Sherrill Brakmeier

Sherrill Ellmers Brakmeier

Friday, August 25th, 1922 - Friday, March 13th, 2020
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Sherrill Ellmers Brakmeier, 97,passed away Friday, March 13, 2020, surrounded by family. A native of Louisville, KY, she was humbly born above the bakery at 26th and Market Streets in 1922. The daughter of a baker and a secretary, who, through hard work, determination, dedication and the love of a university, became a guiding light for male and female athletes and students for nearly 5 decades at her alma mater, the University of Louisville.

She received her BA degree in Physical Education in 1944. As a student, she was a 4-year member and letter winner of women’s varsity sports including field hockey, basketball, softball and volleyball. During her college years , Sherrill worked for the Louisville Parks Department as a community center activities leader and during the summers as a playground leader. She also had a deep commitment to the underprivileged youth of our community and volunteered at various social services agencies such as the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, Neighborhood House and Wesley Community Center that continued through her life. She was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority.

Upon graduation, she joined the department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) at U of L as a faculty member. She taught everything from fencing and bowling to archery, square-dancing and physical fitness, served as an academic adviser and became a beloved mentor to students. Later in her tenure, she developed and administered the Recreation Education major program that educated students to become recreation directors for the many playgrounds, parks, nursing homes and community centers throughout the city and the state.

Mrs. B served as head coach of the Field Hockey team for more than 25 years. Coaching Field Hockey was her true love along with preparing young women for life after college. She was a pioneer in women’s athletics, paving the way for many who followed.

Professionally, she was President of the Kentucky Association for Health Physical Education and Recreation (KAHPER), and was on the Board of Directors of Kentucky Women’s Intercollegiate Conference (KWIC). She was faculty adviser to various groups including Mortar Board, Cheerleaders, and Pep Club and trained students and volunteers to work with Special Olympics and Easter Seal Society participants.

Upon retirement, she continued to serve the University as a loaned executive to the United Way and the U of L Cares Program and as a volunteer coordinator at the University Club. She could also be found in the press box at field hockey games every year. She would entertain players with tales of “the old days” in women’s sports, like having to cut the grass, line the field, fill the water jugs and wash the uniforms herself.

Sherrill Brakmeier, has the distinction of being the first woman to be inducted into the University of Louisville Athletic Hall of Fame and is a long time member of the L-Club. She received many awards and honors including Outstanding Alumni Award - UL, Allen Society Award - Metro United Way, Oppenheimer Funds Big East Coach’s Achievement Award

U of L was second only to her family. Mom was a mom in every sense of the word and to more than just her own children. She gave to everyone unselfishly and non-judgmentally. She never met a stranger nor let you feel like one. Everyone was welcome and there was ALWAYS room for “one more”. Many great times were spent at the family's beloved river house, celebrating the joy of family and friends.

She was active in her churches, West Louisville United Church of Christ and Beargrass Christian Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Virginia and Edwin Ellmers; her husband of 56 years, George Brakmeier, Jr.; her nephew, Tom Gardner; her sister-in-law, Rose Gardner (Hoyt) and her sister-in-law, Betty Ellmers.

Sherrill is survived by her brother, “Skip” Ellmers; her two children, Sherrill Zimmerman (Lee) and George Brakmeier, III (Pam); 3 grandchildren, George Brakmeier IV (Meghan), Kim Brakmeier, and Nathan Zimmerman; 2 great-grandchildren Hailey Hubbs and George “Quinn” Brakmeier, V; 1 niece; 4 nephews and many students who called her “Mom” or “Mrs. B”.

Visitation will be Tuesday, March 17, 2020 from 3:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Rd. and on Wednesday, March 18, from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. at Beargrass Christian Church, 4100 Shelbyville Rd. with the funeral to follow at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be in Cave Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Sherrill Brakmeier Endowed Scholarship, University Advancement, University of Louisville, 2323 S. Brook St. 40292, checks payable to U of L Foundation

She loved life and she loved for everyone to have fun!

Funeral services will be streamed online on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at 11:00am. Visit
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  • Visitation

    Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 | 3:00pm - 8:00pm
    Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 3:00pm - 8:00pm
    Highlands Funeral Home
    3331 Taylorsville Rd.
    Louisville 40205
  • Second Visitation

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 | 10:00am - 11:00am
    Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 10:00am - 11:00am
    Beargrass Christian Church
    4100 Shelbyville Rd.
    Louisville, Kentucky 40207
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 11:00am
    Beargrass Christian Church
    4100 Shelbyville Rd.
    Louisville, Kentucky 40207
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Cave Hill Cemetery
    701 Baxter Avenue
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Pam Bustin, Brittney, Hannah, Jake, & Paige, and other have sent flowers to the family of Sherrill Ellmers Brakmeier.
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Pam Bustin

Posted at 03:58pm
Mrs. B. -Thank you for your strength, pride, guidance, and have inspired me personally and as a coach. Rest In Peace with love - Pam Bustin
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Brittney, Hannah, Jake, & Paige

Posted at 02:21pm
Kim, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time.
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Heartfelt Sympathies Store

Posted at 07:52am
Mrs. B was the best! We're lucky to have had her in our lives. I bet she's having the best party up there. Love, Stacy, Jeff, & Olivia
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Justine Sowry

Posted at 05:00pm
Thinking of you all during this difficult time. Mrs B was one of a kind and will always be remembered especially by her UofL field hockey family. Love
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Joanne Rowe

Posted at 04:35pm
I met Sherrill Brakmeier in 1988, when I was hired at U of L Physical Education Department. From that moment she took me under her wing and made me feel like a family member. Two of the things I taught was Adapted PE and Recreation Ed. Sherrill took me around town and introduced me to every person who worked with children with special needs. She made sure I had all the contacts I needed to do my job. She and George would invited me to go to Churchill Downs during Derby Week and I will never forget those times with them. Also the great picnics and dinners are the lake house. Mrs."B" made my years at U of L more enjoyable. She was a very special person in the lives of many people. I was fortunate to have known her.

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