Sherman Library Names Volunteer, Docent of the Year

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Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar has named Sumie Jossi as Volunteer of the Year and Catherine Gresh as the Docent of the Year, officials announced recently.

(left to right) Volunteer of the Year Sumie Jossi, Sherman Gardens Director Scott LaFleur, and Docent of the Year Catherine Gresh at Corona del Mar gardens.
— Photo courtesy Sherman Library & Gardens

“Our volunteers and docents are the roots of these Gardens. They make everything grow,” said Sherman Gardens Director Scott LaFleur.

“As president of philanthropic, PTA and homeowner groups in the past, I have found the volunteers at Sherman Gardens to be the most considerate, creative and pleasant people I’ve had the pleasure of being with. Our Volunteer of the Year Sumie Jossi encompasses all of these qualities,” said Kathy Dahlquist, president of Sherman Library & Gardens Volunteer Association.

Jossi was born in Tokyo and has lived in Orange County for more than 50 years, working as an accountant and office manager during her career.

When her husband passed away, she held his memorial service at Sherman Gardens. She knew then, that this was the place where she would like to work as a volunteer, officials explained in the announcement.

“I needed a place where I felt happy and that would keep me busy to fulfill my life. Beautiful surroundings, small enough so you can enjoy every corner of the garden. It’s not noisy, not messy, has lovely gift shop and a great restaurant,” Jossi said in the prepared statement.

She has volunteered at the gardens since 2015.

“You can’t find any place like this in Orange County,” she continued. “Working in beautiful surroundings, meeting other wonderful volunteers and developing great friendships. Everyone with free time should consider becoming a part of this lovely place.”

Jossi works in the gift shop, gate duty and does some gardening. When she’s not in the gardens, she likes to spend time with friends and family, attend classical music concerts, and travel.

Gresh joined as a docent in 2016 and has been a wonderful addition to the group, said Cathy Khouri, president of the Docent Guild at Sherman Library & Gardens.

“She eagerly participates in so many activities, enjoys the camaraderie of the docents and exhibits a truly wonderful nature and pleasant personality,” Khouri said in the prepared statement. “She certainly deserves the Docent of the Year Award.”

Born in Butler, Penn., Gresh met her husband at Bowling Green University in Ohio. They set off for New England where she taught English and social studies in middle school for 13 years, according to the announcement.

After her teaching career, she worked in business and medical offices. When she and her husband moved to California from New England in 2015, she visited Sherman Library & Gardens where she heard about the docent program.

Being able to combine her loves of gardening and teaching is a real pleasure for her, officials wrote.

“I love educating the public about the history of Sherman Library & Gardens, and sharing the pleasures of nature managed by the brilliant team of horticulturists, passionate volunteers and docents,” Gresh said in the prepared statement. “As a new resident of California, I have met so many wonderful people here and it has been a social pleasure for me.”

For more information, visit SLGardens.org.

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