Life Story Funeral Homes®
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Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Gwendolyn Sherman

April 28, 2023
Vicksburg, MI




Gwendolyn Lee (Oswalt) Sherman, age 84, passed away at Birch Meadows Care Facility on April 28, 2023, after a prolonged Alzheimer's affliction. She leaves behind her husband of 61 years, Gary; sons, Geoffrey M. and wife Megan (Clore), Garth W. and wife Alison (Stensrude); grandchildren, Blake, Rachel, Chase, Max, Nathan and Cooper; a brother, William Lewis Oswalt. She was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley Martin and Gertrude Viola (Markle) Oswalt.

Gwen was a beautiful woman inside and out. Her smile and laugh were infectious, and she chased doom and gloom from every room she entered. Her early life experiences growing up on a dairy farm near Vicksburg, MI instilled an appreciation of hard work, personal discipline, and responsibility that served her well throughout her amazing life. She had all the attributes that would propel her to musical and business success. Between high school and her first year at Michigan State University, Gwen competed in a contest for Dairy Queen of Michigan. She was crowned Dairy Princess out of 400 contestants and spent the summer attending parades and special events to highlight Michigan's dairy industry. Gwen's mellow mezzo-soprano singing voice had already attracted attention locally but entering MSU as a voice music major, she promptly was identified as having star potential and was being prepared to become a professional singer after graduation. As time passed, Gwen realized however that a life in a major city like New York was not to her liking. She switched to a teaching major and started her career as a second grade teacher in Lansing, MI.

She and Gary were married in 1961 and Gwen continued to teach in Lansing while Gary completed his MBA and his post-graduation job took them to Minneapolis, MN. There Gwen performed at the renowned Guthrie Theatre and sang as a church soloist at many musical events. When a job change took the family to Elkhart, IN, Gwen appeared in several musical plays with Indiana University. Gwen was preparing to reenter teaching when she crossed paths with Mary Kay Cosmetics, and that was the lightning bolt that launched Gwen's amazing business career.

As a new consultant in 1970, Gwen fell in love with the products, the people in Dallas and the founder Mary Kay Ash. Mary Kay quickly recognized Gwen's potential and became a mentor, business advisor, and champion. Gwen responded with gusto, and the "rest is history." By the time she retired in 2005, Gwen had been awarded the trademark pink Cadillacs to drive the last 24 years. Gwen's leadership earned 19 Top Director trips to all corners of the world. Gwen was in the top ten sales achievers ten different times and was #1 in the nation twice. Gwen was selected by Mary Kay Ash as "Miss Go-Give" at the 1979 national awards ceremony. Not content with her USA achievements, Gwen was asked to pioneer Mary Kay's business expansion in Mexico, and over several years, developed an organization (with the help of Patricia Sirrine, office manager, friend and Spanish interpreter) that became the country with sales second only to the U.S. Gwen was a favorite business associate wherever she went. Her aspirations to appear on stage had not been met through music but through leading other women to fulfill their dreams. Gwen was a great public speaker and brought the audience to their feet at practically every event. Today, Gwen's portrait hangs in the hallways at Mary Kay headquarters in Dallas, honoring her leadership contributions. She was the ultimate multitasker, achieving business success while being an outstanding mother and loving wife. She always had several projects going at once and handled them all deftly without batting an eye.

Gwen will be remembered for her bold actions rising in stature as a powerful public speaker and motivator for women growing their businesses. She overcame uncharted waters as she introduced Mary Kay Cosmetics to women not only in Mexico but in Europe as well. She literally impacted the world and will be remembered for her beautiful bold laughter, each seeming to be its own musical aria as it echoed throughout any room she occupied. It left all that heard it with a bright smile on their face and gladness they were in Gwen's presence.

Gwen was a longtime faithful Christian and has secured her place in Heaven. Gwen left her mark here on earth, and I wish we could see the angel's faces when they hear her sweet voice sing and hear her laughter there as we heard it here on earth. So now girl, "go rest high on that mountain, your work here on earth is done." Amen.

To commemorate her achievements and celebrate her amazing life, family and friends may gather on Friday (5/6) from 5-8 p.m. at Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes, 409 S. Main St., Vicksburg, MI 49097. Funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday (5/7) at the funeral home, with burial to follow at North Fulton Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to Youth Haven or to Centreville Baptist Church

While visiting Gwen's webpage at please sign the guestbook by lighting a candle, and/or sharing a memory with the family. The Sherman family is being cared for by Avink, McCowen & Secord Funeral Homes Vicksburg Chapel, 409 South Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097, (269) 649-1697.