Retired USPO, Veteran (US Air Force)
Urcle began his journey on April 22, 1958, at Ashe Memorial Hospital, in Jefferson, North Carolina. He was born the middle child of Urcle Mack Sheets and Doris Ann Snoderly Sheets. His fatherâs ancestors had settled in northwestern North Carolina prior to the Revolutionary War, which is memorialized by an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway called Sheets Gap. Not far from that memorial was his fatherâs family farm located on Bare Creek Road where he grew up with his grandparents just around the road and his cousins just across the street.
Like most of the kids of that region he squirrel hunted, rode his trail bike through the woods, played in the creek, rode his horse and pony around the pasture, rode go-carts around the house and bicycled for miles along what was mostly winding narrow country dirt roads at that time. He enjoyed snow days with snowball fights and sledding with his first cousins and neighborhood kids who were such close friends they were more like siblings. In addition to his North Carolina cousins, his mother would take him to her home state of West Virginia so he could know his West Virginia cousins.
When he was in 8th grade his father had a massive heart attack and could not feed the over 200 Black Angus cattle that were being raised on the farm. Urcle began the daily chore of getting up at 5:00 each morning to feed the cattle in the winter, many mornings the temperature was below zero. He would have that done by 7:00, then catch the bus to school. This was the first of many life events that would transpire where Urcle was called upon to be the responsible one, to take care of others. He was always dependable and steadfast. Honorable. Stalwart.
When Urcle was 14 he got a private pilotâs license. Happily his father recovered and they enjoyed many more adventures together, like going to the Kentucky Derby, deep sea fishing trips, walking the property line to mend fencing, and flying the family airplane.
Urcle was highly intelligent and graduated high school as the salutatorian. He attended Wake Forest University and graduated Cum Laude with a degree in biology. After attaining his bachelorâs degree, he enrolled in dental school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Although he was succeeding in his classes again attaining high marks, he realized that was not the career he wanted. After taking several months off to contemplate his future, he signed up for the Air Force and entered service as a Lieutenant.
The Air Force took his journey first to Texas for basic training and then to California. While in the service he met the love of his life, Kathy Kilker, when she was at a barbecue with her girlfriends with many Air Force officers and their friends. A top gun type of thing. After a brief courtship they got married at the court house followed by a formal wedding. They were married for about 7 years when Kathy became pregnant with their daughter Rachel. Urcle and Kathy were over the moon with happiness becoming parents. However, Kathy was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer when Rachel was 6 months old. This serious life event again called upon Urcle be the resilient standard-bearer for his family, taking care of his seriously ill wife, a new born daughter who was not yet a toddler, and working full time. This was his greatest challenge in life. He and Rachel lost Kathy to cancer soon after Rachel turned 3 years old. Urcle dedicated his life to raising his daughter. She was the apple of his eye and his greatest accomplishment. He was by all measure the best father on planet earth as evidenced by how wonder Rachel is as a person. He was doting, loving, kind, patient, interested, and supportive.
Last November he was honored to give his daughterâs hand in marriage to her husband Kyle Perry and was truly happy that she had met the love of her life. He enjoyed spending time with them as well as Kyleâs family and was comforted by the fact that Kyle had a very large and caring family so he knew Rachel would never be alone, especially since they lived so far away from the East coast family. At Rachel and Kyleâs wedding he gave a wonderful speech that truly reflected his essence as a person. It was comedically funny (which he was great at), serious about his lifeâs trials and tribulations when losing Kathy and raising Rachel alone, and joyful when describing Rachel.
Urcle was known by various names to different people in the different locations he lived. To his North Carolina and West Virginia family he was âChipâ since he was named after this father and in 1958 it was a common nickname for a son named after their father. In the Air Force and his California family he was Urcle. He had some friends that labeled him Mack. Clowning around with his sister and her family when they came for Rachel and Kyleâs wedding they ask what he should be called and after much laughter and playful banter it was affectionately decided that to the Florida family he would henceforth be called Uncle Mack Daddy.
Urcle is preceded in death by his parents Urcle Mack Sheets and Doris Ann Snoderly Sheets, an infant brother David Keith Sheets, and his much loved and adored wife Kathy Kilker Sheets. He is survived by his daughter Rachel Ann Perry and her husband Kyle Perry of Sacramento. His ex-wife Susan Davis who he still had a great friendly relationship with, and her daughter Danielle who Urcle always loved as his own daughter. A sister Kimberly Ferree and brother-in-law Chip of Tallahassee, Florida; a niece Amanda Exposito-Ferree and her husband Frank and their two children Xavier Antonio and Francesca Leona of Winter Springs, Florida; and a nephew Henry Ferree and his fiancÃ©e Meaghan Marx of Tallahassee, Florida. The Florida family are all so grateful and thankful to have spent a lot of quality time with Uncle Mack Daddy this past November. He will forever be loved and appreciated.
Several months before his journey ended he reflected back on his life in a phone call with his sister and expressed to her that overall he has had a great life with many blessings and the most wonderful daughter he could ever ask for.
Urcleâs journey in this realm ended the last week of July 2022, passing away unexpectedly. He transitioned peacefully in his sleep. At the time of his passing he was at peace with his life and felt assured that Rachel would be well taken care of and never be alone. On August 2, 2022, at 4:22 am his spirit visited his sister to let her know he was okay and at peace.