Sheryl Lou Watkins Castellaw, 70, initiated advanced programs for inmates as rare female colonel

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Sheryl Lou Watkins Castellaw
Sheryl Lou Watkins Castellaw

Sheryl Lou Watkins Castellaw, of Williamsburg, died unexpectedly June 1, 2015, at the age of 70.

She was born June 15, 1944, and known as “Sherry.” A native of Ithaca, New York, she attended nursing school after high school and worked as an LPN for many years before moving to Virginia in 1979. Sherry began a 31-year career in law enforcement in 1979, serving as a York County Deputy Sheriff corrections officer and jail nurse.

She later became a lieutenant and jail administrator there before moving to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail where she was assistant superintendent and attained the rank of colonel, a rare feat for females. She was well known for initiating advancement programs for inmates and was very much liked and respected by her coworkers and inmates, retiring in 2010.

Sherry was a member of American Legion Denbigh Post #368. She enjoyed bowling, gardening, scrapbooking, crocheting and especially shopping. She loved the beach and was an avid Dallas Cowboys fan but her biggest love was her family.

Sherry was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Richard Watkins.

She is survived by her loving husband of 28 years, Zack Castellaw; daughters, Lisa Canaday and husband David, Lonnie South and husband Floyd and Loreli Pham and husband Peter and their father, Raymond Leonard; daughter, Debra Deane and husband Bill; a son, Gary Castellaw and wife, Lori; grandchildren, Jennifer, Laura, Briana, Brittany, William, Bryson, Katie, Karly, Mike, Conner, Taylor, Kendall, Kyle and Hadyn; siblings, Richard Watkins Sr. and wife Bonnie, Lyman Watkins and wife Darlene, Terrie Watkins and Raymond Watkins and wife Jocelyn; a host of extended family members; and her two pugs, Luke and Bo.

Sherry was taken from us much too soon, but her light will shine on forever through those who had the privilege of knowing her.

A celebration of Sherry’s life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 6, 2015, at Denbigh United Presbyterian Church, Newport News conducted by the Rev. Deborah Dail. A reception will follow at the church. Burial will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Peninsula S.P.C.A., 523 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, VA, 23601 or to Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue, P.O. Box 42331, Henrico, VA, 23242.

The family thanks the ICU Staff at Riverside Regional Medical Center for their special care and support.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Claytor Rollins Funeral Home.

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