Sharon Marie Hansen Stender was born in Henry S.D., to Harold and Jeanette Hansen.
Sharon was destined to be an educator and a lifelong learner. Sharon began her education journey as the top student in her elementary class of one.
Fearing no challenge, Sharon went on to become valedictorian of her graduating class at Henry High School in 1965. She completed her undergraduate work at Northern State University and then continued to South Dakota State University where she completed a masters degree in English literature.
On June 7, 1970, Sharon married the love of her life, Chuck Stender, in Watertown, S.D. Together they began their married life in Spearfish, S.D., and Sharon taught at Lead (S.D.) High School. After a short period, they moved to Thermopolis, Wyo., where Sharon worked as a math and English teacher at Hot Springs County High School. During her time as a teacher, Sharon was active in many student organizations such as Close-up and she was the speech and debate coach.
In 1999, Sharon retired from teaching and moved to Custer, S.D., for a short time and then onto Colfax, Wis., to be near their son Matt and his children. While in retirement, Sharon kept busy in the Menomonie, Wis., area working at the Wisconsin Credit Union and volunteering at Stepping Stones Food Pantry.
Sharon enjoyed spending time with her family, reading, traveling to her cabin near Lake Holcombe, Wis., and traveling to see her family and friends.
Sharon’s true joy was her grandchildren. She loved passing down stories and traditions as well as teaching the next generation how to cook (including the art of making lefse), make tie blankets and cross stitch.
Sharon died May 1, 2019, after a 12-year battle with cancer. She was 71.
She is preceded in death by her parents; and daughter-in-law, Farrah Stender.
Sharon is survived by her husband, Chuck; two sons, Matt (Becky) of Menomonie and Scott (Stacy) active in the United States Coast Guard; six grandchildren, Tessa, Blaine, Aliyah, Tori, Colt and Jaxon; and three siblings, Gary (Karen) Hansen, Milan (Linda) Hansen and Tanis (Roosevelt) Hansen.
A memorial to honor Sharon’s life will be held at Olson Funeral Home in Menomonie May 7 between 9-11 a.m.