NO. 17999 • 30 Jun 1926 - 9 May 1990
Died in Wayne, MI
Interred: West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY
John Sherman Harrold was born into the Army at Ft. Bliss, TX. He was known affectionately as "Sherman" to his family and "Pop" to his classmates. The latter name he took from his father, the oldest member of the Class of '23. Typically, Sherman bounced around from station to station with his parents and younger brothers.
During his formative teenage years, Sherman organized a Boy Scout troop from top to bottom. He enlisted an NCO as a scoutmaster, rallied the kids on the base and, soon, the Boy Scouts of America sanctioned the troop. He achieved the coveted rank of eagle, serving as a role model for those following him and, later, organized teenage basketball and baseball teams that competed with surrounding community teams.
Sherman graduated from Polytechnic Preparatory School in Brooklyn, NY, while his father was stationed at Ft. Jay on Governors Island. He went on to attend Sullivan’s Preparatory School in Washington, DC, and then enlisted in the Army. In September 1945, he went to the Academy Preparatory School at Amherst College, followed by 11 weeks at Ft. Benning for USMA preparatory training.
Sherman’s father was his role model and, like his father, Sherman took the tough and highly competitive presidential examination for West Point. He passed it and joined his classmates on the Plain in July 1946. During his four years at the Academy, Sherman kept a low profile. Academics never were a problem. However, he made himself conspicuous on the Army crosscountry and track teams because he loved to run the distance events and always gave the full measure of his ability. He was most proud of the gold medals he won at the Army-Navy meets and Penn Relays at Madison Square Garden during his First Class year.
Within weeks after Graduation Day, Sherman was an Artillery forward observer with the 49th Field Artillery Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, Korea. Like so many in his class, Sherman went straight into combat without the benefit of branch training. His unit made it to the Yalu River in North Korea but when overwhelmed by Chinese Communist forces, his unit was forced to withdraw through the Hamhung beachhead.
Upon his return to the states, Sherman attended the Army Missile School at Ft. Bliss, where he met and courted the lovely Joan Schock. In June 1954, they married at the Cadet Chapel at West Point, a wel-lknown sacred ground to Sherman, since he had been a choir member for four years.
Sherman then was assigned to the 504th Missile Battalion stationed around the Detroit-Dearborn, MI areas and took over a battery that had just been rated the lowest in the battalion by a recent Inspector General investigation. Within three months, he turned the battery around and it was rated the most outstanding in the entire Detroit defense area. His leadership skills and courage to fight for "the harder right instead of the easier wrong" and prevail when the going got tough were bedrock to Sherman’s character. However, having to work with units spread out over large metropolitan areas discouraged and frustrated a young, impressionable first lieutenant. That was not the Army he had known and loved. He resigned in 1958.
After receiving a fellowship at the University of Michigan in 1959, Sherman taught physics and math at middle and high school levels. He was very civic-minded and volunteered time and effort to community affairs, such as the Penrickton School for the Blind, and the Leader Dog School, and served as president of the local Lions Club and as scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts. He also was active in the Masonic Order and was a 32d degree Mason.
He worked with retarded youths and spent countless hours seeking to redeem members of youth gangs and other troubled youth through scouting. During his last year of teaching, 1,000 previous students signed a petition to have Sherman transfer from a middle school in Garden City, MI, across town to their high school. The administration would not support it. That incident reflects the chemistry Sherman had with kids of all ages and his intense and unselfish desire for them to achieve their potential.
Sherman’s life on earth was taken all too soon, but those who knew him can be assured that he had a greater calling. We shall remember him for his love for his fellow man, his quiet unobtrusive values, and his adherence to principles of loyalty, unshakable integrity, his steadfast religious faith, and his determination to give his best.
Sherman was a loving husband and father, a faithful friend, and an outstanding soldier. He was buried with full military honors at West Point. Another son has joined his father in the Long Gray Line. Well done, Sherman. Be thou at peace.
Sherman is survived by his wife, Joan Feig; two sons John Sherman, Jr., and Thomas Lloyd David; and two brothers, Thomas U. Harrold and Arthur C. Harrold.
- His family and friends