Cover photo for Barbara Ann Sharkey's Obituary
Barbara Ann Sharkey Profile Photo
1938 Barbara 2023

Barbara Ann Sharkey

August 11, 1938 — December 19, 2023

Rhinelander

Barbara Ann Sharkey passed away unexpectedly in her sleep on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at the age of 85. She was in South Bend, IN at the home of her oldest son. Our family lost a funny, creative matriarch who was always there when we needed her and inspired all of us with her self-reliant spirit. She had many friends and was a well-loved member of her neighborhood and community in Rhinelander.

 

Barbara was born August 11, 1938, in the small farming village of Gilman, Wisconsin to Edward and Frances (Ostrenga) Herman. She was the third of four children, Edward, Cecelia (O’Neill) and David Herman. Stories from their childhood were about the joys and hardships of working on the family dairy farm, where she would drive the tractor during hay season and undoubtedly learned her extraordinary work ethic.

 

She was the first in her family to attend college and graduated from UW Whitewater with a teaching degree in Business Education in 1960. Afterwards, she returned to Gilman and met the love of her life, Leroy Francis Sharkey, while teaching at Gilman High School. They were married on July 29, 1961, and starting raising a loving family of four children. She often kept her older children busy while the little ones were sleeping with puzzles hidden under the couch. They eventually settled in Schofield, WI, where Barbara was involved with Weston Elementary’s PTA and St. Agnes’ women’s organization. She showed her affection by baking breads and cookies, cooking delicious meals, and sewing clothes and quilts. She always prioritized attending her children’s sporting events.

 

Barbara and Leroy eventually moved to Rhinelander, where Barbara taught Business Education at Nicolet College until she retired in 2006. During this time, she earned her Master of Business Administration degree. She was a practical instructor that appreciated the utility inherent to her work. Her students would remember her if they ran into her years later. Barbara and Leroy were happily married for 38 years until his death in 1999. She was a devoted caretaker in the final years of his life, when he succumbed to the degenerative effects of the rare neurological disease Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). During his illness and following his death, she ran a PSP support group for affected loved ones for many years. Her dedication to the dignity and care of her husband has been an inspiration for her children and grandchildren in our lasting relationships.

 

After Leroy’s passing, Barbara focused on her family, her home, teaching, her garden, and her love of crafting. She especially enjoyed stitching crewel embroidery projects and completed dozens of pieces every year, several hundreds in her lifetime. We always looked forward to finding out which project she had made us for Christmas; she would look for things to complement our life stages and homes. While sitting in her chair stitching, Barbara would look out onto the Wisconsin River that ran through her backyard. Every spring, she watched the ducklings and geese grow up, the birds nest, and the mink run along her dock. She would tell us stories about the deer and bear swimming across the river and she loved to watch the seasons change. Every summer, her family would gather for cannonballs off the dock, pontoon boat cruises into town, never-ending sunroom games of Monopoly, and nightly bonfires in the backyard. She loved to host these gatherings and her grandchildren looked forward to running around the yard, swimming in Sand Lake, and picking blueberries with their siblings and cousins every year.

 

Barbara was especially talented with the sewing machine. She would make quilts for herself and her family that we all use and cherish. Whoever was available at the time of completion of a quilt had to come help her tie it off! Barbara was also a knitter and she crocheted an endless number of afghans. As a true teacher at heart, she was happy to pass her love of crafts onto whoever wanted to learn. She also had a very green thumb: neighbors loved passing her house to view her flowers and vegetable gardens. She would spend many hours each year working in her yard, and enjoyed eating and sharing the fruits of her labor.  She was very proud of her home, family, and age! Every August, the family gathered to celebrate her birthday and we cherish these parties as some of our happiest family memories.

 

She will be dearly missed and we find solace in knowing she is reunited with Leroy for eternity. Many memories of humor and joy will live on forever in the ones she loved.

 

Barbara is survived by her brother, David (Julie) Herman of Baldwin, WI, son Mark (Fran) Sharkey of South Bend, IN, daughter Beth (Doug) Biette of Cary NC, son Paul (Marlene) Sharkey of Lodi, WI and son Neal (Melissa) Sharkey of Krakow, WI, 10 grandchildren, Adrian Sharkey of South Bend, IN, Molly (Jonathan) Diveley of South Bend, IN, Jared (Jenny) Sharkey of Mishawaka, IN, Kelly Biette of Salt Lake City, UT, Katy (Jeremy Keller) Biette of North Bend, WA, Sean Biette of Greenville, NC, Briana Sharkey of Loveland, CO, Kaitlyn Sharkey of Lodi, WI, Kadence and Olivia Sharkey of Krakow, WI, and one great-grandchild, Elijah Diveley (5).

 

A Memorial Service will take place at 10:30 a.m., on Friday, January 5th at St. Paul Catholic Church in Mosinee, WI.  The Rev. Aaron Becker will officiate.  Burial will take place at St. Paul Cemetery.  Friends may call from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service, all at the church. Beste Funeral Home, Mosinee, is assisting the family, condolences can be directed to the family at www.bestefh.com.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent as a tribute gift to Cure PSP (https://www.psp.org/).

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Ann Sharkey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, January 5, 2024

9:30 - 10:30 am (Central time)

St. Paul Catholic Church

603 4th St, Mosinee, WI 54455

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Friday, January 5, 2024

10:30 - 11:30 am (Central time)

St. Paul Catholic Church

603 4th St, Mosinee, WI 54455

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Friday, January 5, 2024

11:45am - 12:15 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 603

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree