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Sheridan’s gems were his family, store

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Phyllis DeMond, of Groton, is helped by Chuck Sheridan at Sheridan’s Jewelers in Homer. File photo.

Kerry Sheridan looked up at her father, Chuck Sheridan as he counted back change to a customer in the jewelry store he opened the year she was born, showing her how to do it.

“If they gave you $17.24, you had to give them the penny to make it 25 and three quarters to make a dollar, and say it back to them,” recalls Kerry Sheridan, now grown.

Chuck Sheridan, 74, of Cortland, died Sunday. Some of Kerry Sheridan’s fondest memories of her father involve the store he opened in Cortland in 1974 — which moved to Homer in May of this year — Sheridan’s Jewelers.

Her father would let his young daughter tricycle around the shop where she watched him interact with customers.

“It was a big part of growing up, I didn’t go to daycare, I went to the store,” she said. She learned a lot about the man her father was.

In 1996, when Chuck Sheridan needed his first heart surgery, Kerry Sheridan returned to Cortland from Washington, D.C., to help fill in.

But customers wanted her father.

“They would tell me, ‘He knows what my wife likes, I’ll come back when he’s better,’ “ she said.

His business acumen also sticks with Chuck Sheridan’s son, Matthew Sheridan.

“He definitely had a finger on the pulse of what was going to happen, he was a step and a half ahead of what was going to happen,” Matthew Sheridan said. “And changed according to what was required of him.”

But mostly, Matthew Sheridan remembers the family times, like when his father took him to watch Rocky when he was 8. To this day Rocky holds special significance for him.

Sheridan owned Sheridan’s Fine Jewelry for 34 years in Cortland, before moving to Homer in May. Cortland County Chamber of Commerce Director Bob Haight said Sheridan was the epitome of a merchant.

“He just had a passion for what he did and serving the community and just loved it,” Haight said. “And we love working with local owners because they can make decisions and are passionate about it because they work and live right here with all the rest of us and that was him to a T.”

Despite his heart trouble, Chuck Sheridan was an avid athlete who swam every day and loved kayaking and golfing.

Kerry Sheridan said her father also dearly loved his wife of 49 years, Cheri Sheridan, whom he leaves behind — “They were like soulmates” — and his two grandchildren, Cormac and Dylan Phillippi.

Just last month, Kerry Sheridan said her father was on a basketball court comparing dribbling moves with her son, Cormac, 6.

And when describing her father to people who hadn’t met him, Kerry Sheridan shares a memory of visiting him when he was in his mid-60s, still a strong, athletic person. First he took her golfing, where she learned to drive the ball and got blisters on her hands. Next was kayaking, then a vigorous session of lap swimming at the YMCA.

“I was exhausted,” Kerry Sheridan said. “I told him, ‘Vacationing with you is like being part of the Ironman competition.’“

Calling hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Wright-Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave., Cortland. A funeral will be private and at the convenience of the family.

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