Our beautiful Jean made her transition into spirit on March 23, 2014. She had been ill for several years. Jean moved to Payson in 1999 and soon discovered that the I AM America office was also located in the stunning Rim Country of Arizona. After attending one of our local seminars she offered to volunteer in our office and with her background in accounting and business practice Jean was more than a perfect fit – there wasn’t anything in our office that she couldn’t handle. For over twelve years Jean rolled maps, helped to pack customer orders, ran errands, delivered orders to the post office, and picked up the mail. But more importantly, Jean was always available to share her insight and keen, practical problem solving. She was a ready ear for any predicament, designed and built storage solutions from discarded cardboard boxes, organized and cleaned the wrap n’ pack area, saved packing materials for books, fed the cats and watered plants if we were away, and told Len (like a doting mother) when to change his shirt or get a haircut. And if you ordered anything from I AM America several years ago, no doubt you wouldn’t have received that book or map without Jean’s help. In essence, she was our trusted and beloved friend.
Velma Jean Benson was born in Seattle on October 18, 1933. She graduated from Puyallup High School in 1951, but the course of life would inevitably lead her to California, where she lived for many years and raised three sons as a single mother. She shared many stories about raising her boys and their adventures camping on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and traveling to the Salton Sea. After her sons left home she returned to college and entered the professional world working as an accountant. During this time Jean took up golf, and won several local championships.
A debilitating stroke changed Jean’s life in 1996. Yet Jean rallied, and re-taught herself how to walk, drive a car, and most importantly, how to read again. Spiritual topics always piqued her interest, and Jean especially enjoyed the works of Edgar Cayce, past-life regression, and of course Ascended Master teaching. After Jean joined our volunteer staff in 2001 we had many interesting conversations about Ascension and the Violet Flame, subjects close to her heart. Pictures of the Ascended Masters adorned her office and work-space alongside the latest photos of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were all her “dear ones.”
Jean, you are our eternal “dear one.” And although we know you are just a breath away from our Earthly dimension, you are missed from our holiday table and family events. You taught us well, and left us the valuable gifts of unending devotion, practical grit, and the precious action of love. Come back soon.
Our cherished friend and mentor, Sherry Takala, passed onward to the spiritual planes on June 5, 2014. Sherry was an influential voice and advocate of the I AM America Spiritual Teachings, and organized and managed my fledgling company’s first office in 1990. Sherry also monitored many trance sessions, and her invaluable contribution to these spiritual teachings is memorialized in the autobiographical book, “Sisters of the Flame,” released in early 2014.
“Sisters of the Flame,” is the story about four women and others from surrounding rural Idaho communities who gathered around Sherry’s kitchen table in the summer of 1990, and participated in numerous trance sessions with spirit guides, angels, and spiritual teachers. Sherry organized and facilitated the weekly sessions which proved to be a significant help to women struggling with life’s important questions surrounding children, job security, relationships, and their continued spiritual growth and development. A surprising story for conventional thinkers, but if you knew Sherry Takala this is no surprise at all. Sherry was always helping someone. In fact, it was the lifeblood of her existence.
Sherry was an accomplished and talented fine artist. She taught painting and many of her landscapes hung in galleries and local cafes. An avid Tarot Reader, Sherry worked closely with Saint Germain to design a whimsical Tarot Deck based on gnomes, salamanders, undines, and sylphs. Her seasoned knowledge of this topic added Master Cards like Astral Travel and Universal Love, alongside insightful illustrated cards of Major Life Lessons that included Denial, Addiction, Intuition, and Joy. When we began to work on the world Earth Changes information, she immediately crafted large cartographic renderings of Canada, Mexico, Central, and South America. These maps were published in the first edition of “New World Atlas, Volume One.” After one of many conversations prior to the release of “Sisters of the Flame,” Sherry painted a possible cover for the title (pictured above) depicting the generational feminine passage into universal knowledge. She telephoned before she mailed the canvas, “I’ve sent another painting – it is a special piece for you and Len.” I eagerly tore the brown paper from the package to reveal a colorful soaring eagle.
I have certainty that Sherry is soaring like an eagle in her beloved spirit world. She was connected to its profound knowledge every minute, and her treasured advice helped many to segue difficulty into solution, victimization into empowerment, and sorrow into comfort and healing. Rest in peace my friend, fellow traveler, teacher, and soul-mate; we will joyfully meet again.
Sherry’s obituary follows, as it appeared online in the Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 12, 2014:
Being a gypsy at heart, she moved throughout all of the Western states. The job she was most proud of was that of a battered women's counselor at the YWCA. Finally she met the love of her life, Steve Takala. She followed him in his job and eventually up to Alaska, where they mined for gold in the Porcupine and also converted an old Navy landing craft into a very unique bed and breakfast/fishing tackle store/art gallery in Haines, Alaska, called "Noah's Art." Later, after returning to the lower 48 and Steve's death, she took to the road again in her motor home searching for yet new adventures. She landed for short visits in Lava Hot Springs, Orofino and Kamiah, making many friends and learning new skills such as ham radio operation, which came in handy while working with the Idaho search and rescue crews.
Sherry was preceded in death by her parents, Wallace and Adlissa Mallory; her brother, Brett Mallory; and by her beloved husband, Steve Takala. She is survived by brothers Kim, Cleve and Ronnie Mallory; and by sisters Vicki Wolfsen and Lara Coley. She is also survived by her daughter, Kathleen; son-in-law Lloyd Gilman; and their children, Tawnia, Tennille, Zack, and Porsha; and by great-grandson Clark "Super Baby" Gilman; and also by her son, Bill Carver; daughter-in-law Cindy; and grandson James Carver. She is also survived by many friends, students and followers of both her mystical and art talents and training.