SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Winchester Elementary School students and faculty members are mourning the loss of one of their favorite volunteer workers. Sherlain Rowe, 69, was in the school’s “grandma” program.
The community was shocked when police found her murdered in her Millbranch home this week.
“She was a shining light," said Aneesa Burford, a kindergarten teacher at Winchester Elementary. "She would come and then, ‘There’s Grandma Rowe!’”
Grandma Rowe, or Sherlain Rowe, was one of the women who’d come and help out in the kindergarten classes.
“They loved her," said Anne McVay, another "grandma" in the program. "Whenever she would walk into the classroom, it would brighten up their day.”
They said she was one of the first to join the program two years ago and, most recently, would be seen walking the halls three days a week.
But on Wednesday, the 69-year-old was found murdered in her Millbranch home.
“I couldn’t believe it," said Maxine Nolan, also in the program. "I say, ‘Well, maybe they got something mixed up.’”
Police said Rowe was assaulted and left for dead, leaving her Winchester family devastated.
“She was a fantastic person," said Ruth Wagner, who's in the program. "I never heard her say, ‘No,’ to anyone.”
They said she was known for bringing everyone little surprise presents and cards.
Nolan had just gotten one of those cards last week. She said she's been carrying it in her pocket ever since with the hopes of being able to thank Grandma Rowe. Now, it’ll serve as a memory.
“She gave me this card that says, ‘Let your light shine,’" said Nolan. "I’m going to see her light all the time and that smile she had.”
Rowe’s friends said she was looking forward to her 70th birthday this summer and her brother’s anniversary at the church where he’s a pastor.
We reached out to Memphis police to get an update in Rowe’s homicide case, but they have not yet responded.