line, but with a generous heart he was a very giving man. A memorial service will be held on at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 17th at TEMPLE BETH EL, 2702 Arbor Drive, Madison. A meal of condolence will follow.

Our thanks to the great care at St. Mary's and Segoe Gardens.

Contributions can be made to Sandra Dutch Beautification Fund at Temple Beth El, or www.parkinson.org.

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