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Sharon Kirby

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Sharon Kirby Obituary
Sharon Kirby

Indianola

"We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto" ~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

An ordinary woman with extraordinary wit passed away following a brief battle with liver cancer Monday April 8, 2013 at the age of 81. She had planned to live to be 100, but she always noted that "life is what happens while you're making other plans". Her sense of humor and incredible quick wit was strong and the family has many "Sharon sayings" that describe the situation at hand. One of the favorites that we now all use is (when in a tough situation or making a mistake) "Well, if I was just as smart as I am beautiful……(long pause) and I am!"

Services are planned for Friday April 12, 2013 at the Woodlawn Christian Church in Lake City, IA with visitation at 11 a.m. and the service to begin at 12 p.m. Interment will be in the Lake City Cemetery. Lunch will follow at the Church. Lampe Funeral Home in Lake City is handling arrangements.

Sharon Ruelle Sharkey Kirby was born March 21, 1932 to John Gilbert and Blanche Evelyn (Taylor) Sharkey in Lake City, IA. She married Dean Paul Kirby on Valentine's Day in 1951. From this union, four children were born - Shelly Jolene, John Paul, Kayla Ruelle, and Bryon Dean. Sharon and Dean started farming north of Lake City and later moved to the Lohrville area. Sharon was active in her church, the Woodlawn Christian Church in Lake City. She also was leader of many youth groups - Rainbow, 4-H, Junior Garden Club to name a few. Sharon served on the Lohrville Community School Board as she was an ardent supporter of the importance of excellent public education. Sharon and Dean later divorced and Sharon moved to Indianola IA where she opened a children's clothing store, KinderHAUS. In addition, she became the housemother at the Pi Beta Phi fraternity house at Simpson College and made an impact on the lives of many young women. They also made an impact on her as she enjoyed being regaled by the collegiate stories and life. She loved being in the midst of the higher education environment and the access to interesting speakers and music events and sports on campus. At Pi Beta Phi, she was known for her attention to detail, her etiquette knowledge, and also her witty conversational skills. During her time there, the chapter was awarded the Balfour Cup twice which is the award given to the top Pi Beta Phi Chapter internationally. Special times indeed! Sharon loved this position and served in it for 23 years before retiring in 2005. Following her retirement, the fraternity initiated Sharon into Pi Beta Phi, an honor that she dearly cherished. Sharon also loved traveling in general, but especially with her sister Jolene Mapel. They took many extended road trips in which they followed the road as they went - free spirit trips sometimes as long as a month at a time. Some of her happiest memories were summers spent at a lake home in WI where they shared a lot of fun with Sharon's niece and nephew Penney and Bob. In the last two years, Sharon had moved to an apartment at the Village retirement community in Indianola. She enjoyed her many fascinating new friends that she met there. She especially enjoyed playing games and was a regular at Mah Jong and Rummicube. Most of all, Sharon dearly loved her time with her family and she was proud of them all. Holidays and vacations, going to the lake, on a picnic, browsing a favorite book store with her family were all special times! She loved flowers and gardening having served as the Chairman of the State Junior Garden Club, music (especially Des Moines Metro Opera and student operas at Simpson College), and reading (her favorites were Science Fiction and Fantasy). Sharon was a member of Eastern Star, P.E.O. Chapter NG, and the Indianola Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club.

Her parents preceded her in death. Surviving Sharon are her sister Jolene Sharkey Mapel, Carroll, IA; Aunt Bessie Sharkey Hendricks, Lake City, IA; Children: Shelly Jolene Priebe (Gregory) Indianola, IA, John Paul Kirby (Carol) Carroll, IA, Kayla Ruelle Reese (Barry)Gladbrook, IA and Bryon Dean Kirby (Diane) Lohrville, IA. Grandchildren: Zachary Clarke Priebe, Margaret Elizabeth Priebe Johnston (Bradley), Tucker Kirby Priebe, Jacob Taylor Kirby, Jessica Ruelle Reese Faith (David), Thomas Robert Reese, Amanda Kay Kirby, and Justin Taylor Kirby, special friends who were like family, and many dear nieces, nephews and cousins.

Sharon was never one for a funeral. She had her Irish Shindig Wake (unknown to her at the time) at her 80th birthday party last year. When giving a thank you to all in attendance about how grateful she was, she ended with "Because you came, you're all excused from the funeral! " That got the laughs she loved, but was with a hint of truth. At the time, she had no idea that illness would soon befall and this was to be a prophetic statement. Sharon would want everyone to remember her living and laughing.

Memorials may be directed to education and children, both close to Sharon's heart - scholarship funding at Simpson College or Blank Children's Hospital.

When Sharon was a little girl, she read the Frank Baum series and then saw the Wizard of Oz in the movie theatre and was instantly a fan for life. Each year she loved to see the reruns on TV watching this film countless times. Not sure what the film meant to her beyond the sheer entertainment value, but one has to wonder if she didn't walk away from the movie theatre that day so long ago in search of courage, brains and a heart. She found them.

Published in Des Moines Register on Apr. 11, 2013
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