Auburn (WSYR-TV) - Warren Smith watched Mary Sherlach
grow up. He remembers the kid next door who enjoyed playing with his daughters decades ago, as her family vacationed at a cottage on Owasco Lake. Smith is still processing the thought that Sherlach will not return to the cottage next summer, calling the details of her death "a sin".
Investigators say 20-year old Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and opened fire, killing 20 students and six adults, including Sherlach, a school psychologist.
Smith's daughter, Sharon Nelson, fought back tears as she described her friend.
"It's so hard to put her wonderful life into words. It just can't do justice," Nelson said. She had a fire in her. If there was anyone we'd want on the side of our kids, it was her."
On a site linked to the Sandy Hook school, a bio page for Sherlach says she enjoyed traveling to a lake home in the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. The page also lists SUNY Cortland as the source of her undergraduate degree in Psychology.
Public records list a cottage under Sherlach's name along Burtis Point Road on Owasco Lake, near Warren Smith's home. His daughter, Sharon, remembers how peaceful her friend felt during her last vacation.
"Mary had a great summer. She enjoyed every minute of every day on the lake. This was her best summer and she was the best person. That's how she lived," Nelson recalls. "I want people to remember her for how she lived, not how she died."