Sherri Lana Magnusson Zirker passed away at the age of 83, surrounded by love at Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah on Thursday, January 19, 2023.
Sherri was born on August 28, 1939, in Mesa, Arizona to Robert Cleo Magnussen and Lora Wilkins Magnussen Potts. She was the second of five children, Her older brother Melvin Magnusson, deceased, and her sisters Faye Faucett and Bette Doxey, and her brother Robert James Magnussen. She was a cheerleader in Anchorage Alaska and at Mesa Highschool graduating in 1957. She started her college education at Brigham Young University, where she was a member of program bureau ballroom performers, was nominated by her fellow students as “Belle of the Y” and met her Prince in Shining armor, Ronald John Zirker. They were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on March 17, 1960.
Together they pursued his education to complete his Doctorate in Education and became the grateful parents of five children: Katherine Zirker Allen, Carolyn Zirker Cheney, Connie Zirker Curran-Rollins, David John Zirker, and Steven Robert Zirker, whom they raised in Warden, Washington and Mesa, Arizona. They were joined by 32 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, and cared for 17 foster children. She acknowledged her children as both her “teachers and students simultaneously in the for-real lab of parenthood.”
Sherri had a deep love for education and an insatiable desire to learn. Through the years Sherri taught Montessori Preschool, studied Journalism at Arizona State University, completed her bachelor’s degree in Family Sciences and obtained her Teacher Certificate from University of Phoenix.
Sherri holds many achievements in educating families across the nation, but her life-time passion was vested in American Mothers Incorporated, a historic non-profit organization honoring the positive impact of mothers. In 1975, she was selected as the National Young Honor Mother to represent the Young Mothers for the Western United States. She served on the American Mothers board in the state of Washington, Arizona, and Utah, dedicating 41 years of service to the Young Mothers, Gold, Silver Chain, and Tapestry programs. She held the titles of Third Vice-President, Area Coordinator, Mother of Year Chairman, Young Mother Search Chairman, and Education Chairman. She received a variety of awards for outstanding service and contribution and in 2016, she was presented with the American Mothers Lifetime Achievement award. Those who worked with her noted that one of Sherri’s greatest strengths is her genuine concern for others and her ability to talk with people and make them feel special and loved. Her colleagues say “Once Sherri knows you, she becomes your cheerleader and champion.”
As a gifted writer and educator, she relished opportunities to participate as a guest speaker for EFY, youth conferences, adult education symposiums, and BYU Education Week. She chaired a variety of community conferences and programs for mothers and families including the PTA, Ecumenical Council, Homeless Shelter Committee, Arizona Genealogical Association, Anti-Porn Education Committee and Literacy for Children.
Her newspaper articles appeared in the Moses Lake Tribune, Mesa Tribune, Latter -Day Sentinel, and Warden Register. Sherri wrote over one hundred lessons for the Young Mother Chapter program in the American Mother Magazine, bringing together neighborhood group discussions for young mothers across the country. Her published works include, “Learning: A Shared Experience Between Parent and Child,” a chapter in “The Joy of Being a Woman,” the column “Recipe for a Happy Family” in The Mesa Tribune, and co-wrote with her husband, “Parent and Teen: Teamed for Success” and numerous articles for magazines, including the Ensign for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She advocated for strong values amongst female authors and is one of the founding members of the ongoing American Night Writers Association.
Sherri had a deep love for music and was gifted in both violin and piano. She encouraged her children to share in their own musical talents. Through her efforts their family was named “All American Family of the Year” for the state of Washington and placed 2nd in the National Family Talent Competition in 1971. For over a decade she directed performances of their family themed show, “Family Unity – For a Better Community – For a Better Tomorrow” for community groups and events throughout the United States and Mexico.
Of all Sherri’s gifts and talents, her greatest strength was her Faith in Jesus Christ and her greatest legacy is prayer. She stated, “Every night I pray for each of my children and each of my grandchildren and each of my great grandchildren by name.” She participated actively in church callings throughout her life, serving as a released time Seminary Teacher, CES Institute teacher, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, Temple Worker, Stake and Ward Young Women’s President, Stake bi-monthly mothering class, Stake and ward Relief Society Presidency and Stake and Ward Primary callings including music and cub scouts. In her later life, she served a full-time mission with her husband in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania..
Of all Sherri’s loves, her deepest was for her adoring and handsome husband, Ron. After his passing in 2009, she continually reminded everyone, friends and strangers alike, “My husband is in Heaven, I know where he is and what he is doing, He is teaching the gospel and making a place for me.” Sherri finished her life quietly, patiently, without guile, sweetly, gently, without complaint. Sherri and Ron are now reunited and are following the advice she passed on throughout the years, going, “Onward and upward” together.
A viewing will be held on Friday, February 3, 2023 from 6 to 8 at Lake Hills Mortuary 10055 South State, Sandy Utah. Her Graduation Celebration will be February 4th at 5424 Rosecrest Road, Herriman , Utah. Final viewing at 9:30, Funeral Service at 11:00.Service Information
Viewing February 3, 2023 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Memorial Lake Hills Mortuary
Viewing February 4, 2023 at 9:30-10:30 AM
Church of Jesus Christ -5424 Rosecrest Road, Herriman, UT
Celebration of Life
February 4, 2023 at 11:00 AM
Church of Jesus Christ -5424 Rosecrest Road, Herriman, UT