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Friends, family, community remember Elizabeth Sherfey as a bright light

By Daniel Dunkle | Feb 21, 2021
Courtesy of: Christy Monroe Elizabeth Sherfey, left, and her mother Christy Monroe.

Hope — Elizabeth Sherfey, originally of Hope, had friends all over the world.

She met them while spending a semester at sea in high school, traveling Europe after graduating from Camden Hills and volunteering in Haiti.

She also met them right here in the Midcoast where she was a high school swimmer, part of the theater crew, and recently seen as a welcoming face at Rock City Cafe in Rockland.

Sherfey, 26, died Feb. 17 in car crash on Route 17 in Rockport, leaving behind a community in mourning.

Rock City Cafe closed for the weekend following the crash as the staff dealt with the loss of their friend and co-worker.

A family friend noted that Sherfey, “Eli” to her friends, was seen as a bright light. People who came to the cafe could see her smile even in a time when everyone is wearing masks. She could smile with her blue eyes.

Sherfey was a 2013 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School. She was the daughter of Christy Monroe of Rockland and Robert Sherfey Jr. of California. Growing up in Hope, she also spent a lot of time on the farm belonging to her grandparents, Fred and Jean Monroe.

Sherfey played basketball for Hope Elementary School. As a youngster she was also on the YMCA Sailfish swim team.

She would continue to swim competitively throughout her high school career.

Classmate and fellow swimmer Lianne McCluskey said Sherfey was wonderfully artistic. “She made me an incredible poster for the high school state swim meet my senior year and I kept it for a long time afterwards because it was so nice of her and so cool!”

Sherfey put her artistic skills to work as a theater tech for the successful Camden Hills plays. Camden Hills Auditorium Manager/Technical Coordinator Rick Ash remembers that she worked on hair and makeup for the theater in addition to set design and painting.

“She contributed a lot to the theater department,” Ash said. “She was talented, dedicated and hard-working; a fun great kid.”

She was on the honor roll during her high school career and her mother noted she was very successful academically.

One summer she worked aboard the windjammer Angelique and realized she loved sailing. She joined Rockland Community Sailing’s high school sailing team in the fall, according to a 2011 posting on VillageSoup. Sherfey became one of only 25 students nationwide accepted into Ocean Classroom’s challenging 17-week high school semester at sea program aboard the 128-foot schooner Harvey Gamage.

To raise the tuition funds she organized a Support-a-Sailor Polar Dip fundraiser in January 2012.

She worked with the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, built a skiff and later worked on other vessels including Victory Chimes.

After high school, she traveled in Ireland and the Netherlands. She also volunteered for four months in Haiti doing forest restoration.

Sherfey studied at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. More recently she was finishing up a degree in biology at the University of Maine at Augusta. She was studying local birds and how climate change affects them.

She helped RSU 13 with after school programs.

In her spare time, she explored handcrafted jewelry, writing, painting and drawing. In her working life in the Rockland area, she was a big supporter of local businesses including downtown stores, cafes and bookshops.

“She was a very unique person, a wonderfully different human being,” her mother said.

In the wake of her loss, the family has received an overwhelming outpouring from Sherfey’s friends all over the world and here at home and some who just met her while she was serving them at the coffee shop. The family plans to hold a Zoom “bon voyage” celebration to safely share Elizabeth's life.

An accomplished sailor, Elizabeth Sherfey is seen on the mast in the Caribbean. (Courtesy of: Christy Monroe)
Elizabeth Sherfey is seen with her life-long best friend Emily Smith on a hike. (Courtesy of: Christy Monroe)
Elizabeth Sherfey takes a fun photo as part of her work with Community Sailing. (Courtesy of: Christy Monroe)
Playing guitar in Trinidad. (Courtesy of: Christy Monroe)
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Comments (4)
Posted by: Jack S Copp | Feb 22, 2021 08:05

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elisabeth and her family for their loss and the loss to us all of a true flower of Rockland.     " That to attempt to communicate about such a loss would bankrupt the languages of the world", [Samuel Clemens]

Posted by: Seth Jones | Feb 21, 2021 21:03

Elizabeth was such a friendly and shining presence at Rock City. She will be greatly missed. Our condolences to the family and to all her friends and the staff at Rock City. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your time here with us!

Posted by: Carol Hathorne | Feb 21, 2021 18:48

What a terrible loss! Elizabeth was a wonderful person, and a student I will always remember.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Feb 21, 2021 12:48

My condolences to Elizabeth's family. I wasn't acquainted with her but I know that pain of sudden loss. We go on because we have to knowing it will never be the same. I am so sorry that this happened. May God bless you all.

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