After a long and courageous battle with chronic lung disease, Sherrell was finally given eternal rest by our Heavenly Father, on Friday, June 28, 2019, at 9:22 p.m. at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore, Maryland where she was awaiting a donor for a double lung transplant. She was surrounded by her devoted family.
A Love for Life and Passion of Purpose
Sherrell Carswell Purnell was a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and niece but most importantly a resilient child of God who now rests with the Lord in our Heavenly Home. Her smile was contagious, her spirit was endearing, and her tenacity was commendable. Sherrell was hospitalized on May 5, 2019, and was placed on the lung transplant list. Prior to developing sustained respiratory distress due to extended exposure to hazardous airborne materials, Sherrell was devoted to her favorite passions - caring for her household of five (including her beloved dog Kane) and co-managing her family's sports team, the 210 Vikings Boys and Girls Football and Cheer Club, to support and enrich the lives of youth in Southern Prince George' s County. Her schedule was demand i ng, but her peaceful demeanor never allowed for even the slightest indication of stress or overextension. She loved her life and was determined to carry it out the way God intended.
Early Blessings and Progression of Faith
Sherrell was born in Richmond, Virginia to Anne Reese Carswell, and the late Willie Franklin Carswell, her parents relocated to Maryland when she was one and a half years old.
At an early age, Sherrell responded to God's call on her heart and accepted Jesus Christ at the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Rockville, Maryland. She later joined Galilee Baptist Church in Suit and, Maryland and often worshiped with the Inspirational Worship Service of the Black Ministries Program at the University of Maryland College Park. Along with her husband, she nurtured her sons as a faithful mother and instilled within them a love for Christ and helping others. Sherrell was a member of Kiwanis International of the Greater Landover Chapter, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Recording Secretary of The National Movement for Civil and Human Rights. Sherrell believed education was key and attended the University of Maryland and Prince George's Community College. While employed at the University of Maryland College Park, she supported the campus community by participating in several programs, including Maryland Day, the Black Faculty and Staff Association programs and events hosted by the Nyumburu Cultural Center. Sherrell and her sister, Michelle often referred to themselves as the "Original Nyumburu Kids" since their mother worked for the Center and they spent days and nights of their childhood attending many of the Center's programs and events. Sherrell enjoyed arts and crafts, cooking and collecting recipes. She especially loved her dog Kane and was excited to have recently become an original sponsor and sales distributor for NeVetica, a nutrition-based pet health food company.
While attending High Point High School in Beltsville, Maryland, Sherrell met the sweet love of her life, her husband, Herbert "Casper" David Lee Purnell, Jr. On July 9, 1988, they united in holy matrimony at The Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Rockville, Mary land. To this covenant partnership, she and Herbert were blessed with three sons, Brandon, Brian and Breon. Sherrell had an unwavering dedication to her family and filled them with love, _ joy and a strong sense of family values. Being together as a family was a priority for Sherrell and Herbert.
Pressing Through with Strength and Courage
On January 2, 2017, Sherrell retired on disability from her position as an Event Coordinator in the Command Center of the Facilities Management Division at the University of Maryland College Park.
The anxiety associated with the anticipation of a double lung transplant was a challenge. Sherrell routinely endured medical examinations, probes, CT Scans and MRIs. The overall discomfort of being confined to a hospital bed and a breathing machine often saddened her devoted family who saw her suffering, but Sherrell maintained a strong hope and trust in the Lord. She never complained and never gave up. If she had to pause from any activity, she would respectfully tell or text others (pre programmed on her cellular phone) to give her a few minutes and would say, ''I'm catching my breath." Sherrell was a soldier fighting for her complete health and healing and with every breath she_ told the doctors, " I just want my life back." She regularly encouraged her family members around her to have faith in God and pray. To stay encouraged, she kept "It Ain't Over," the popular gospel song by national recording artist and a graduate of UMD, Maurette Brown Clark, on replay. It not only filled her soul but Sherrell viewed it as an opportunity to share the Good News of God's saving grace and power with others.
A Beautiful Life and Legacy that Lives On
Sherrell's family continues to reside in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Her endearing husband, Herbert, of thirty-two years, whom she affectionately called "Casper" loved her with a love that was more than love. They enjoyed parenting their three sons together who were always obedient and highly respectful to their mother. Her first grandchild, Marlee Alexander Purnell was born on June 20, 2019, and she was looking forward to being the best grandmother ever and buying him infant Redskins clothing, as she was a "fan-actic" of the Washington Redskins football team. Due to her hospital confinement, Sherrell never met Marlee in person but was captivated by many pictures and videos of him on mobile phones and blew so many kisses toward him, we are certain it filled his sweet little heart. Sherrell was forever expressing gratitude, admiration, and warmhearted love for all that her mother taught and extended to her. She adored her only sibling, her younger sister, Michelle Carswell Bailey. They were more than sisters, they were best friends and talked every day. They shared several special moments together conversing and laughing. Sherrell leaves to cherish her loving memory a devoted husband, Herbert; loving sons, Brandon, Brian (Patrice) and Breon; grandson, Marlee Alexander Purnell; mother, Anne Reese Carswell; sister, Michelle Carswell Bailey (Paul); uncles, Deacon Alexander Reese, Jr. and Deacon Johnny Reese (Wylene) both of Sparta, Georgia, Rev. Lonnie Reese of Hyattsville, Maryland, and Mr. James Reese of Washington, D.C.; aunts, Ms. Mattie Reese Williams of Pelham, New York and Rev. Dr. Ruby Reese Moone of Rockville, Maryland; mother-in-law, Mrs. Geraldine Dale; father-in law, Mr. Herbert David Lee Purnell, Sr. (Pammy); sisters in-law, Tamara Powell (Charles) and Angel Thomas (Chris); brother-in laws, Anthony Purnell (Barbara) and Jomo O'bas; and a host of cousins, nieces and other close relatives and friends.
The family shall forever be grateful for all who covered Sherrell with prayers - friends, ministers and chaplains who visited her at home and in the hospital. They gave Sherrell so much strength and hope. The family desires your continued prayers as they are aware that the future will be challenging without her. She was sweet and "SPECIAL" as this significant loss causes many physical,
emotional, and devastating pains, there is insurmountable grief but we take great comfort in knowing that there is hope in Our Lord, Jesus Christ. We are fully confident that Sherrell now rests peacefully with God and wants us all to be happy.