Sharon Lee (Lang) Sharkey was born Aug. 10, 1952, in Hot Springs, S.D., to Clifford Clarence Lang and Shirley Mae Gosch. She was the oldest of three children. She and her brothers, Gary and Rodney Lang, were raised in Rapid City, S.D., until the spring of 1961, when they moved to Custer, S.D.
Sharon’s life was multifaceted, of which she gave generously and selflessly in order to better the lives of those around her.
She attended a one-room classroom through eighth grade, played the piano and guitar and actively participated in the local 4-H club. She was a talented soloist singer and cancan dancer in the Black Hills Fly Speck Billy Show.
In 1969 she was the champion cattle judge at the Winter Weston Livestock Show and graduated from Custer High School with the class of 1970.
Sharon was a participant in the Pageant of Paha Sapa and was first runner-up Miss Gold Discovery Days in 1974. In addition, the following are accomplishments/attributes that were influential in shaping her life during those years: horse wrangler for trail rides from Sylvan Lake to the summit of Harney Peak, agent for the Custer Chamber of Commerce, lead hostess of the Writer Convention, which Gov. Kneip, attorney general Bill Janklow and countless other journalists from the national media attended.
Sharon attended Huron College for two years, where she also participated in intramural sports and was a cheerleader. She then transferred to Black Hills State University where she graduated in 1974 with a double major in history and social sciences, and received a degree in education. During her time at Black Hills State she participated in intramural sports, was an active leader in her sorority and met the love of her life, Gary Michael Sharkey. Gary and Sharon were married May 24, 1975, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Spearfish, S.D.
In August 1975, they moved to Gillette, Wyo., where Sharon first substitute taught for two years prior to beginning her 30-year legacy as a teacher at Campbell County High School. Sharon truly loved teaching and was effective, dedicated and caring. Sharon also contributed to extracurricular activities for Campbell County High School. She was the lead cheerleader coach for several years and head sponsor for the Close Up Foundation for the state of Wyoming, including three trips to Washington, D.C. Sharon helped young educators become effective teachers by sponsoring them via the student teaching program through the University of Wyoming.
Gary and Sharon welcomed their first child, Jennifer Kay Sharkey, into the world, Oct. 25, 1980. On April 16, 1984, their son, Nicholas Gary Sharkey was born. Sharon actively supported them in all of their sports activities, trained and showed quarter horses in American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), and was a top-ranked AQHA breeder and producer. She played an integral role in the successful creation and management of Sharkey Well Service, Inc.
Sharon had an immense love for God, the Father Almighty and Our Holy Catholic Church since joining the Church in 1985. She was a member of the Women of St. John’s and very fond of delivering meals for the meals on wheels program in Custer.
Sharon blessed so many lives across many facets of life through teaching and living as a child of God.
On Jan. 24, 2008, Sharon suffered from an unexpected/massive brain aneurysm rupture. While this devastating injury was followed by extremely turbulent times, Sharon’s love for her grandchildren, her family and life helped to sustain her., thus providing her a loving quality to her life for the last 11 years. Her faith and determination to continue to live in order to share in life’s experiences with her grandchildren, family and friends were unwavering.
Sharon died Feb. 4, 2019. She was 66.
She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Clifford and Shirley Lang; grandparents; niece Melinda Sharkey; and brother-in-law Leo Sharkey.
Sharon is survived by her loving husband Gary Sharkey; children, Jennifer Scott) and Nicholas (Jacklyn); grandchildren, Alec, Dominick, Kaylee and Jaselyn; brothers, Gary and Rodney; nieces and nephews, Ashley, Cassidy, Chris, Melissa, Amy, Blane, Kaytlen, John, Beth, Sarah, Matthew, Mary and Michael; multiple great-nieces and great-nephews; and many other loving family members.
Funeral mass was Feb. 8 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Custer with Fr. Grant Gerlach as celebrant. Christian funeral burial followed at Custer Cemetery.