CCDC is saddened to announce the passing of disability rights all-star Sheryle Hutter. Sheryle was a CCDC staff member until last year, before that she was a Board Member, and dedicated volunteer advocate. Among her many significant accomplishments was the development of our current advocacy training program. Her efforts made it a professional level class, eligible for continuing education units from the University of Denver. Sheryle developed the curriculum in partnership with the University College at DU and created enough evidence-based curricula with a robust evaluation to qualify it for a college-level class.
Sheryle was born on September 26, 1944 and died October 13, 2019. She was married to the love of her life Don Hutter on January 27, 1962. They renewed their vows this past January. She leaves behind two sons, Don Jr, and Ron Hutter. Ron works as the CCDC event assistant and is on the Arc of Aurora Board of Directors. He followed in his mother’s advocacy footsteps, something that made Sheryle very proud. Sheryle is also survived by all five siblings: Vicki Shultz, Pam Farnoik, Tommy Collins, Scott Collins and Brent Collins. She leaves behind many nieces and nephews, colleagues, friends and admirers.
Sheryle’s professional history began when she owned and operated a square dance shop, then had an interior design business and finally became a grants manager for the Cherry Creek School district where she worked for more than 30 years. Sheryle poured her significant talents into several organizations as a volunteer. She was involved with Special Olympics for more than 30 years. She started the program in the Cherry Creek District and there are now over 10,000 athletes participating across the state. Her son Ron is an athlete and coach with Special Olympics. Sheryle was a leader in the all-volunteer organization PADCO (Parents of Adults with Disabilities of Colorado). PADCO takes strong unapologetic advocacy positions. Sheryle and founder Dr. Denver Fox uncovered fraud in the intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) system that was later verified by government auditors. She found a glaring error in legislation missed by several professional lobbyists that took needed services away from hundreds of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and she forced a correction to maintain needed services.
Sheryle was involved in many capacities with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. She joined as a volunteer in the late 90’s, later she served on the Board of Directors and acted as Treasurer for several years. After her retirement from the Cherry Creek School district, she threw herself into advocacy, lobbying on behalf of CCDC, and creating the advocacy training program that is in place today. Sheryle was also involved in local Arapahoe County and City of Aurora politics. Sheryle has mentored and encouraged many people with disabilities and parents of people with disabilities. Sheryle had a strong sense of disability pride, and that is evident in the work of her son Ron. Sheryle was passionate about improving the quality and accessibility of health care, enforcement of the American’s Disabilities Act, and ethical and transparent behavior of nonprofits that are funded to support people with disabilities.
Sheryle has received several awards for her work in the disability community including the Dan Davidson Award given by the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council and the Lucile Weiss Memorial Award for Education from CCDC. Sheryle will be dearly missed. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people honor Sheryle by voting, becoming active and involved with your community and doing something to improve health care and access for people with disabilities and/or senior citizens in your communities.