Funeral services for Garland Darrel Sheridan, 82, longtime Killeen educator, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Southside Church of Christ in Killeen with Keith Cormier officiating. Interment will follow at Killeen City Cemetery.
Mr. Sheridan died Oct. 7, 2013, at his home following a protracted fight with cancer. He was born Feb. 14, 1931, in Broadview, Curry County, N.M., to Walter Sheridan and Josie Pearl Stout Sheridan. His grandfather, Walter Henry Sheridan, was an Irish immigrant who settled in Rankin County, Miss., and fought as a Confederate soldier at the Battle of Shiloh.
Mr. Sheridan graduated from Melrose High School in Melrose, N.M., in May 1948. He graduated in May 1958 from Abilene Christian University with a degree in education. He earned a Master’s in Education Administration from Southwest Texas State College (now Texas State University) in San Marcos.
While he was attending ACU, he worked at Mack Eplen’s Restaurant in Abilene. He met the women he would later marry who both worked as waitresses at the restaurant. Commenting to his friend Carl McDonald that “If I had a car, I would ask June out on a date,” McDonald responded by holding out his car keys. Mr. Sheridan married Virginia “June” McGlothlin at his cousin’s home in Abilene on Friday, Nov. 11, 1955, a union that lasted until her death in September 1988. They had four children, all of whom graduated from Killeen High School in the mid- to late-1970s.
In 1996, Mr. Sheridan attended a class reunion at ACU and met Virginia Thompson McDonald, the widow of Carl McDonald. The McDonalds and Sheridans had been friends while the two men were going to school, and he and the two Virginias had worked at Mack Eplen’s. Garland Sheridan and Virginia McDonald were united in marriage on June 21, 1997, in Abilene.
Mr. Sheridan worked as an educator in Killeen for more than 30 years. He began teaching at the Avenue D Elementary School in Killeen as a sixth-grade science teacher in 1958. He also taught at East Ward Elementary, Rancier Junior High, taught Spanish at Killeen High School from 1964 to 1965, and was an assistant principal at Fairway Junior High School. He was appointed principal of Haynes Elementary School in 1975. On July 1, 1977, he took over as director of Killeen Independent School District Transportation, a position he held until he retired in December 1991.
In 1966, Mr. Sheridan moved his family to Mentone, Loving County, Texas. Loving County has the distinction of being the least populated county in the U.S. Mr. Sheridan served as principal, teacher and bus driver of the tiny elementary school. His daughter, Pamela, recounts that frequently Mr. Sheridan would drive a school bus loaded with the entire student body and parent chaperones on long field trips all over Texas because of oil and gas royalties committed to the district. In an interview with the Lubbock newspaper while in Mentone, Mr. Sheridan described the challenges of teaching in a school with only three teachers and 23 students. He said that he and the other two teachers each had to teach two grades at once.
He was known to colleagues as a man of strong Christian principles, someone who never got flustered and never showed anger. The late Mr. Samuel Beckett once related to Mr. Sheridan’s son-in-law, also a teacher at KHS, a story that spoke volumes about Mr. Sheridan’s dignity and sense of humor. According to Mr. Beckett, Mr. Sheridan had informed an irate parent that her unruly son was to be placed in an alternative school, which at that time was located in Nolanville. The woman unleashed a profane torrent of invective at Mr. Sheridan, ending with the question: “How in the (expletive) am I supposed to get him there?” Mr. Beckett was virtually in tears with laughter as he told how Mr. Sheridan answered the woman’s rhetorical question by calmly giving her driving directions to the alternative school, “Well, you get on U.S. Highway 190 and go east and then turn...”
Mr. Sheridan was generous almost to a fault. According to family members, an inadvertent slip of the tongue regarding the need for an appliance or other necessity would often result in a delivery truck backing up to one’s home with that item and any attempt at repayment was always refused.
A skilled carpenter and builder, Mr. Sheridan helped in remodeling projects for colleagues, church members and family, never seeking recompense. A mention of car trouble would result in a nonstop repair session until the vehicle was running again.
Mr. Sheridan was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Fannie Sheridan Anderson, Bertha Sheridan Welch and Alberta Sheridan Dennington, all of New Mexico; brother, Floyd Sheridan of New Mexico and his wife, June Sheridan, of Killeen; and grandson, Russell Woods of Mountain Home, Ark.
Survivors include his wife, Virginia McDonald Sheridan; daughter, Malinda Sheridan Woods and her husband, Philip Woods, of Jonesboro, Ark.; Kenneth G. Sheridan and his wife, Racheal Corbett Sheridan, of Waco; son, Joe C. Sheridan and his wife, Katherine “Karin” Sheridan, of Reva, Va.; daughter, Pamela E. Sheridan Smith and her husband, Phillip P. Smith, of Killeen; nephew, Carrel Dennington, who grew up with him as a brother; stepson, Herschel and Pat McDonald of Livingston; stepdaughter, Melda McDonald Knapp and Evan Knapp of Garland; Clois Versyp and stepdaughter, Jane McDonald Versyp, of Hawley; Todd Hooper and stepdaughter, Carla McDonald Hooper, of Abilene; 25 grandchildren; and 26 great-grandchildren.
Visitation is from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen. Offer condolences at www.crawfordbowersfuneral.com.