The Sherry family

Items were taken from stories and columns in the Syracuse Herald-Journal and its Sunday edition, the Herald-American.

Syracuse Herald-Journal, October 19, 1942
Alden Sherry, president of the Morris Plan Bank in Syracuse, is a major in the Army air forces. His son, Bradford Sherry, is a corporal in a tank destroyer division of the artillery.

Sometime recently, somewhere in England, father and son met. After the required formal salute, it is assumed that the reunion was as enjoyable as surprising. But neither father nor son could have been more surprised than was Mrs. Alden Sherry, doing her war bit in a defense plant here, when she opened an envelope last week and beheld the faces of her husband and son together.

Major Sherry is a veteran flier of World War I, having served with distinction with the fame Eddie Rickenbacker and having a number of German planes to his credit. He was called from his desk at the Morris Plan Bank several months ago and asked to accept a commission as major in the air forces. He readily complied and reported for duty at Washington where, for a time, he served as liaison officer between the air forces and the White House. He had a number of personal contacts with President Roosevelt during that period. Later he was sent to Europe, where he is on active duty, though not as a combat pilot.

Bradford Sherry went into Federal service from Battery A of the National Guard and was in training with a tank destroyer unit in the South until sent abroad. Where the two are in England, Mrs. Sherry does not know.

Mrs. Sherry, not to be outdone by the male members of her family, entered Vocational High School several months ago and took a course in machine operation. Upon graduation she was offered a position at the Engelberg Huller Company plant in West Fayette Street doing defense work on a machine.


Syracuse Herald-American, June 27, 1943
WASHINGTON — Major Alden B. Sherry, Syracuse banker, now representing the War Department, is with Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker in Moscow.

Sherry served with Rickenbacker in France during World War 1, at which time he was a young man just out of Cornell University. Enroute to Moscow the Rickenbacker party, on a mission representing Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, tarried for a short spell in North Africa, where Major Sherry had the great pleasure, it is said, of seeing his son, who is a non-commissioned officer in a tank destroying unit of the United States Army.

This much is known and privileged for publication by the overseas censorship, which released also the information that “Rick” and his old buddy, Sherry, were accompanied by Rick’s personal physician, Dr. Alexander Dahl, and a second representative from the War Department, Col. William Nickols. The plane was piloted by Capt. W. F. Richmond. The crew included the co-pilot, Lieut. H. H. Cargie and Navigator W. B. Hicks.

One thing certain is that the life raft on the Rickenbacker plane which was not used did carry a supply of provisions.

When Maj. Sherry came down to Washington at the opening of World War No. 2 he was stationed at the White House as liaison officer representing the Army Air Forces and keeping the war data available for President Roosevelt in the special room reserved for that purpose. Later the major was transferred for duty in London, England. his tact and pleasing personality made him a perfect selection for contact with world celebrities and his own experiences as an aviator gave him authority to discuss intelligently problems of the air which rule the present global conflict.

The Sherry family has been very much in the war as Mrs. Sherry, daughter of John Wilkinson, inventor of the Franklin air-cooled motor, worked for some time in an Onondaga County war plant. The Sherrys have two sons and two daughters.

It can be further stated that Major Sherry and his chief, “Rick,” did some observing in Tunis, where their party arrived in time to witness first hand the closing events of the North African campaign. they also conferred with military and air force leaders at the Allie headquarters in North African and visited various front line airports.

The Rickenbacker party has been in Moscow now for a week, having arrived their last Sunday in a four-engined Liberator. their presence was not revealed until after United States Ambassador William H. Stanley presented 60 American awards to Russian soldiers and sailors.

Rickenbacker and his party were at the Kremlin presentation ceremony. It is noteworthy that the Rickenbacker party is in Russia when the Soviets have been employing strategic bombing on the pattern employed by the Americans and the British on the western front. The understanding is that Rickenbacker is out to complete the observation mission he started on a year ago and which was cut short by his plane crash into the Pacific.*

That Rickenbacker made the trip to Moscow was a miracle. Correction: it required two miracles. In February, 1941, Rickenbacker was a passenger on an Eastern Airlines plane that crashed near Atlanta, Georgia. He was severely injured, but led some fellow passengers from the crash to safety. When he was taken to a hospital Rickenbacker was not expected to live. His injuries were too numerous to list here, but he defied the odds and after several months recovered.

