Obituary of Sharon Menke
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Sharon passed away peacefully on May 6th, 2023 after a valiant three-year struggle against chronic illness & complications. Sharon loved life fiercely and vowed to keep going until there were no more options to continue. In her final hours, she was surrounded by her loved ones while she amazed and delighted us all with the gift of her full presence with us. She gave us unforgettable moments of tenderness, sadness, and humor that will stay with us always.
In life, Sharon pursued a family, a rural lifestyle, and a career. She was born and raised in West Redding, Connecticut where she learned to love nature and developed a strong interest in American architectural history. Her family moved to Richmond, Virginia when she was a senior in high school. She graduated from Highland Springs High School where she was active as a clarinet player in the marching band.
Determined to get an education, Sharon worked full time for a year after high school to buy a car for commuting to school and to save up for tuition. After enrollment at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, she continued working two part-time jobs while pursuing full-time studies, paying all her own expenses, earning a B.S. degree in Rehabilitative Services within four years.
Sharon entered the workforce providing career training & preparation services at the Richmond Cerebral Palsy Center. She met & married Henry in Richmond and together they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Henry completed an engineering degree. It was there that Sharon transitioned her career to management of home healthcare services. After Henry’s graduation, they made their final move to a legacy family farm in Kenton County, Kentucky, raising two children while living there for the next 31 years.
Sharon was determined to ensure that her children had the best educational opportunities possible. She and two other entrepreneurial moms were instrumental in founding Prince of Peace Montessori in Covington, Kentucky, the first school in the area to offer a pre-school through 8th grade Montessori learning environment. Continuing her commitment to the Montessori teaching method, Sharon founded and directed Children in Worship Montessori Sunday School at Florence Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Sharon continued working part-time from home to pay for the kids’ school tuition, making it possible for Paige to attend Beechwood High School in Ft. Mitchell as an out-of-district pupil and for Walt to attend Covington Catholic High School, both outstanding college-preparatory institutions. Sharon’s dedication to excellence in her children’s education paid off handsomely: Paige was selected to attend the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts and Walt was selected to attend the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars program. Both honors were accompanied by a four-year tuition scholarship to the University of Kentucky.
Once the children were off to college, Sharon resumed working full-time as a digital marketing manager for Life Enriching Communities in Ohio, achieving her career capstone when she was named Senior Director of Marketing for the entire organization in 2021. Sharon’s personal activities and interests included planning and cooking for family holidays and celebrations, tending to her flower beds, swimming and sunning by the pool, hunting flea markets for antiques, home decorating, mysteries & ghost stories, being active in community affairs, and visiting historic & architecturally significant homes. She loved singing out loud, listening to upbeat & classical music, enjoying the company of her dogs & cats, taking nature walks on her rural land, staying physically fit, and maintaining a variety of outbuildings on her property, especially her favorite: an 1849 timber frame home where ancestors of the farm were born and where Paige was married.
All who knew Sharon know what a sweet & delightful person she was, full of life & energy, cheerfulness, and unwavering concern & support for others. Funny and self-effacing, Sharon was a true optimist, always enthusiastic, readily offering her support and encouragement to others to pursue their goals and achieve their dreams. She was one in a billion, a true light and force for good in the world that was taken from us too soon. There's an unfillable hole in the universe and in our hearts after her passing.
Farewell, our dear sweet Sharon. Your memory and the love you so freely gave us all will never be forgotten. We will always remember you and continue to love you "big as the whole world and all the planets stacked together".
Sharon is survived by her husband Henry Menke, their two adult children Paige Sander and Walter Menke & their families, and her siblings James Alworth, Robert Alworth, & Melinda Workman and their families. A Celebration of Life of life will be held on Saturday October 14, 2023 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm at Chambers and Grubbs Funeral Home, Independence, KY with services to follow at 4:00 pm. To share a memory or to leave an online condolence, please visit the tribute wall above.
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