Sharon was born October 22, 1939 in Story City, Iowa, to Sterling and Louise Sande. She lived on the family farm near Roland until graduation in 1957. During high school she was active in cheerleading, 4H, and band. In 1959 she received an elementary teaching certificate from Waldorf College in Forest City.
Sharon taught 2 years each in Badger, Ankeny, and Blairstown, and finished her 40-year career by teaching second grade at Fillmore and Cleveland in Cedar Rapids for 34 years. While in Ankeny she met her future husband Ken Thimmesch. They moved to Cedar Rapids in 1963 and were married on May 31st, 1964 in Roland. She was a 55-year member of First Lutheran Church here in Cedar Rapids.
Sharon is survived by her husband and 2 children, Cindy (Jim) Willett of Marion, and Steve Thimmesch of Cedar Rapids; 4 grandchildren, Kristin and Lauren Willett, Caleb and Jenna Thimmesch; a sister Shirley Ploegastra of Elkhart; a sister-in-law Vicky Sande of Urbandale, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-law relatives. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Anita, and brother David.
Sharon possessed an extraordinary work ethic. Any task she encountered or envisioned was met with ambitious determination through its completion. Procrastination was never an option. She was always willing and eager to offer and provide help to others.
Sharon considered her role in life as a provider. During her childhood she provided a helping hand doing countless chores on the family farm. For 40 years after college her passion for education made her pour her heart and soul into effectively providing an education for close to 1,000 children during her career.
On countless evenings at home she would spend many hours working on unrequired innovative teaching aids to inspire interest and attention from students to enhance their educational experience. Many students needed an extra push along the way, and she put forth the effort to inspire initiative, understanding, and performance. Her diligence and effectiveness were rewarded time after time with praise from many former students and parents years later during chance encounters with them.
During her dedicated career she was also able to provide a loving and nurturing environment for her husband, children, and grandchildren. She loved to cook and was well known for providing occasional sweets and treats for family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Any visitor to her home was sure to be offered something to eat.
She was an avid gardener and spent countless hours planting and caring for her many flowers and plants. She would rarely sit down to watch television or read a novel, preferring to spend her time doing productive tasks around home. She loved to decorate her home each holiday with plenty of seasonal decorations.
The advent of grandchildren ushered in a very special era in her life. They provided a unique and fulfilling spice to life and she cherished hundreds of visits and outings with them.
Sharon retired in 1998 and soon was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, an incurable and debilitating disease. With her strong will and perseverance, she determined her fate must wait.
Despite enduring pain and suffering and the complications of Parkinson’s, she remained resolute for years with her valiant effort to trump the anguish and frustration of coping with her slowly deteriorating abilities; her sense of balance, her strength, her self-reliance, her dignity, her poise, her way of life, and the enjoyment of life itself.
Throughout her lifetime Sharon did not seek to gain fame or fortune. But with her inherent, gracious demeanor and her caring and sharing personality, along with her ardent commitment to family and to her career she managed to gain a lot of respect, trust, and admiration from a great number of people.
In life she committed herself to unselfishly providing for others. Facing death, her legacy of providing for others prompted her to commit her body to the organ transplant program so unknown others in need could utilize what she provided. But her age and condition prevented that from happening.
Her family would like to thank the hospice and palliative care staff at St. Luke’s and the staff at Living Center West care center for their sincere care, kindness, and support provided. Memorial gifts will be forwarded to the Parkinson’s Foundation to aid research to cure and prevent this disease.
A memorial service celebrating Sharon’s life will be held at 11:00 am Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at the Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories with the Rev. Craig Brown officiating. Visitation will be held from 9:00-11:00 at the chapel on Wednesday.