In October 1942 he set out on his tour of military bases. After visiting Hawaii he flew across the Pacific, a passenger on a B-17 Flying Fortress that strayed far off course and was forced to ditch in the ocean. For 24 days he and the crew of the plane were adrift in rafts, most of that time without food. One crewman died and was buried at sea before the raft was spotted. After his rescue Rickenbacker wasted little time in resuming his tour.

In January, 1945, Alden B. Sherry of 706 North Orchard Road, Solvay, was appointed chairman of that year's fund-raising drive for American Red Cross. He was a logical choice because he had first-hand knowledge of the needs of United States servicemen who were the top priority of the Red Cross during the war. Sherry also knew how those needs were being met and how much servicemen benefited.

Alden B. Sherry was a veteran of both world wars. He had served with the First Fighter Group in World War 1 as a pilot under the command of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker.

Sherry, then a major, was recalled to active service in February, 1942, and reported to Washington, D.C., where he served for three months. After transferring to England for service with the Royal Air Force, he was assigned to the staff of the Eighth Fighter Command, serving under Maj. Gen. Frank Hunter.

When that group was sent to Africa to take part in the African campaign, he acted as group intelligence officer. It was while Major Sherry was stationed in Africa that he was reunited with Rickenbacker who had convinced President Roosevelt that it was a good idea for the World War 1 flying ace to tour air bases in several war theaters, including Russia. Rickenbacker asked Major Sherry to accompany him.

When Sherry was placed on the inactive list again and given the assignment with the Red Cross, he said his tour with Rickenbacker had taught him a lot about the way soldiers benefit from the work of the Red Cross.

“My duties have taken me to Africa, China, Iran, Egypt and India, and at every camp, airfield or outpost where our boys were stationed, there were always Red Cross representatives present to see that the soldiers enjoyed some of the comforts they experienced at home. I have talked to boys held prisoner by the Nazis until Romania was liberated by the allied Armies, and they told Red Cross food packages sent to the American war prisoners are of great value.

“Also doing a fine job in the field are the clubmobile workers who go close to the front lines to serve the boys doughnuts and coffee. If the folks back home knew how this little act was appreciated, I am sure they would be only too glad to go without any daily necessity so that the boys on the front lines would not be deprived."

Alden B. Sherry was prominent in civic and fraternal organizations in Syracuse and was president of the Morris Plan Bank of Syracuse at the time of his recall into the armed services.

He had two sons serving in the armed forces, Pvt. John Sherry, stationed at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, and Sgt. Bradford Sherry, serving overseas for 30 months, two years of which have been under Gen. Patton’s command in North Africa, France and Germany. Most of the information in this article was taken from one in the Syracuse Herald-Journal on January 7, 1945. Twelve days after it was published Bradford Sherry was taken prisoner by the Germans and confined to Stalag 13c in Bavaria. He was liberated four months later.

Alden B. Sherry's older daughter, Sylvia Sherry, spent the early 1940s in New York City, employed by the Office of War Information. Alden Sherry's wife, the former Anne Wilkinson, worked in a Syracuse factory inspecting trigger assemblies for rifles. That left one family member, younger daughter, Anne, who was only 14 when the war came to an end.

Post-Standard, Thursday, June 11, 1964
Alden B. Sherry, 70, of 706 N. Orchard Road, Solvay, a veteran of World Wars I and II and a retired businessman, died at his home yesterday after a long illness.

Born in Troy, he attended Cornell University. Upon graduation, he came to Syracuse, where he married Miss Anne Wilkinson.

Mr. Sherry served with the American Field Service in Europe prior to the entrance of the United States into World War I. Later, he joined the American Air Force as a pilot. He also was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force in World War II. After the war was over, he headed the Red Cross in Syracuse in 1945.

