In Memoriam: Shannon Sexton

Faculty member remembered for infectious smile, enthusiasm for teaching

| Author: Ari Harris | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

Shannon Sexton, faculty member in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Central Michigan University, passed away Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. She was 47.

A caucasian woman with long black hair smiles at the camera.

Sexton earned two degrees from CMU: a bachelor’s degree in child development in 1997 and a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies in 2006. She worked with the EightCAP, Inc. Head Start program for more than a decade before joining the faculty at CMU in 2008.

“Shannon had a gift for connecting with students, sharing her work and life experiences and enthusiasm for learning with a welcoming smile,” said Jeff Angera, chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. “She had the ability to create an engaging class milieu even in larger lecture classes.”

Her faculty colleagues remember her as exceptionally friendly, upbeat and welcoming, especially for individuals new to the department.

“Learning the university culture as a new faculty member sometimes requires a little bit of time,” said Michelle Lee, a faculty member in the human development and family studies department. “However, Shannon helped to make my experience my first week at CMU infinitely better. Her infectious smile, good heart and joyful spirit always added to my day.”

Sexton loved teaching and could always be counted on to take on additional responsibilities to help out the team, Angera said, including taking on overload classes.

“Shannon never hesitated to help when we needed an instructor,” human development and family studies colleague Joellen Lewasder said. “And, when she was not talking about classes, she would share her joy and pride in her daughter, Katie.”

Outside her work at CMU, Sexton immensely enjoyed her role as a mother, and loved cheering on her daughter, Katie, at softball games.

Sexton is survived by her husband, John, and daughter Katie, as well as by her parents, Jim and Catherine Gouge; her brother, Jim Gouge, and sister-in-law, Michelle Brznek-Gouge; three nieces and several aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

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