Sharon Fernan Henry, 74, of Metairie, LA, passed away from ovarian cancer on December 26, 2019 surrounded by her loving family in a sun-drenched room at her daughter's home in Atlanta, GA. Sharon was born the youngest of twelve children on January 27, 1945 in Madison, WI to Thomas and Ann (Rubbert) Fernan. She is survived by daughters Jennifer Holmes & Jill (Bimal) Chopra; grandchildren Bella and Hank Chopra; siblings Tom (Marlys), Roberta (Rawley) Wharton, and Jim Fernan; and many beloved nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Elaine, Donna, Corrinne, Al, Pat, Ed, Jack and Janet. Born with the drive to help others, Sharon graduated from Tulane University with a Master's degree in Social Work in 1979. From there she embarked on a remarkable career as a licensed clinical social worker in private practice, an adjunct professor at Tulane School of Social Work, an author, a professional speaker, and a critical incident responder and debriefer. Sharon finished her career post Hurricane Katrina as a contract mental health provider serving the needs of U.S. troops stationed in seven different countries overseas. Sharon was a lifelong learner and a natural teacher with a charisma that drew people to her. Gardening was a particular passion. She became a Certified Master Gardener and there was no happier day for her than one spent in her garden. Through years of steady tending it became a masterpiece, filled with undisguised beauty and hidden delights. Her joy there was multiplied by helping others learn about plants and flowers and by providing beautiful arrangements to organizations she was affiliated with, friends' homes, and even a few weddings. Sharon brought the same passion and dedication to the game of bridge. She was a life master and director at the Louisiana Bridge Center. She served on its board of directors; many of her closest friends were made there. But in keeping with who she was, what she loved most about the game was teaching it to others. She was a champion of new players and delighted in watching them grow and develop their own passion for the game. Most of all, Sharon's spirituality and connection with God defined her and molded her generous spirit. She was active at John Calvin Presbyterian Church for many years when her children were young, serving as a Sunday School Teacher and Elder. For over 35 years she studied A Course in Miracles and led a group of lifelong friends who met bi-weekly to discuss the course. Born and raised Catholic, Sharon reconnected with her Catholic roots later in life, coming full circle back to the church. Sharon was a bright shining light who exuded her positive spirit wherever she went. She loved sunsets, word puzzles, obituaries, British mystery dramas, and, above all, spending time with her grandchildren Bella and Hank - who were equally devoted to her. Her life's guiding principle was to give only love and give freely to all. She touched the lives of many and leaves a hole in the hearts of those who knew and loved her. Visitation will begin at 12 pm followed by a Memorial Service at 1 pm at St. Mary's Assumption Church, 2030 Constance St., New Orleans, on Saturday, January 4, 2020, with Father Dennis Hayes presiding. A reception will be held at Louisiana Bridge Center, 2709 Edenborn Ave, Metairie immediately following the service.
Published in The Times-Picayune from Dec. 28, 2019 to Jan. 4, 2020.