Theresa Jande Sherman, A Woman of Substance


The mother of Counselor Varney Sherman has died and her memorial service was held yesterday at St. Stephen Episcopal Church, attended by many people, including President George Manneh Weah and former Vice President Joseph and Mrs. Kartumu Boakai and many other prominent personalities and others.

Sister Theresa Jande Sherman was a teacher, but not an ordinary one. She was an extraordinary one, one of whose many students was Clemenceau B. Urey, an outstanding Liberian Insurance executive, who went on to found his own company, the Atlantic Insurance Company of Liberia.

But Ma Jande, the daughter of former Grand Cape Mount County Senator R. Fole Sheman, was the grandfather of Senator Varney Sherman, one of our most senior Senators, Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee and one of the Liberian Senate’s leading members. And who is Varney? The only son of Mother Theresa Jande Sherman.

Yes, hers was a difficult conception, that ostracized her from the conservative Grand Cape Mount County community. But Varney turned out to be a young boy raised by his loving and devoted grandfather, Senator R. Fole Sherman and his two sisters, who spoke only Vai, the celebrated Liberian native language, who spoke no English and therefore taught their infant nephew deep Vai that in many years later, helped him to win the Grand Cape Mount County Senatorial elections.

For some strange reason no one knew that the brilliant Varney, first of his class from Kindergarten through university, spoke fluent Vai, and deep Vai at that. He beat his opponent, who spoke fluent Mandingo; but though many of the Vais also spoke Mandingo, many were shocked to see their young son and Harvard Law educated Varney, spoke fluent Vai, too — deep Vai at that. So Varney won the election!

He was a boy destined to be a leader, the offspring of his mother’s pain. As the tributes at Varney and his mother’s church, St. Stephen Episcopal at 10th Street, Monrovia, at yesterday’s Memorial Service indicated, Ma Theresa Jande Sherman went on to become a great Liberian teacher, who produced many great Liberian products.

These include national Insurance Executive and entrepreneur Clemenceau B. Urey. In his excellent Tribute to his sixth grade teacher, Theresa Janda Sherman, Mr. Urey, one of Liberia’s leading Insurance Executives and entrepreneurs, said Thank You to her son Varney, his wife Joyce and all her siblings and children, who took care of their beloved and devoted sixth grade teacher, Ma Jande.

She made the greatest impact on him as his most outstanding teacher. There are many teachers who do not know what it means to be a teacher. For this reason, we are publishing on tomorrow the full text of Clemenceau Urea’s Tribute to his teacher, Mrs. Theresa Jande Sherman. May all Liberian teachers read this Tribute and learn from her great example, what it means to be a true and dedicated teacher.

May all mothers learn to know what it means to be a real mother. And most of all, may all sons and daughters-in-law learn to know what it means to be a loving son and daughter-in-law, as Varney and his loving wife Joyce Dunbar Sherman were to their mother and mother-in-law. Here is a true and virtuous example of son-ship and mother-in-law-ship to a beloved and cherished Mother.

May the soul of Mother Theresa Jande Sherman and the souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God, rest in Eternal Peace.


  1. Although Jaques in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” wants us to believe that “All the world’s a stage/ And all the men and women merely players/ They have their exists and entrances…”, the gathering of who’s who at the funeral of Matriarch Theresa Jande Sherman left no doubt that she wasn’t just a ‘mere player’. Molding young minds in the class room was her forte, yet the indomitable mother passed on the family’s baton of public service to a precocious son – the present Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Counselor Varney Sherman

    Indeed, in every sense, she left a footprint on the sands of time, and May her soul rest in peace. To the children, their spouses, extended family, and people of Cape Mount, we say “no mind”; after all, her departure is Liberia’s loss, too.

    For when long-retired highly-regarded teachers are passing away without suitable replacements to continue their impactful contributions, a vacuum detrimental to national development is created. We pray her departure will refocus attention on the unavoidable fact that the whole world – since the UL entrance exam fiasco – knows about Liberia’s public school education problems. What’s required now are solutions, and fast. Once again – RIP, Matriarch Theresa Jande Sherman.

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