Sarah Christine Canterberry

January 27, 1979May 4, 2018
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Sarah Christine Canterberry passed away on May 4, 2018 in Nacogdoches, Texas. She was born on January 27, 1979 in Nacogdoches, Texas to parents, Alex Zienko and Susie Brogan Zienko. Sarah was a graduate of Texas A&M University, where she obtained a PhD in Genetics. She was currently serving SFA as an Associate Professor in the Biology Department. In 2018, she received the SFA Teaching Excellence Award. She also served as the President to the Texas Genetics Society. Sarah loved martial arts and obtained a Black Belt in Yoseikan Budo Nacogdoches. She enjoyed weaving, spinning yarn work, and riding horses. She was a member of the Chireno Baptist Church and was a youth Sunday School Teacher. She is survived by her husband; Matthew Canterberry; children, daughter, Shelby Canterberry, son, Wade Canterberry; parents, Susie and Al Zienko; brother, Travis Zienko and wife Crystal; nephews, Boe and Dusty Zienko; mother and father in law, Beverley and Billy Barnett. Funeral Services will be held, 2:00 PM, Monday, May 7, 2018, Cason Monk-Metcalf Sunset Chapel. Interment will follow at Lower Chireno Cemetery. Friends and family are invited to a visitation prior to the service from 12:30 until 2:00 PM, Monday, at Cason Monk-Metcalf, located at 5400 North Street in Nacogdoches. Arrangements are under the direction of Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Directors, Nacogdoches, Texas.


  • Matthew Canterberry, Husband
  • Shelby Canterberry, Daughter
  • Wade Canterberry, Son
  • Susie Zienko, Mother
  • Al Zienko, Father
  • Travis Zienko, Brother
  • Crystal Zienko, Sister-in-law
  • Boe Zienko, Nephew
  • Dusty Zienko, Nephew
  • Beverley Barnett, Mother-in-law
  • Billy Barnett, Father-in-law


  • Visitation Monday, May 7, 2018
  • Funeral Service Monday, May 7, 2018

Sarah Christine Canterberry

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Olivia Britton

May 9, 2018

One of my favorite memories with Dr. Canterberry is when she told us that she started growing her hair out as a little girl so that she could be like Princess Leia. It was the cutest & funniest thing I had ever heard. I just think of her in these little moments from story telling to signatures for Tribeta to martial arts. Those moments start to add up in a way that I never even realized & it's then that I realize what a big part of my life she was. I feel truly blessed to have known her. I will keep her & her family in my prayers.

"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

Deb Stewart

May 8, 2018

I remember Sarah as a beautiful young girl, always an achiever, a role model, someone head-and-shoulders above the crowd, exceedingly accomplished. Her parents and grandparents were life-long friends with my family, and we shared many, many endearing moments. Sarah carried and still commands the admiration of all who knew her. She was amazing, fearless, a true trail blazer. She never met a challenge she could not win, intrepid, yet kind and Godly. All who knew her on this earth looked up to her. Her legacy runs the gamut, an amazing life that saturated our hearts with inspiration. She made us all want to be better. In the words of Sally Ride, "when you're getting ready to launch into space, you're sitting on a big explosion waiting to happen, and you have to reach a level of comfort with that risk." Sarah met risk and challenges with confidence, achieving her goals, one right after the other. Many young people and especially young women will find deep within themselves a new sense of achievement in their lives because she lived and died. Though senseless and confusing, her death is not in vain. God is already using this tragedy in ways we cannot understand. Sarah, you have reached a new level of achievement. You are the victor.

Dustin Therrien

May 7, 2018

Thank you Dr. C for taking a chance on me, and allowing me to get my masters degree under your supervision. In doing so you completely changed the course of my life, and are the whole reason why I am currently attending A&M to get a PhD. Words cannot express how grateful I am that God put you in my life.

Rachel Lynch

May 7, 2018

I just recently had the honor of personally getting to know Sarah as I helped with the Texas Genetics Society meeting this year. She was so kind and genuine, and she was such an encouragement. I remember thinking to myself in March that I was so glad to be forming a relationship with such a great scientist/leader/mother. She will be sorely missed in the Genetics community. My heart goes out to her family and especially to her beautiful children.

Glenda Goh Denison

May 7, 2018

Sarah and I met at Texas A&M university as graduate students. She taught me so much about life in Texas, and what it's like to be a country girl. I will always remember the times we spent in class, in our labs, and all the other places in College Station and Snook! I will miss you, Sarah.

Suzan Dutcher, Payne

May 7, 2018

Candice Brinkmeyer-Langford

May 7, 2018

I met Sarah when we were both in grad school - in fact, she made it a point to reach out to me before I even started grad school because she was concerned about the lab I was about to join. I am glad I listened to her, and even happier that we became friends. I had fun hanging out with her at the last Texas Genetics Society meeting, and we've chatted via text and kept up on Facebook over the years. I can't believe she's gone. Sarah was a wonderful person with a good heart and a special friend. She will be missed terribly. I pray for all who loved her, especially for her kids and husband.

Patti Rogers

May 7, 2018

My heart breaks for the family and friends of this sweet lady! May the comfort of God and the sweet memories of Sarah help you through the difficult days ahead. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

Ann Odom

May 7, 2018

Dan and I have been keeping the entire family in prayer since hearing of this tragedy. May God wrap each one with His loving comfort, as well as strengthening everyone in this family. If there is anything we can do to help in any way, please call us.
Ann and Dan Odom

Emily Wallis

May 6, 2018

Dr. Canterberry was one of my professors last semester. She was easily one of the smartest and sweetest people I’d ever met. This is a tremendous loss for SFA, and she will be missed dearly.