“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
  • 77 years old
  • Born on March 15, 1937 in Dickinson, North Dakota, United States.
  • Passed away on March 16, 2014 in Tacoma, Washington, United States.

Sharon -  from a page in her notebook: “I was born in Dickinson, Stark County North Dakota on March 15, 1937. My grandmother Hertha Sailer was working at St. Joseph's hospital there, at the time. That is probably the reason my mother was there, also, since my father William Lyle Kent was in the army at the time and was stationed at Fort Abraham Lincoln outside of Bismark, ND.”

Sharon's parents divorced in 1940 while at Ft. Lincoln, ND. They remarried each other a year later, the day after Pearl Harbor on December 8, 1941, during the patriotic fervor that rose up after the bombing. The marriage lasted until early 1943.

Sharon moved with her mother and grandmother to Tacoma where they would both be able to find jobs during the war. Her mom worked as a welder's helper at Todd shipyard on an aircraft carrier. Her mother Lillian met and married Bob Fitz who was mom's father until he died in 1978. During the war years, mom lived with Bob's family in Pennsylvania which involved several cross country train trips. Mom had returned home to Tacoma by VJ day in 1945. She received her first communion that year and was almost swept down a storm drain as she waded in a puddle by St. Leo's church in Tacoma. As she waded through, rather than walk around it, she stepped into an open manhole hidden beneath the puddle, the cover of which had been lifted off by excess runoff following heavy rains. Her arms spread wider than the manhole opening stopping her from disappearing down the storm drains.

Sharon met Jennings (introducing himself as “Jack”) at the “grid go round” football game in the fall of 1953. She attended St. Leo's High School until she and Jennings married in October of 1955. She transferred and graduated from Puyallup High School in 1956, the same year that she had her first of six children.

She enjoyed traveling and took a 3-week tour of Europe with several friends in 1975. They traveled using Frommer's Europe on $5 / day, which was easy for Sharon since she was used to stretching a dollar to raise a family of 6 children. Other trips took her to Great Britain, Ireland, and South East Asia.

Preceded in death by her husband Jennings. Survived by son Dan (Ruth) Irish, daughter Kathleen Irish, daughter Christine (Forrest) German, son Gerald (Kendra) Irish, daughter Sheila Irish, daughter Patricia Ignacio, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and numerous extended family members and friends.

The way she lived her life served as an example of tolerance and acceptance of everyone, as friends or family. Sharon was a loving mother to six children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was our family's prayer warrior. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 16, 2014 from pancreatic cancer. On her desk, on a note taped to the surface, she had penned this statement: “I have fought the good fight, I have WON finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Eulogy From Sharon's Memorial Service on 3/27/2014

My name is Gerry Irish. Sharon was my mom and she was the person who had the greatest influence and made the most impact on my life.

Mom was shaped by the many different events in her life. In her early years, during the war, she stayed with different extended family members off and on, while her mother worked at a variety of jobs, and her father was in the service. She knew hardship, it was common to those times and everyone was affected by the war in some way or another. I don't think she thought her life was unique because of it or that she had it worse than others, she didn't dwell on the difficulties she experienced in her life. It was just the way it was ... there was not a lot of emotion or extra drama to be added when mom described the events in her life.

Her mom Lillian, married her step-dad Bob Fitz when she was about 8. He was the only father that she knew growing up and she loved him dearly until he passed away in 1978.

She became a mother at the age of 19 and had six kids in a span of six years. She raised her children during the 60's and 70's during times of great social change. The mom that I saw in those years, was non-prejudiced, liberated, independent and tolerant. The significance was lost on me at the time and I don't recall having conversations or hearing her opinions about such political things, it really wasn't her way to offer up her opinions or debate an issue. She kept her own counsel on most matters, and she was firm in her own beliefs, but she was equally considerate of others right to their own opinion. She simply lived her life as an example for us to follow. She wasn't the type to complain about her situation in life, she was both a strong woman as well as being the ultimate, “low maintenance” woman.

She raised us without gender-bias in our beliefs or in our daily lives and I really don't recall there being any discussion about those things as it related to life or family. I don't recall her taking up feminist causes or that sort of thing, she simply decided what was right by her values and that is how she lived. When it came to dividing up the chores amongst us kids, it was about as fair as anyone could make it. We all had the same chore list with the only differnce being which day was yours, for any given task. We all took our turn at every one of them including each of us having our own night to make dinner and to do the dishes. From scubbing the toilets to mowing the lawn, no one got preferential treatment in our house. With six kids each making dinner on different nights and dad making dinner on the occasional Sunday, I think mom had her house running just the way she wanted it. She was one of the quietest and at the same time one of the strongest people that I've known and she was not afraid to try new or different things.

