May 17, 2019 4:00 a.m.
Sherm Olsrud has passed away.
The retired president of Sherm’s Thunderbird Markets and Food 4 Less Markets, died on Tuesday.
Information from the Sherm’s website said Sherm and his wife Wanda got started in the food business when they bought a meat market in Eugene in 1957. A few years later they moved it into a new 10,000 square foot building and turned it into a full-fledged market, which was open 24 hours a day.
In 1967 they purchased the Thunderbird Market in Medford. While they added the name Sherm’s to it, the couple said they kept the Thunderbird name because they couldn’t afford a new sign. Later they expanded to Klamath Falls, and added a second store in Medford. They also added a Food 4 Less franchise to their holdings. In 2000 they purchased what had been called the Food World store on Stewart Parkway in Roseburg. The company currently has over 630 employees according to General Manager Bob Ames.
Sherm’s has been well known for their support of 4-H and FFA programs in the counties the stores serve, and also for donating food to area food banks.
Mike Fieldman, Executive Director of the United Community Action Network told News Radio 1240 KQEN that he was sorry to hear of Sherm’s passing. Fieldman called him “an extremely kind and generous person who dedicated his life to marking sure people had food to eat”. Fieldman said Sherm’s death is “a real loss to everyone who knew him”. Fieldman said Sherm’s Thunderbird Markets has donated about 375,000 pounds of food to UCAN in the past 13 years.
Sherm’s son Steve Olsrud said funeral services and burial will be private. However, a Celebration of Life is being planned for the future, which will be open to employees, customers and vendors as well as the extended community. Those who want to make a donation in Sherm’s memory should go to www.shermsmarkets.com to see a list of organizations in the Rogue Valley the family suggests helping out.
Sherm Olsrud was 95 years of age.