A shock of blonde curls on top of her head, a quick wit and sharp tongue, a Diet Coke or glass of wine in hand, a desire to be in constant motion. To most, she is Shuey—the name her granddaughters bestowed upon her.
Sharyn Wiley Rusher was the proud only child of John Clarence Wiley and Loyette Newcomer Wiley. Born on December 21, 1932 in Kansas City, MO, Sharyn was only three when the family moved to Miami, OK and she would stay in Oklahoma all her life. Her love and sense of home was born of her relationships: admiration for her father's work ethic at his drug store (where she was a part-time soda jerk) and a deep loyalty to friendships forged in adolescence and kept close through moves and marriages, children and aging. She relished in social events, games of mahjong and bridge, and hours spent tap dancing with the Step Sisters.
Sharyn skipped junior year of high school, making high marks that secured her a spot at Oklahoma University where she pledged Alpha Chi Omega. Ultimately, though, she preferred to return to her hometown to obtain her Associate's degree at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. Hers was a life full of reading, inquiry, and abundant curiosity.
At 19, she met and married Jack Rusher in Miami and they had three children: Sherry, Sandy, and Jim. She always welcomed their friends into a boisterous home. Cars full of children driving to the family cabin on Grand Lake and summer vacations throughout the United States were joyous family staples.
The family moved to Tulsa in 1963 and, though it was a bigger city, Sharyn still seemed to get to know everyone. Her devotion to community led her to many different roles as a volunteer and advocate. She headed PTAs and cancer walk fundraisers, served as a Republican precinct chairman, volunteered with Youth Services and Assistance League, and worked as a substitute teacher. She was also the unofficial Queen of Utica Square, holding a diverse range of jobs at the Square's various shops, from Friday's Racket (later Wimbledon West) to Irene Herbert's to The Snow Goose. The profession suited her geniality and ease. She loved the stories of strangers and could make a new best friend in moments. She delighted in fabrics, color, and beautiful things, and believed one needed good armor for daily life. She always looked fabulous.
To her grandchildren she was a spry and tireless playmate: teacher of dives, hostess of tea parties, teller of jokes, maker of doll accessories from old cardboard, a card shark, a trick-or-treat companion (in costume of course), a Barbie aficionado, a youth league sports fan, an advocate of playing hooky from school when she was in town, the grandmother that always got in the pool. She was interested in their interests. Their triumphs were her own. She showed up for each of them and offered funny, kind, and bullish support, the sort of pugilist you want in your corner. She decorated her homes with the colors of the Southwest and made them the beating heart of family gatherings, fragrant with her famous Buchta, full of games and noise.
She would often joke, saying "I picture myself" here or there, usually by some beautiful vista holding a glass of wine, but it captured the gusto with which she lived and the way she always seemed to stretch beyond and forward toward more beauty, more experience.
She passed peacefully on the morning of July 20, 2021. She is survived by a loving bunch of Rushers—daughter, Sherry Rusher, and her husband, Ian Urbina; daughter, Sandy Rusher, and her husband, Chris Clark; son, Jim Rusher, and his wife, Dianne Rusher; grandchildren, Amanda Rusher Foushee, Channing Dickson Linn, Jaclyn Rusher-Mendoza, Nely Rusher-Clark, and Aidan Rusher Urbina; and great-grandchildren, Addie Kay Linn and Wiley Rusher Foushee.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to support the Assistance League of Tulsa (altulsa.org
) where Sharyn was an active volunteer. The family looks forward to welcoming friends and community to a party in celebration of Sharyn's vibrant life when Covid has subsided. www.moorefuneral.com
Published by Tulsa World on Jul. 25, 2021.