She raised a large family, worked outside the home as a medical receptionist, realtor, medical office clerk. She liked to travel and go places with her friends and family. In her later years she became the family historian and was active in researching our family geneology. She enjoyed connecting with distant relatives and she liked helping others with research or providing tips to those who shared her passion for geneology.

I recall fondly the winters while I was a teenager spent watching football, going to the Seahawk's games together, playing pinocle and many times, just hanging out with mom.

She raised her children to be independent and self-sufficient. As a mother, she shared the values that were dear to her by living those values for us to see, in her daily life. Her example helped me to form my own principles and to determine my values, and to be my own person, and I'll be forever greatful.

We can tell by the way she lived, and the choices that she made, that all members of her family were very important to her. She didn't shy away from helping with her granchildren who needed care from extended family members, just as she had needed and had received care from her family, when she was a child.

She was steadfast in her faith and was our family prayer warrior, she had no fear concerning her death, she was at peace and was ready to go home. She was consistent right down to the end, including deciding how her cancer would be treated and to die, the way that she wanted.

We may not see her soon, but she's with us everyday. We'll see you later, mom.

Posted by Carollee More on 15th March 2016
rembering way back when her and uncle Jennings lived by middleland grade school / big back yard near grandma irishes home birthday party there. carollee Parham more
Posted by Mary Haynie on 7th April 2014
Sharon, I will miss all the great talks we had over the years. We spent many hours together raising our kids. We had a lot of fun in St Leo's high school. The last few months together brought us a lot closer in the love we had for each other and the sharing of our faith. You had such a great faith in God and in our Catholic faith. I am sure the good Lord welcomed you home with open arms and said you fought the good fight and you did. I will miss you a lot but we will be together again someday and we will have more good talks.. Love, Mary
Posted by Mary Speidel on 27th March 2014
Sharon was the person who kept me connected to the Sailer clan. I have not seen her since my father Armand Sailer died in 1973. Thank you Sharon for caring enough about long lost relatives that you reached out to us. You are with God.
Posted by Barbara Bryant on 25th March 2014
My fondest memories are the picnics we had at Owens Beach at Pt. Defiance. ALL the food!!! I don't think Dad ever left the table! You were such a big part of my life, especially with our family history. I will miss you terribly. HUGS
Posted by Johann Sailer on 25th March 2014
Sharon shared our family history with me. I feel so much closer to the Sailer bunch, even though I have not seen most since I was a child. I wish that I would have made a trip out West when I had the chance. When I do make the trip, I hope to meet everyone and get to learn more about this wonderful lady. You are loved and missed.
Posted by Lynn Tiegs on 24th March 2014
Sharon was such a good mother. I went to school with some her children and they are some the nicest people with the lessons there Mom taught them. Sharon does not have to suffer anymore. God be with the nice Irish kids.
Posted by Gregory Reiser on 23rd March 2014
Sharon you will be missed. It was a treat to have you at all of the Reiser family functions. I guess I'm old enough to remember your wedding and you walking my brother and I to Kindergarten at central school when we all lived on G street in Tacoma. Thank you so much for all of the genealogy help. You were the oldest of the Sailer "Kids" an I guess the first to go. I will miss a lot. Thank you so much for honoring my by coming down to visit me when you knew the end was near.
Posted by Carollee More on 23rd March 2014
we will miss the physical form of aunt Sharon but the spirt is with our heavenly farther and unchel Jennings she will always be with us in spirit and know she s with your family always / even when you don't think of her shes thinking of you
Posted by Barb Benthien on 23rd March 2014
My thoughts and prayers are with all the family.. We had many good times together and it is with great sadness we were not able to reconnect. May you all find peace in knowing she is with the Lord. I am so sorry I can't come to her service as my husband is undergoing chemo but will be thinking of you all. Barb (DeNune) benthien
Posted by Sharon Winen on 21st March 2014
Posted by Jeannette Harrison on 21st March 2014
Thank you Sharon for all you taught me about genealogy and working for those goofy doctors. Will miss you. Put in a good word for me with the man upstairs. God Bless!
Posted by Dan Irish on 21st March 2014
love you mom, your with jesus now.

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