Morristown mourns death of Pastor Alfonso Sherald

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The Rev. Alfonso Sherald, pastor of the Bethel AME Church in Morristown and president of the Morris County NAACP, went to the gym every morning and appeared to be a healthy 60-year-old man.

When he did not show up for services on Sunday morning, someone went to find him. He was discovered lying in bed, the TV remote by his side. Apparently, he had died overnight, said his friend, the Rev. Leon Sims of Morristown’s Union Baptist Church.

rev alfonso sherald
The late Rev. Alfonso Sherald. Photo courtesy of Morristown High School

The news has stunned and saddened people around Morristown who regarded Pastor Sherald as a friendly, tireless advocate for youths.

“He had a special place in his heart for kids,” said Leon Sims, who is a pastor. He remembered Alfonso Sherald as “a genuine gentleman,” and a down-to-earth substitute teacher who connected with students at Morristown High School because he respected them.

Nikiyah Foster, 17, received the news in a text message during a church service Sunday.

“I was in shock,” she said.

High school students liked the Pastor’s jovial nature, Nikiyah said. She never will forget bumping into him at a diner.

“He told my family I was a bad kid,” she said. “He was kidding.”

“The community has suffered a great loss,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. “He had great energy. He asked me to get more involved at the high school. He said you have to be more visible with youth.”

At a recent community event called Kids on Top, Pastor Sherald spoke with the Mayor about a possible program to encourage area businesses to hire students home from college for the summer.

The pastor followed up with a voice message for the Mayor last Friday. The Mayor had planned to return the call after the Labor Day weekend.

“It still bothers me,” he said about missing the Pastor’s last call.

Dorothy Holman met Pastor Sherald three years ago, but felt like she had known him all her life.

“He was very friendly, very outgoing. Kids loved him. Pastor Sherald was one of a kind,” Dorothy said.

At Morristown High School, where Pastor Sherald was a substitute teacher for the last few years, administrators remembered a giving person who helped kids without seeking the spotlight.

“He had a way of reaching across cultures, across age groups, to reach kids. They knew that he cared,” said Vice Principal Michael Bruchac.  “We’re going to really miss him. He had a significant impact on a lot of kids’ lives.”

Alfonso Sherald was pastor at the Bethel AME Church for six years, said the Rev. Sims.  The Pastor is survived by his father, Jay T. Muldrow; sisters Geraldine Sherald and Denise Muldrow; and by his brother, Jeffrey Muldrow.

A funeral service is scheduled for 11 am Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church, on Martin Luther King Avenue in Morristown. Burial will follow at Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens, NY, according to the Rowe Lanterman Home for Funerals.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Today I learned of Alfonso’s passing from a collegue. I attended graduate school in Madison, WI with Alfonso. We met August 1974, and he was outgoing, considerate, and always knew exactly what to say in different circumstances. Even though we lost touch after he graduated, Alfonso has the type of personality that one will not forget. My condolences to his family, as I know he left a void as well as many special memories.

    Fondly,
    Lucia Mitchell, Classmate
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Urban & Regional Planning School

  2. When I first visited AME church in Morristown, I was welcomed by Pastor and felt immediately at home, with no intention to go elsewhere. He was very dear to my husband and I and our regret is that he never made it to our house for dinner as he planned. We are blessed to be a part of his life and hope that we will meet one day soon.

    Our condolences to his family

  3. Have Lost a Dear Friend: Rev. Alfonso Sherald

    Many are aware that he pastored in Bermuda for about 14 years. We had several mutual friends there. We always had fun when I visited Bermuda and when he came to the states. I wrote litanies for his special church services– he loved a grand event!

    Although he had an exterior gruff personality, he was one of the kindest, most caring persons I have ever met. He had a passion for education and for providing safe and protective environments for children. And he was always, busy, busy busy…

    In more recent years, he was assigned to Chester, PA then to New Jersey. For the past several years, I have been really bad about keeping in regular contact with my friends. However, I did just receive a message from Alfonso. (Like the mayor, I waited too long to creturn his call.) I do know was looking forward to participating on a church delegation to South Africa in October. And I know that he loved life.

    May he rest in peace.

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