Vernon R. Sheffey, 75, veteran, director of multi-service center

November 24, 1999|By LAURIE WILLIS | LAURIE WILLIS,SUN STAFF

Vernon Roy Sheffey, retired director of the Lafayette Square Multi-Service Center, died Nov. 17 of congestive heart failure at his Woodmoor home. He was 75.

Born in Baltimore, he grew up on Riggs Avenue in the Sandtown-Winchester community. After graduating from Frederick Douglass High School in 1942, he en- rolled at Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) but in 1943 enlisted in the Army. After military service in Seattle, he received a bachelor's degree in sociology from Morgan in 1949. He received a master's degree in social work from Howard University in 1960.

For more than 52 years, he was an active member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, chairing several committees in its Baltimore chapter.

Mr. Sheffey was a social worker at the state Department of Public ; Welfare from 1950 to 1952, and the former Loch Raven Veterans Hospital from 1952 to 1958. He was a probation officer for the state of Maryland from 1958 to 1964.

When he became director of Lafayette Square Multi-Service Center in 1965, it had a budget of $35,000 and was housed in a dilapidated building at the corner of Lanvale Street and Fremont Avenue. Mr. Sheffey led a fund-raising campaign, soliciting money from businesses and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, that led to a new, $1.5 million, 30,000-square-foot facility which opened in 1974 at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Gilmor Street. He retired in 1989.

In 1971, he received the Frontiers International Association Award for community service, the United Community Neighborhoods Centers of America Award in 1973, and in 1988 the Towson State University Distinguished Black Marylander Award. He also received the Enon Baptist Church service award for trustees.

Services were held Monday at the Heritage United Church of Chris, 3106 Liberty Heights Ave.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Ruthe Turner Sheffey, an English professor at Morgan State University; two daughters, Illona Sbeffey Rawlings of Dallas, and Renata Sheffey Strong of Virginia Beach. Va.; a brother, Powell Boyd Sheffey of Baltimore; three sisters, Hilda Askew, Georgie Brown and Dorothy Sheffey, all of Baltimore; and three grandchildren.

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