For Paul E. Sherry, longtime Towson Recreation Council coach, the gym and playing fields at Dumbarton Middle School in Rodgers Forge were like a second home.
The Pinehurst resident coached and urged his young charges to score another goal, or patiently explained to them the techniques of soccer, lacrosse, baseball and basketball.
Mr. Sherry, a stockbroker and investment counselor with Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown Inc. since 1993, died Saturday of cancer at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. He was 47.
"Mr. Sherry's dedication and service to the recreation council and community served a volume of youth in Towson," said Stephanie M. Murphy, recreation community supervisor for the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.
"He was here morning, noon and night and just didn't show up to coach his team and leave. He touched the hearts and souls of many young people in his work with the TRC," she said.
Mr. Sherry had been coaching for the TRC since 1987.
"He started in the program coaching his own kids," his wife of 24 years, the former Janet Rue, said yesterday.
"Paul loved kids and loved working with them. He always thought that sports taught lessons that were valuable in life -- mainly that it was OK to be competitive yet it was more important to learn how to get along with others," Mrs. Sherry said.
"He had a certain way with kids," said John R. Bashaar, coach and former TRC commissioner.
"He gave them nicknames, such as Slugger McGee or Ernie Banks, to help build their egos and they loved it. He was a careful and caring man, and yelling was never a part of his coaching style," Mr. Bashaar said.
An amateur boxer during his student days at San Francisco State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1975, Mr. Sherry worked as a sports broadcaster in Oregon, Washington state and Phoenix, Ariz., before moving to Baltimore in 1985.
He was a sportscaster at WJZ-TV from 1985 to 1990 and at WMAR-TV from 1990 to 1991. He was a broker at Legg Mason from 1991 to 1993.
It was difficult for him this past spring when was forced to give up coaching because of illness.
When his players learned of his illness, according to Mr. Bashaar, they dedicated their pregame cheers to his recovery.
"Rather than saying, 'Go Towson!' they'd say, 'Coach Sherry!' before and after the game. They thought that by cheering for him, it might make him well. They really expected him to make it back," he said.
"He believed in the camaraderie of sports and had a real compassion for kids," said Bob Huether, a Stoneleigh resident, TRC coach and friend.
Born in Pasadena, Calif., and raised in Ross, Calif., Mr. Sherry was a graduate of Marin Catholic High School. He was a member of Towson First Church of Christ Scientist, where he was a Sunday school teacher.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Sherry is survived by a son, Jack G. Sherry of Pinehurst; three daughters, Theresa J. Sherry, Laurie D. Sherry and Valerie L. Sherry, all of Pinehurst; his father, Fred J. Sherry of Larkspur, Calif.; three brothers, Vincent Sherry of San Francisco, Robert J. Sherry of Pittsburgh and Stephen Sherry of Petaluma, Calif.; and a sister, Gina Sherry Seaborg of Mill Valley, Calif.