Sherrill Janeil Thayer

Sept. 26, 1953 — Sept. 1, 2022

Sherrill Janeil Thayer, age 68, of Mesquite, Nevada, passed away at home on Sept. 1, 2022, in the presence of her husband Robert and dog Oscar. Sherrill was born on Sept. 26, 1953, in Manistee, Michigan, to Arthur and Beatrice Thayer. Sherrill married Robert Ian MacInnis on April 29, 1995, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, after meeting him 21 months earlier at a business dinner.
Sherrill’s best friend (a corporate meeting planner) had hired Robert (a motivational speaker and magician) to entertain at a national conference. The night Sherrill met Robert, sparks flew. He performed most every card trick he knew, Sherrill kissed him goodnight and together they sailed away on a lifelong journey that was always measured by the best of times.
Sherrill’s lifelong passion was nursing. She understood the value of education to expand the quality of patient care, including the opportunities it could provide for nurses and their families. As a teenager, Sherrill helped care for her mother in the final years of her life. She received her RN from Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and moved to New York City in her early 20s where she worked at St. Luke’s Hospital. In the Boston area, Sherrill worked with a surgical practice and eldercare rehabilitation facility prior to living in England for several years where she continued her nursing career.
Upon returning to the U.S., Sherrill attended Simmons University (formerly Simmons College) in Boston, where she received her master of science in nursing (with distinction). In 1995, she began work as a nurse practitioner at the University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics in Madison. Her specialty was otolaryngology focusing on head and neck surgery patients in the School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. After 13 years of service in Madison, Sherrill retired and moved to Nevada with Robert, where they spent most of their time until her passing.
Sherrill served as editor, education chair and two-term president for Wisconsin SOHN (Society of Otorhinolaryngology Head-Neck Nurses). She presented and helped facilitate SOHN’s National ENT (ear, nose & throat) Review Course at conferences across the U.S. Her proudest moment was being chosen by her peers as the winner of the “Helen Grenlie Award” for outstanding contributions to head and neck nursing.
Writing was Sherrill’s other great passion. At Bradford College in Massachusetts, she served as fiction editor of The Bradford Review and graduated as salutatorian of her class with a bachelor’s degree in creative arts and a major in fiction writing. She won the Elizabeth Barrett Award for outstanding achievement in creative writing for her short story, “Empty Houses.” Sherrill also served as editor of two published books: “How to Identify, Master and Conquer Change” by Robert Ian and “Babes with Bullets: Women Having Fun with Guns” by Debbie Ferns.
Sherrill touched many lives. At home, she enjoyed quiet mornings with a cup of tea catching up on world events. Gardening was her outlet for artistic self-expression and a conduit for remaining grounded to the world around her. She traveled back to England in 2005, spending a week with English author and gardener Christopher Lloyd at the Great Dixter House & Gardens.
Sherrill and Robert married later than most and did not have children. They did raise four miniature Australian shepherd dogs; Sherbert, Sunny, Paradise and Oscar, each of which held a very special place in Sherrill’s heart. The most special place in her heart was reserved for her husband Robert.
Unable to travel during the pandemic, they celebrated their 25th anniversary by reaffirming their wedding vows in a private, at-home ceremony. Sherrill’s health began declining several years earlier when she was diagnosed with a rare combination of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Lyme disease. She asked Robert to share her health care journey when he is ready.
Sherrill is survived by her husband Robert Ian MacInnis (Nevada). Siblings Joel Thayer (Michigan); Jan Thayer (Michigan); April Ashton (Michigan); Julee (Steve) Houlton (Tennessee). Brother-in-laws Richard Timmer (Tennessee); Mark MacInnis (Wisconsin); Tom MacInnis (Wisconsin). Sherrill is preceded in death by her sister Linda Timmer; niece Penny Vaughn; father Arthur Thayer; and mother Beatrice Thayer.
A celebration of life is being planned for Sherrill. The live-streamed event will be announced later. Please visit: https://sherrillthayer.com and enter your email address to be notified when a date has been scheduled.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Society of Otorhinolaryngology Head-Neck Nurses at: https://www.sohnnurse.com/ent-nf-foundation.
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