Sharon Ann Wood, 80, of Appleton, WI, unexpectedly and peacefully passed away from complications of heart disease on April 11th, 2023.
Sharon was born on August 25th, 1942 to Francis and Catherine Yegge (Antonaros) in Long Beach, CA. She was third among six children, raised in a loving, Catholic family. Their childhood homes were all in the Inland Empire region of California, where they grew up climbing and picking fruit from orange, fig and pomegranate trees, raising animals and riding horses. After graduating from high school, Sharon worked as a flight attendant and earned an Associate’s Degree, eventually taking an administrative position at Edwards Air Force base in California where she met a pilot, Howard L. Brown Jr. They married in 1964 and went on to have four children, Laura, Howard III (Munk), Michael, and Matthew—all of whom she loved dearly and unconditionally.
Eventually settling in Wisconsin, Sharon was primarily a mother and homemaker, and later worked for a number of years in administrative roles, most recently at the Appleton YMCA and Kimberly-Clark. In 1988, she married Lynn Wood and became step-mother to Kathy, Kevin, and Mark. Sharon and Lynn nurtured a loving, blended family. The familial bond between the children, grandchildren, cousins and their extended families, is strong and evergreen.
Sharon spent her later years working with developmentally disabled children in the Appleton public schools and as a child care provider. After her retirement, she continued volunteering, following her life-long love of children, first, as a trained Catechist of the Good Shepherd, then as a volunteer Sunday school teacher at Alliance Church.
Sharon’s deep Christian faith was a source of joy, strength and purpose in her life. She was both contemplative and active in her faith. She maintained daily spiritual practices including prayer journals, thanking God for her blessings, and scripture study. She actively sought to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, in both her words as well as actions. She was always present with a joyful heart to provide a helping hand or listening ear to the least among us.
Sharon maintained a deep, life-long connection with her siblings and their children despite the geographic distance. She had many dear friends, and sparked love with her neighbors, friends, and strangers. She did not judge, pressure, or look down upon those on a different path than her own, seeing all united on a path of love. She was open to discussing her faith, and the way she lived her life—with kindness and generosity--was an example of how to holistically live as a loving and encouraging Christian member of a community.
As a mother, Sharon imbued her kids with a sense of attentiveness, creativity, generosity, empathy and adventure, encouraging them to identify and follow their passions. She honed her craft as a creative writer, while encouraging her children to explore and express themselves in writing, music, and other media. Sharon nurtured her kids’ intellectual development, working to give them opportunities that she did not have in her life, always supporting them as they forged their individual paths. Despite an early baking setback that she would recount with a smile, she became a fantastic cook and baker–love was an ingredient in every meal. She tended her plants with this same spirit, which were green (her favorite color), prolific, and clearly well-nurtured in her home.
Sharon was a loving grandma to her biological and step-grandchildren, and many of her friends’ children remember happy times playing games with Grandma Sharon. She always came for visits like Mary Poppins, with surprises in her travel bag. She also served as a grandma figure to neighborhood children and provided volunteer English language tutoring to members of the Vietnamese refugee and Hmong communities in Appleton.
Sharon had an ability to see the world as a child. She connected with the pure, peaceful, joyful, and thankful spirit of children. She would give her grandkids sweet nicknames and find ways to have special one-on-one time; whether during playtime when they were little, lunch dates when they were school-age, or spending cherished visits with her adult granddaughters when they drove up to cook and catch up with her on the new happenings in their lives.
Sharon was a special sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend. She will be dearly missed, and always remembered.
Sharon Ann Wood was preceded in death by her parents Francis and Catherine, siblings Frank (Delores) and Barbara (Don), and second husband Lynn (Marcia) Wood. She is survived by sisters Catherine (Roger) Taylor, Susie (Bill) and Deborah (Charlie) Yegge; first husband Howard Louis (Peggy) Brown, Jr; daughter Laura (Leif) Esbensen; sons Howard Louis III (“Munk”), Michael Francis (Jehan) Brown, and Matthew Edward (Karin) Brown; Lynn and Jane’s children Kathy (Sam) Eustice, Kevin (TerriBeth) Wood, and Mark Wood; grandchildren Karyn (Alex) Esbensen Dyble, Rebekka and Celia Esbensen, Ruby, Cora and Leo Brown, Zadie and Milo Brown, Emily (Ben) DeMoulin and Hunter, Reid and Levi, Anna (Ben) Geyer and Leona, Jena (Billy) Kratz and Kolton and Rhys, Carli (Paul) and Wilson Wood, Nahani Wood, Teale (Amos) and Kemmer Cook; and her many beloved nieces, nephews, extended family members, and dear friends.
There will be a 10:00 a.m. visitation and 11:00 a.m. Christian burial service and Eucharist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 226 Washington St., Menasha, WI 54952 on Friday, April 28, 2023. A private inurnment at St. Joseph’s Cemetery will follow. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, please consider prayer, an act of kindness, and/or a charitable donation in Sharon’s memory.
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