SHARON ANN MACLAREN, Ph.D.
Of Port Charlotte, Fla., died on April 4, 2020, age 79 from complications of the COVID-19 virus.
Sharon was the beloved daughter of the late Duncan and Lillian MacLaren of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Sharon was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. She graduated from Sault High School and Wayne State University, where she earned a doctoral degree. In 1972 she was selected nationally as an American Council on Education Fellow. Subsequently, she served in several administrative posts at Florida State University in Tallahassee and as Provost at St. Joseph's University in West Hartford, Conn. In 1979 Sharon returned to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. In 1983 Sharon established the Cafe du Voyageur restaurant and in 1990 the popular Voyageur Tours. She and her friend Arline initiated the first Hospice in the Sault for which Sharon created the Madrigal Dinner as its primary fundraiser. Sharon wrote and directed "The John Johnston Dinner" as a fundraiser for the Historical Society in which she played an active role.
In the year 2000, Sharon designed and had a home built in McCormick, S.C. She lived there with her mother and Arline until Lillian's health declined in 2011. During these years Sharon was involved in the Book Club dinners at the MACK and initiated a project that provided Christmas decorations for the storefronts in McCormick. Sharon wrote and directed a Madrigal Dinner fundraiser for Good Shepherd Church.
When Sharon made Port Charlotte her permanent home in 2011, she became Director of the Charlotte County Cultural Center Learning Place. Here she volunteered her time and talent as Development Director for the Charlotte Players and as President of the Charlotte Symphony Volunteer Organization. She also taught adult learning classes at the Renaissance Academy in Punta Gorda. Sharon was talented, forthright and earnest. She was deeply loved and respected by her family and many friends.
In the year 2000, Sharon was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic with the genetic disease of Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency. That year she became a patient of Dr. Charles Strange, pulmonologist at Charleston's Medical University of South Carolina. With the help of a weekly infusion and under Dr. Strange's supervision, Sharon had 20 more years of a life she lived to the fullest.
Sharon was predeceased by her brother Steve. She is survived by her brother Casey and his wife Shauna, her sister-in-law Jennifer, her niece Stacy, nephews Cory and Michael and her dear friend Arline Fitzmaurice.
There will be a memorial service for Sharon in Port Charlotte later this year. There will be a memorial service in McCormick, S.C., and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in the summer of 2021.
Donations in Sharon's memory may be made to Alpha1 Foundation at www.alpha1.org/donate
or mailed to Alpha 1 Foundation, 3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33134.