April 11, 2013


Sharon Kirby, 81, died Monday, April 8, 2013, at Wesley Village in Indianola, Iowa,following a brief battle with liver cancer.

Funeral will be at noon Friday, April 12, at Woodlawn Christian Church in Lake City, with visitation beginning at 11 a.m. Burial will be at Lake City Cemetery. Lunch will follow at the Church. Lampe Funeral Home in Lake City is handling arrangements.

Memorials may be directed to education and children - scholarship funding at Simpson College or Blank Children's Hospital.

Sharon Ruelle Sharkey Kirby was born March 21, 1932, to John Gilbert and Blanche Evelyn (Taylor) Sharkey in Lake City, Iowa. She married Dean Paul Kirby on Valentine's Day in 1951. From this union, four children were born - Shelly Jolene, John Paul, Kayla Ruelle, and Bryon Dean. Sharon and Dean started farming north of Lake City and later moved to the Lohrville area.

Sharon was active in Woodlawn Christian Church in Lake City. She also was leader of many youth groups - Rainbow, 4-H, Junior Garden Club to name a few. Sharon served on the Lohrville Community School Board as she was an ardent supporter of the importance of excellent public education. Sharon and Dean later divorced, and Sharon moved to Indianola, Iowa, where she opened a children's clothing store, KinderHAUS. In addition, she became housemother at Pi Beta Phi fraternity house at Simpson College. She loved being in the midst of the higher-education environment and access to interesting speakers and music events and sports on campus. During her time at Pi Beta Phi, the chapter twice was awarded the Balfour Cup, which is given to the top Pi Beta Phi Chapter internationally. Sharon served in that position for 23 years before retiring in 2005. Following her retirement, the fraternity initiated Sharon into Pi Beta Phi.

Sharon also loved traveling, especially with her sister Jolene Mapel. They took many extended road trips in which they followed the road as they went, sometimes as long as a month at a time. Some of her happiest memories were summers spent at a lake home in Wisconsin where they shared fun with Sharon's niece and nephew Penney and Bob.

In the last two years, Sharon had moved to an apartment at the Village retirement community in Indianola. She enjoyed many fascinating new friends she met there. She especially enjoyed playing games and was a regular at Mah Jong and Rummicube.

Most of all, Sharon loved her time with her family, and she was proud of them all.

She loved flowers and gardening having served as chairman of the State Junior Garden Club, music (especially Des Moines Metro Opera and student operas at Simpson College), and reading (her favorites were science fiction and fantasy).

Sharon was a member of Eastern Star, P.E.O. Chapter NG, and the Indianola Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club.

Sharon is survived by her sister Jolene Sharkey Mapel, Carroll, Iowa; aunt Bessie Sharkey Hendricks, Lake City, Iowa; children: Shelly Jolene Priebe (Gregory) Indianola, Iowa, John Paul Kirby (Carol) Carroll, Iowa, Kayla Ruelle Reese (Barry)Gladbrook, Iowa and Bryon Dean Kirby (Diane) Lohrville, Iowa; grandchildren: Zachary Clarke Priebe, Margaret Elizabeth Priebe Johnston (Bradley), Tucker Kirby Priebe, Jacob Taylor Kirby, Jessica Ruelle Reese Faith (David), Thomas Robert Reese, Amanda Kay Kirby, and Justin Taylor Kirby; special friends who were like family; and many dear nieces, nephews and cousins.

Her parents preceded her in death.