NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Holy Cross Father Charles David Sherrer, 81, died April 13, at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, following a brief illness.

Father Sherrer was born Sept. 21, 1935, in Marion, Ohio, to Harold Dee and Catherine Fye Sherrer, who preceded him in death. He grew up in Marion, Ohio, graduating from St. Mary High School in 1953 in the same parish that his grandfather, a stone mason, helped build. St. Mary Catholic Church, still stands today.

After his graduation, Father Sherrer applied for admission to Holy Cross and the University of Notre Dame. He entered the novitiate in Jordan, Minn., and graduated from Notre Dame in 1958. He was sent to study theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained a Holy Cross Priest in the chapel of the Collegio di Santa Croce, by Luigi Cardinal Traglia, Vicar Apostolic for Rome, on Dec. 3, 1961.

Returning from his studies in Rome in 1962, Father Sherrer spent a year at Notre Dame in pastoral studies.

From 1963 to 1964, he was sent to the University of Portland to teach English classes and assist in a residence hall. He also did some pastoral work. He returned to Notre Dame the next year to earn his master’s degree in English and then went onto to earn his doctorate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Throughout his years in education, Father Sherrer served at different times at the University of Portland as a member of the English faculty, chairman of the English Department, dean of the graduate school and as an academic vice president. He also was president of King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for over six years. After that, he again returned to the University of Portland in 1982.

In 2012, Father Sherrer celebrated his 50th anniversary of Ordination in a Jubilee Celebration and was among the celebrants honored at a Mass of Thanksgiving at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus.

Prior to his retirement, Father Sherrer went back to the classroom, teaching introduction to literature, courses in Shakespeare, Chaucer and Irish writers. He also taught a course he created, “History and politics in fiction.” He referred to those final years of teaching as “the most satisfying ministry” of his life. By then, Portland had become his home and he remained there until January when he moved to Holy Cross House at Notre Dame.

Father Sherrer was preceded in death by two brothers, Richard P. Sherrer and Dan A. Sherrer; a sister, Jane Sherrer Munson, and a niece, Johanna Sherrer.

He is survived by nieces and nephews and their families: James (Roberta) Munson of Portland; Catherine Sherrer of Crested Butte, Colorado; Elissa Sherrer (Lawrence) O’Brien of Ashland, Missouri; E. Margaret Sherrer (Francis) O’Grady and Patricia Sherrer, both of Columbus, Ohio; David (Melissa) Sherrer of Millersport, Ohio; Daniel (Julie) Sherrer of Powell, Ohio; Charles (Janice) Sherrer of Houston, Texas, and Phyllis Sherrer Butterworth.

There was a funeral Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus. Burial was in the community cemetery at Notre Dame.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at