"We hold tight to the wonderful memories of Rachel's life well-lived: her bubbling laugh, her bouncing curls, her gentle voice, her understanding heart, her fiesty spirit, and her love of family and friends."




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Rachel with DadRachel Haberkern Sherman was one of the most compassionate, enthusiastic, and loving people to grace this world.  She was born on June 30, 1975 in Elizabeth City, NC, to Dr. Roy C. Haberkern III and Constance Haberkern.  Raised in Durham and Winston-Salem, NC, she attended Durham Academy and Forsyth Country Day School.

Rachel with Deb


Rachel attended Duke University from 1993 to 1997, devoting herself to activities such as Lady Blue women’s a cappella group, Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and club soccer.  She would later credit her time at Duke and her many close friendships as vital in her development into a confident and passionate adult.


Rachel getting MSWSeeking to forge a career in service to society, Rachel earned a Masters of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999, and continued her work with Child Care Services Association in Chapel Hill.  After moving to Washington, DC in 2001, she worked for The Finance Project as a researcher and writer helping community organizations across the country finance and sustain local programs for children and families.

Rachel running

Rachel was a gifted singer, a wonderful friend, and an inexhaustibly kind soul. She ran marathons to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, raised money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, worked at a summer camp for at-risk youth, and was an active volunteer for Planned Parenthood and the Junior League of Charlottesville. And she never failed to seize an opportunity to renovate debilitated homes in the community, spend time with developmentally challenged groups, and tutor in local schools.  Rachel’s commitment to service was truly an inspiration to all.


Rachel Steve Dawkins RugbyIn addition to being a model daughter and granddaughter and a caring sister, Rachel was a loving and devoted wife. Married in the Duke University Chapel on June 21, 2003, “The Shermakerns” made their homes in Washington, DC and Charlottesville, VA, deriving great joy from their lovable and energetic labs, Dawkins and Rugby.

Rachel leaves behind a world that is better for having known her, and loved ones who dearly miss her and who continue to be inspired by Rachel’s kindness, joy, and service.