His business activities included the presidency of the former Morris Plan Bank and an association with Dillon Read, security investment firm.

Mr. Sherry was a Democrat and active in politics. Several times he was a candidate for various offices. He was a member of the Syracuse Liederkranz Club and the Century Club.

Surviving are his wife; two sons, Bradford W. Sherry of N. Orchard Road and John Sherry, attached to the American embassy in Cambodia; two daughters, Mrs. Seymour Kahan of Park Forest, Ill., and Mrs. James O'Hara of Camillus; a brother, Ralph Sherry of Torrance, Calif.; and 12 grandchildren.

Anne Wilkinson Sherry, 97, died on May 27, 1997, in Bethesda, Maryland.

She was born in Syracuse in 1899, daughter of Edith and John Wilkinson. Mr. Wilkinson was longtime chief engineer of the Franklin Auto Company and inventor of the Franklin air-cooled engine. She attended Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut and Vassar College.

She married Alden B. Sherry and they lived in Solvay from 1927 to 1996, maintaining a summer home in Skaneateles.

Surviving were two daughters, Sylvia Kahan of Ann Harbor, Mich., and Anne O'Hara of Colorado; a son, John, of Chevy Chase, Md.; 12 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Sherry are buried at Lakeview Cemetery, Skaneateles.


Syracuse Herald-Journal, June 12, 1942
Maintaining an average of 95.7 percent during his four-year course, John Sherry has been named valedictorian of the June graduating class at Solvay High School.

Sherry has been awarded a scholarship to Yale University. He served as president of the junior class, is treasurer of the Hi-Y Club, and is a member of the National Honor Society, Dramatic Club and French Club.

Miss Elena Petosa, secretary of the senior class, has been named salutatorian, with an average of 94.5 percent. She also is a member of the National Honor Society and has received a scholarship to Central City Business Institute.

Graduation exercises will be held in the high school auditorium Saturday, June 20.


Washington Post, February 21, 2009
John Sherry, 83, a career intelligence officer with the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] who worked for the agency mostly in Asia from 1947 until his retirement in 1983, died February 17, 2009, at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He had Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Sherry was born in Syracuse, New York, and served in the Army during World War II. He studied Vietnamese in California before he was sent to the Philippines. After the war ended, he served in occupied Japan. He was a 1947 graduate of Yale University, where he learned Mandarin Chinese.

After college, he joined the new CIA and was deployed to what is now
Guangzhou, China, and later Hong Kong, where he picked up Cantonese. He eventually added the Japanese language during his two postings in that country.

Mr. Sherry served in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in the mid-1960s, and moved his family to Bangkok, Thailand, as the war in Southeast Asia escalated. In 1969, he was posted to Paris, France, for the peace talks about the Vietnam War, and spent the rest of his career focusing on Europe, including three years in Geneva, Switzerland.

Since the late 1940s, Mr. Sherry had a home in the Washington DC area, and settled here in retirement. He enjoyed sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, and converted a barn in Lewes, Delaware, into a vacation home.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Joan Paulus Sherry of Chevy Chase; two children, Anne-Marie Atkinson of Chevy Chase and Andrew Sherry of Washington DC; and five grandchildren.

There was another Sherry involved in the war — Lieut. Harmon B. Sherry, nephew of Alden Sherry and son of Ralph Sherry of Torrance, California.

Syracuse Herald-Journal, September 3, 1945
Lieut. Harmon Sherry, a former summer resident here while a student at Annapolis, is reported to be liberated from a Japanese prison camp after three years’ imprisonment.

An officer on a submarine operating in the Pacific, Lieut. Sherry identified himself by Morse code message off the coast of Japan a few days ago. It was picked up by a mine sweeper.

He is a nephew of Alden Sherry of Orchard Road, Solvay. He ended his message with, “Sure is a thrill to talk to free Americans again.”

Harmon Bradford Sherry, who retired from the Navy in 1959 a a rear admiral, died in 1983 at the age of 66. After the war he was a naval representative with the Hudson Laboratories in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

For more on Solvay way back when, check out
the Solvay-Geddes Historical Society