Sherry Engebretsen, director of marketing at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Minneapolis, is among 13 people killed in the Aug. 1 collapse of the city’s I-35W bridge.
Engebretsen, 60, was driving from Thrivent’s downtown office to her home in Shoreview, Minn., when the disaster occurred. She had been a Thrivent employee since 2003.
Engebretsen’s husband, Ronald, and daughters Jessica, 18, and Anne, 20, were interviewed by Matt Lauer on NBC-TV’s Today Show Aug. 3. Jessica said she had talked to her mother at 5:39 p.m., just as Sherry Engebretsen was getting ready to cross the bridge during rush hour.
“I’m on my way home. Be home in five minutes,” she told her daughter.
“Minutes later, the bridge collapsed, and Sherry Engebretsen never made it home,” according to a story on the Today Show’s Web site. All summer long, Sherry had avoided the bridge and taken an alternate route because of construction backups, said her husband, but had decided that day to use the bridge.
“My wife was a great person, a great wife, a great mother to our children,” Ronald Engebretsen told Lauer. “She was such an incredible person.”
Sherry Engebretsen was active in the community and in her congregation, Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
“She was a woman of great spirit,” her husband told Lauer, “a woman of great conviction, a woman who had a great faith in her God.”
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans announced Friday the creation of a fund honoring Sherry Engebretsen. Donations to the fund will be used to “support scholarships to private colleges and other charities that were important to Sherry,” according to a story on the organization’s Web site.
“We cannot undo the heartache brought to the Engebretsen family, the Thrivent family, or to our community by the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge,” said Bruce Nicholson, chairman, president, and CEO of Thrivent Financial. “Still, it is our hope that the Sherry Engebretsen Memorial Fund will remind the community of our ongoing need to care for others and to live with passion and purpose, as Sherry did.”
Updated Aug. 10, 2007