Sharon Joy Casey Obituary
Our dearly beloved Sharon Joy Casey suddenly passed at the age of 65 from a major stroke on Monday, October 16, 2017, at the Civic Hospital in Ottawa, ON. She was surrounded by loving family. Her remains were cremated at the Pinecrest Cemetery in Ottawa where her son, Johnathan Whiteman, is buried.
A Celebration of Life was held on Saturday, October 21, 2017, to honour her and the courage, compassion, and wisdom that she bestowed unto others. Members of the local community held a memorial lunch on October 27 to pay tribute to her contributions and selflessness.
Her family is grateful and appreciative of everyone’s condolences and support. Memorial donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or Lung Cancer Canada.*
Sharon was an inspirational and awesome mother to Crystal, Mark, and predeceased son, Johnathan; endearing and delightful Nanny (grandmother) to Bryce, Kelsey, Liam, Ayva, Noah, and Toby (by common law); and wonderful friend to many. Beloved Grandmother Selina Blair (Halverson), Lillian Anne and Garfield Hall (whom were like a close aunt and uncle to her and her children), and Stepfather Harvey Johnson predecease Sharon. Brothers Douglas, Larry, and Hal Roy Johnson also predecease Sharon. Mother Dorothy Johnson, Brother Harvey Johnson, and her two dearest sisters, Deborah Pakulak and Lynda Klawitter live on.
Sharon was born in Winnipeg, MB. She spent of her childhood in Lynn Lake, MB, and some of her adolescence in Montreal, QC, with her Aunt Iyna and Uncle Sam. Childhood friends knew Sharon with her maiden name, Gillies, and gave her the nickname Patches because of a mesh-like shirt she had worn outside one sunny day.
Since she was a young teenager, Sharon challenged stereotypes and became a philanthropist champion. In 1967, Sharon was one of a couple, if not the only, female to participate in her high school’s 100-mile run in Lynn Lake, MB. She was also one of the strongest skilled players on the girls’ basketball team that empowered them to outplay the boys’ team. By 1973, she became one of the very few women to weld, let alone work in a mine, at the South Bay Mine of Ontario. In the 1980’s, she continued to defy the odds against women during that time. While raising two children as a single mother in Winnipeg, MB, Sharon graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Masters in Sociology / Criminology and a minor in Psychology. Her career largely comprised of social, developmental, and crises support services for children and youth. Sharon advocated for fair, effective, and efficient strategies within the systems she worked, in both Winnipeg, MB, and later in Ottawa, ON, during the early 1990s. Sharon battled depression throughout her life, especially after the tragic death of her 5-month old son in 1994. Yet she used her uncanny ability of readily recognising the signs of mental illness to help others. Her assertive, down-to-earth demeanour, and quirky sense of humour enlightened those who had the privilege to know her. In her retirement, Sharon dedicated most of her volunteer time to aid in the coordination and provision of food and resources to seniors and the less fortunate. She was a distinguished leader and renowned head cook in her community. Sharon was able to conjure up delicious meals out of next to nothing to feed plenty. Ottawa’s Mayor and City Council, media, and other persons commend Sharon for her advocacy and volunteerism.
Sharon enjoyed reading mystery novels, watching comedies and action/crime films, and crocheting. She cherished her children and grandkids (until they got too loud, then the kids had to go play outside). She found the world renewed through the eyes of children and laughter, “through the mouths of babes”. Her favourite colours were purple and green, and the smells of fall leaves, lilacs, lavender, and water lilies enchanted her. Sharon was a proud Canadian: of the true north, strong and free, (eh?!) and is often referred to as a polar bear for her love of the cold.
She savoured coffee (even old, cold coffee), assorted cheeses, breads, and traditional Canadian meats. Her palette did not often crave sweets, but when it did, she would chew on a hard candy or indulge in a CoffeeCrisp. For “a treat”, Sharon sipped beer while her kids swigged Shoppe Pops. Later in life, she fancied sherry on the rocks while her kids grew to appreciate coffee and brewskies. She could never quit smoking, but she also never gave up trying with Nicorette chews, e-cigs, and that nic puffer. Sharon’s cooking left you craving for seconds – and often she had more to share. Her green split pea and ham soup was legendary and homemade cinnamon buns are just a couple of her many celebrated foods. Sharon loved food so much that she would dream of it. She enjoyed using appetizing, wholesome foods and conversation to bring people together and uplift spirits.
*Sharon is fondly remembered and immensely missed. In loving memory and respect, we toast in Sharon’s name and with a quote she shared not long before she passed,
“I can’t promise that I’ll be here for the rest of your life;
but I can promise that I’ll love you for the rest of mine.”
And she did. To infinity and beyond, Mum, always and forever.