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SHARON ANN WURMANN December 13, 1938 - June 17, 2012 After a weekend of visits from all of her children and grandchildren, Sharon passed away peacefully at Riverview Health Centre. Sharon had been struggling with Progressive Supra Nuclear Palsy (PSP) since 2005 and although we are deeply saddened by her passing, we know she is at peace. Sharon is survived by her husband Erich, daughters Karoline, Kirsten, Hannelore (Steve), Heidi (Geoff), grandchildren Isaac, Max, Atli and Ruby, and her brother Craig and sister Sandy. She is also survived by family and friends throughout Canada and Germany. Sharon was born in Regina, SK on December 13, 1938 to parents William and Margaret McNamara. Sharon grew up in Winnipeg, graduating from Grosvenor Elementary and Kelvin High School respectively. She obtained her Bachelors in Arts and Social Work from the University of Manitoba. She completed her Masters of Social Work in 1964 also at the University of Manitoba. After completing her undergraduate degrees, Sharon hit the road with two close friends, Barb and Linda, and traveled Europe. It was while hitchhiking in Ireland that she met Erich (her far too good looking future husband) at the Ballygally Youth Hostel over porridge in the early morning. Sharon and Erich were married on August 29, 1964 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With barely two dimes to rub together, they headed off to Churchill, MB with big jobs and big dreams. During the ensuing years, Sharon was busy raising four daughters and living in Whitehorse, Yukon and Germany where she embraced the language and the culture in true Sharon style. Sharon was a relentless force who continued to ripen with each passing year and experience. She began her working career with government and then stretched out on her own, starting up a private practice in Edmonton, AB run by a group of MSW therapists specializing in childhood sexual abuse. Sharon traveled throughout the Northern communities offering counseling and running training workshops. Sharon and Erich retired to Vernon, BC in 1995 where Sharon continued to work with her practice for a number of years. Once fully retired, Sharon began her social justice work with the Raging Grannies and the Vernon Women's Resource Centre. It was here that she found her new political voice. Music was a large part of Sharon's life. From choirs and school performances in Winnipeg to campfire sing-songs with her family to community protests and events, Sharon never stopped singing. The service for Sharon will be held Friday, June 22, 2012, 2:00 p.m. at Thomson Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, Sharon's family asks that you make donations to Cure PSP (www.psp.org), the West Central Women's Resource Centre (Winnipeg), or a women's centre near you. THOMSON FUNERAL HOME 669 Broadway, Winnipeg - 783-7211 Send expressions of sympathy at www.thomsonfuneralchapel.com
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on June 20, 2012
Guest Book(10 entries)
- I was also taught by Amy Nagano and my parents were friends of the family in Baden. My mom, Rhoda Skerry left us on dec 18 2008. I know she's one of the many welcoming Sharon to a new existence elsewhere. If Ms Nagano sees this I would love to hear from her again as well. Such a lovely woman :) life is precious and we should remember to keep in touch with those who mean so much to us xo
- Posted by: Llynn skerry byrne (Family friend) on: Jan 4, 2013
- Our sincere sympathy to you, Erich and all of your lovely family who we met so many years ago. We loved our times together and Sharon always left us with a song in our hearts. We so admired all the work she did to help those in need. Our visit today, Erich was bittersweet, but we look forward to seeing you again and wish you and your family well as you hold dear the wonderful memories you share.
- Posted by: Richard and Liz Bonneville (friend and Erich's colleague) on: Jul 4, 2012
- Dear Eric, Karrie, Kirsten, Hanelore, Heidi spouses, children and grandchildren,
It was such sad sad news when I heard of Sharon's passing.
When we first met in 1974 in Germany I felt such warmth and friendliness when I was in a foreign country and SHARON had such a zest for life and living and made me feel so welcome in her home.
Having taught Karrie made our connection very special as her children were the heart of their lives.
You Wurmanns always have a special place in my life and I hope you all know how much you mean to me. It was just so special to see such a beautiful family in Germany and feel the great values of home life when I was so far from home.
You will all be in my heart and I know that the closeness of your wonderful family will help you through these difficult times.
With Love Amy Nagano (Mensch)
- Posted by: Amy Nagano Mensch (TEacher of Karrie Wurmann) on: Jul 3, 2012
- To Sharon's Family: I was so saddened to hear about Sharon and am so sorry for your loss. It is hard to contemplate a world without her. I knew Sharon through the social work community in Edmonton. She had such a vivacious spirit and wonderful sense of humour...you always felt lighter in her company. I am grateful to have known her.
- Posted by: Terri Spronk on: Jun 22, 2012
- I first met Sharon when she, Jan, Doug, and the indomitable Laurie were working in Child Welfare in the early 1980's. It was an exciting day when they decided to strike out and put together their treatment agency. I felt deeply honored when Sharon called to invite me to be a co-therapist in her mothers group. For five years we worked together each week with mothers whose children had been sexually abused by a family member. We often allowed ourselves to shed a tear in the group--bearing witness to a mother's, a child's, and yes, an offender's deep suffering--but we saved our venting and ranting for each other afterwards. Sharon had an absolutely remarkable gift for professional love, and for creating healing relationships. She was very adept at challenging people, clients and professionals, with what needed to be heard. I count her as a powerful mentor in dealing with the evolving "truths" of abuse. She could see the humorous side of things, too, but never strayed into disrespect. She was indeed a "relentless force" for good.
