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SHARON JEAN MYERS

It is with profound sadness that the family of Sharon Jean Myers announces the unexpected passing of their dear beautiful wife, mother, sister, and friend on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017.

Following a short illness and surrounded by family, Sharon went to be with her Lord.

Born in Winnipeg, Man. on Sept. 9, 1946, her early life was spent in Sioux Lookout, Ont., where her family resided in her early years. She always was from Sioux Lookout for anyone who asked, but in reality she was a part of Fort Frances for most of her life.

She moved to Fort Frances with her family when her father, Ron Balkwill, became the District Forester of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Sharon immediately captured the heart of her lifelong friend and partner, John Myers. It wasn't easy but he eventually caught her attention and they were married on Sept. 29, 1966.

Sharon, after attending high school in Fort Frances, studied nursing in Thunder Bay, Ont. and when first married, she worked at the Fort Frances clinic under Dr. Boyle (what stories). She left the clinic to work with John at the family business, Rusty Myers Flying Service.

Sharon then branched out into her own business by purchasing the Tiny Tot Shop from Eva and Ole Hallikus in 1971. Sharon operated the business until 1983, at which time she left to became an integral part of the operations of her husband's business, McDonald's Restaurant in Fort Frances.

Many employees of McDonald's will remember Sharon's star program, in which Sharon hand-picked her special candidates to participate and lead the other employees in delivering exceptional service.

In 1997, Sharon decided to return to nursing, a profession she was especially passionate about. She retrained in preparation at Rainy River Community College in International Falls, Mn.

During her retraining, Sharon didn't realize there was an acceptable grade under 100. She argued with one her professors, who said he never awarded 100 percent, but Sharon said, “But I earned a 100 percent.” The professor finally relented and broke a longstanding rule and awarded the 100 percent she had earned.

Sharon was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honour society of junior colleges, from the very beginning of her time at the college, and was recognized nationally for her achievements in USA Today. Sharon was a published author.

Sharon worked at Good Samaritan in International Falls and at the Little Fork Care Center. She was recruited to teach nursing at Rainy River Community College and later at Confederation College in Fort Frances. She loved to mentor students, and she loved being involved with the hospitals and nursing homes in the area as she led new nursing students in clinical practice.

She also worked as the Director of Nursing at Rainycrest. Sharon retired from nursing upon being diagnosed with breast cancer. Sharon was a cancer survivor of 12 years, a fact she was very proud of.

Upon retirement, Sharon spent her summers at her beloved island on Rainy Lake and, after Christmas, her favourite time of the year, she would travel to Cancun, Mexico. She felt at home there. She loved to walk the white sand beaches, where she could be found picking shells and wiling away the hours visiting with friends, and admiring the beautiful sunrises and sunsets as the days past.

Once home, Sharon would spend her time painting and decorating bird houses and lamps and mirrors with all beautiful shells she brought home from Mexico or Sanibel.

Sharon skied the mountains of Jackson, Wyoming when she was young with her young family, and her thoughts often turned to her love of the mountains.

Sharon loved life and her family, and being with her grandchildren and her friends. She was a proud member of Beta Sigma Phi and all of her sorority sisters were special to her.

Sharon was predeceased by her mother, Edna Gertrude Balkwill; father, Ronald Archer Balkwill; and her dear aunt, Jean Adams of Sioux Lookout, Ont.

Left to survive with heavy hearts are her husband, John Myers; daughter, Jennifer Coombe and husband, Charles Coombe, and daughter, Carole Anne Myers; grandchildren, John Anthony Myers and Rachel Ann Myers; and in-laws, Tom and Carole Coombe.

She also is survived by her brothers, Don Balkwill and wife, JoAnne, of Toronto, Ont., John Balkwill and wife, Chris, of Phoenix, Ariz., Alan Balkwill and wife, Joy, of St. Catharines, Ont., and Neal Balkwill and wife, Cindy, of Winnipeg, Man.; favourite brother-in-law, Frank Myers and wife, Evelyn, of Fort Frances, Ont.; sister-in-law, Janet Peters of Winnipeg, Man.; nieces and nephews, Tyler and Katie Balkwill, Nicolas and Adrian Balkwill, Ainsley and Kelly Balkwill, Kim Wright and Krissy Desaulniers, Jamie Peters, Steven Peters, and Suzanne Wolfe; great-nieces and nephews; and her neighbour, sweet Hope.

Special to Sharon's heart are her Godsons, Tom and Todd Kenny and their families.

Also surviving is her favourite aunt, Marilyn Eisenstein of Victoria, B.C.

Cremation has taken place.

A funeral service to celebrate Sharon's life will be held Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 at 11 a.m. at Knox United Church in Fort Frances.

The honourary pallbearers are Judy Deschamps, Mitzi Armstrong, Veryl Good, Laurie Callahan, Cathy Emes and JoAnne White, Lori Clendenning, Kristi Albright, and Leah Woods.

Sharon also requested mention to be made of all of those who worked with her in nursing, teaching, and her nursing students who were so special to her.

Donations in Sharon's memory will be gratefully received by the Knox United Renewal Fund, Riverside Foundation for Health Care, or an organization of your choice supporting Lupus research.