Sunday, February 22, 2009

Passing It On

From (Iowa) comes the story of how one woman consistently left children's books in the waiting areas of dentists, doctors and hospitals so discreetly that no one had a clue as to their orign. Sadly, this woman's husband killed her and their four children on March 24, 2008 before he used his vechicle to end his own life in a car crash.

But Sheryl Kesterson Sueppel's best friend, Kathy Benge, has come up with a wonderful way to remember Suppel and her love of children and books.
"I thought, what an appropriate idea to gather friends and family to continue that tradition," she said.

Benge said she started the book drive Feb. 4, sending out e-mails to family and friends, including the Kesterson and the Sueppel families. Those e-mails were forwarded on two to three times and the effort grew.

"It's been a great family experience for everybody," she said. "It was just right up Sheryl's alley."

By Thursday evening, Benge said she had 1,000 books. She expected a lot more to come in by today, possibly even doubling that number by the end.

The response has been much more than Benge anticipated, she said.

"It has been very overwhelming for me," Benge said. "I really felt, for me personally, this was the perfect thing to do.

"I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart."

Benge said she will get together with Sueppel's family and friends to label the inside of each book with a message about how the book is in honor of Sheryl Kesterson Sueppel.
What a tragedy that this man was compelled to take the lives of five innocents, the people closest to him in the world, before killing himself over the half million dollars he was accused of embezzling. It would be a very fine thing for Sheryl Sueppel to be remembered for the good she did rather than for her sad end, so I hope that Kathy Benge is able to turn this book drive into a town tradition...passing on Sheryl's good deeds for many years to come.


  1. What a sad story. I can never understand why people like this aren't satisfied with taking their own life. Why they must take the lives of those around them, I cannot understand, but it is nice to see a positive thing coming from this tragedy.

  2. Sam, I'm so glad you posted this. It is a sad story, but maybe folks (like me) can leave a book somewhere simply as a rememberance of her. We don't need to have known her personally to learn from her example. Then she will have touched lives even after hers is over.

  3. I can't begin to imagine what a person is thinking at that point either, Alissa. Sometimes, though, I wonder if it's a matter of jealousy and selfishness...either not wanting their wife or children to start new lives with other people or wanting to make sure that they suffer what the crazed person is either case, selfishness.

  4. I agree, Jen. Perhaps people could place her name inside the books they "release into the wild" as a sort of memorial.