It was a bittersweet day for many of us in Edmonton when Sharon and Doug closed Wurmann-Egan and moved to Vernon. It was sad to hear on the national news that the moving van carrying both families' earthly possessions had caught fire. It is good to hear that she was able to advocate for social justice in her retirement years, in ways that she perhaps couldn't have done when working for governments. The scene has changed--not always for the better--but her pioneering work in Edmonton, Vernon, and across Canada's North, in a time when sexual abuse was just coming to light, still stands as a landmark and inspiration to many of us. She had a profound impact on the lives of many people and families. Really, her voice and work were poetic. She understood the soul of social work. Sandra and I will honor Sharon and her gifts as we present on professional love and relationship at a social work conference in Stockholm in July.
Thanks to you, Erich, for your help in my journey (you'll know what I mean). I have always appreciated your kind and gentle way. When you talked about Sharon, and about your daughters, it was always with such humility and respect. It is always clear that the "love at first sight" when you and Sharon met over porridge at that Irish youth hostel only deepened over the years.
Carole and I want to express our deepest sympathy to you and your family as you all deal with the loss of your mate, mother, and grandmother. Her song is now silent, but her legacy lives on through all of you and so many others. Would that we could all make such a contribution to making the world a better place.
- Posted by: Duane Massing (Friend and colleague) on: Jun 21, 2012
- Dear Erich and family,
Please accept our deepest sympathy at this time of sorrow.
The gift of life, however dear, must sometimes pass away, yet love and memories remain. May you all find comfort in the knowledge that Sharon has found eternal peace.
Our thoughts are with you.
Horst and Helga
- Posted by: Horst and Helga Schlemmer (DND friends) on: Jun 21, 2012
- Erich, Karrie, Kirsten, Hannelore,and Heidi. If energy can neither be created or destroyed, somewhere in the universe a new star was born on June 17th. A star so bright that those of us down here looking up will think that it must be a planet. If instead we choose to think of life as a continuum and that one must pass so that another is born, then a very special girl was born on June 17th. Sharon always treated us like family, and long ago, back in that time we all spent together, I guess we were all kind of a family. Weekend getaways, trips, picnics, X-mas dinners that travelled house to house, visits from grandparents (anybody's grandparents) were all so special. One of my favourite memories is when Sharon saved John by taking him in for dinner. Mom and Dad were in London, England again, they had the foresight to leave Sarah with you for the week but the three of us were left to fend for ourselves (we were probably 12, 10 and 8 but could have been younger I can't remember which trip it was). I got home late from school for some reason that I don't recall and Bill had done the cooking, he made Kraft Dinner soup (way too much milk) and had burnt the sausages. John was the last one home and had the soupiest KD and the blackest sausage. When he ran away from home he went directly to your home. He knew where to run. Sharon fed him and made him feel better. My thoughts will be with you on Friday as they have been since Karrie called on Saturday. Raise a glass of scotch and toast a life well lived. XO Ted, Anna, Jessie, Ali, Colin and Simon Newbigging
- Posted by: Ted Newbigging on: Jun 21, 2012
- Hi Erich and your beautiful family
It is a sad day today as we receive news of the passing of a dear friend..a super mother, grandmother, wife, and a well respected and extremely popular, talented and devoted community leader..a friend that has given most of her life to her family and to people in need...Winnipeg and DND has lost a special person of honour and commitment!
Her true passion was helping people..with her incredible talent of counseling and caring for people from all walks of life..particularly those with special needs..
Her passing has a profound impact on all of us.
She died doing what she loved most: talking to people and seeing how she could help..just a super friend that we will all miss dearly...
She was a person that could make you laugh when you're feeling great and make you laugh when you're having a bad day.
Whether we share tears or light hearted memories of Sharon, please know that she is very much a part of our lives, even though she is not here..
She was an exceptional person and I am sure a real fighter to have bravely endured all the suffering and indignities of pain..without complaining or ever putting her own interest before those of her family or many friends
Sharon's quality of life threatened to be further limited that none of us truly would want her to return to endure more suffering.
There is nothing that we can say that will fill the sudden hole in our hearts. We mourn with you Erich, Karrie, Kirsten, Hannelore, Heidi and your beautiful families.. and we join you in your grief.
We shall miss her, but the wonderful memories will never die...and to the family we ask that you take solace from the love and support of friends and in particular all of our "DND gang" who loved her so much!
We shall never forget the wonderful times that we shared together in Europe, the wonderful times with her parents, the wonderful trips with our families through the Black Forest, the picnics with the kids, Nilma's trip to LaRochelle..her visits to Arizona..to mention a few experiences.
Please accept our deepest sympathies in this time of sadness.
Sincerely with love and fond memories!
We love you Sharon. God Bless!
Peter and Nilma
- Posted by: Peter and Nilma Gazzola (Friends) on: Jun 20, 2012
- We have wonderful memories of Sharon from our times together in Germany. She was a warm and generous friend whose memory we will cherish. Our warmest sympathy and sincere condolences to her family.
Harold & Nicole
- Posted by: Harold&Nicole Knapp (friends) on: Jun 20, 2012
- I had met lovely Sharon and Erich already several times through their daughters when they came visiting in Golden, BC. One year during Christmas season at the Craft Faire I introduced them to my (new) extremely shy son, Larry (who was just turning five that month). I was volunteering and handling admission tickets at the front entrance. Having just become a part of our family that summer, Larry was very nervous when it came to meeting new people. He would often hide his head and not speak.
So when Sharon and Erich asked if he would like to go with them to walk around the craft faire, I was positive he would refuse. Erich said something to the effect, "Larry, you look bored, why don't you come with us and take a look around?". A pause. Then Sharon, seeing his reluctance, held our her hand and said, "Let's see what trouble we can find, shall we?" Larry took her outstretched hand and walked off without another thought. This small remembrance is just one in thousands that reflect Sharon's engaging personality and her good spirit. Thank you Sharon for being a part of our lives.
- Posted by: Tracy Bear and family (family friend) on: Jun 20, 2012
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