2016 American Mother Lifetime Achievement Award
Sherri Magnusson Zirker was first introduced to American Mothers, Inc.® in 1974 when her mother was named Washington Mother of the Year®. Sherri was selected as the 1975 Washington State Young Mother, and was then selected as a National Young Honor Mother to represent the Young Mothers from the Western United States.
American Mothers has been a big part of her life for forty-one (41) years. She served on state boards in Washington, Arizona, and Utah. She mostly worked with the state Mother of the Year and Young Mothers programs to develop chapters and to maintain connection through the Gold and Silver Chain and Tapestry programs.
She has served on the National Board as Third Vice-President, Area Coordinator for both Area I and Area II, Mother of the Year® Chairman, Young Mother Search Chairman, and Education Chairman. She was a member of the Education Committee for ten years (1988-1997) and wrote over one hundred lessons for the Young Mother Chapter program along with Mildred (Millie) Barthel of Iowa that were printed in each publication of the American Mother Magazine. These were used as material for discussions for young mothers as they met each month in neighborhood groups across the country. These lessons included subjects such as: discipline; emotional health; the power of faith, hope and love; strengthening the family; loving unconditionally; nurturing; self-esteem; service; stress; and values.
Sherri completed an Educational Degree, taught school, presented lectures, and wrote numerous articles for magazines and newspapers, most notably her long running newspaper column “Recipe for a Happy Family.” She authored a chapter in The Joy of Being a Woman as well as coauthored, Learning: A Shared Experience Between Parent and Child with her sister Bette Doxey and Parent and Teen: Teamed for Success with her husband Ronald J. Zirker. Sherri made her publications available to young mothers to assist them in their monthly discussions.
Sherri married Ronald J. Zirker, Ed.D, a School Psychologist. They spent nearly 49 years serving together until his passing in 2009. They are the proud parents of 5 children: Katherine, Carolyn, Connie, David, and Steven. They were joined by 28 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. They also cared for seventeen (17) foster children. In 1971 the Zirker family was recognized as Washington’s “All-American Family of the Year” and took 2nd in the National family talent competition. The family traveled throughout the United States and Mexico with a musical presentation encouraging Family Unity for a Better Community for a Better Tomorrow. Their musical presentations were the highlight of many American Mothers conferences and events.
One of Sherri’s greatest strengths is her ability to talk with people and make them feel special and loved. This trait was appreciated by the state presidents she worked with as Area Coordinator. She has a genuine concern for others. Once Sherri knows you, she becomes your cheerleader and champion. Sherri’s greatest legacy is prayer. She states, “Every night I pray for each of my children and grandchildren and great grandchildren by name.”