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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Remembering Sharon

July 2, 2016, A beautiful day in Spokane and the Heritage Chapel  was filled to capacity.  Family, friends and co-workers gathered to show their respect to our Sharon.

Officiating Deacon Dan Ritchie read several verses about God’s timing (Ecclesiastes). Also, 
Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

A video of Sharon from childhood until just recently, came next.

Darrell  ( Sharon's brother ) shared some personal stories about Sharon.       Not everyone had heard about Darrell, age 3   taking an ax, the forbidden ax and while Sharon held a chip of wood with her tiny one year old hand,  Darrell chopped.    Sharon’s  pointer finger on her left hand was cut .She lost about 1/3 of  her finger.     She loved to remind him through the years and always with a smile.  
He also praised her hospitality and cooking.  He pulled out a packet of Uncle Dan’s dressing and the hand written note that Sharon had  sent , telling me how to prepare it just the way Darrell prefered it.  We got the impression, mine was never quite like Sharon’s.

But the real message he shared was about Sharon’s faith. 
First.:  Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his won.
I Corinthians 15:55, 57 O death where is thy sting? O grave thy victory?  But thanks be to God which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thess. 4:13 – 18
 And this opened the door to many verses telling the way of salvation.
Amos 4:12 Prepare to meet thy God
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and You shall be saved
IICor. 6:2 Behold now is the accepted time
Romans 5:1 Being justified by faith we have peace
Luke 15:7 There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents.

Darrell asked Mimi  to come to the microphone to share the letter that Tiffany had written. She is recovering from surgery and could not make the trip.   It pretty much describes the Sharon we know and love.

Tiffany is heartbroken she cannot be here today, but wrote the following to honor her special aunt.

Auntie Sharon didn’t have a favorite niece and I didn’t have a favorite aunt, but she and I had a special relationship from the day I was born. Maybe it was due to being her first niece or that I was born the day after her birthday. Most likely she was simply a really cool aunt who made me feel like a #1 focus. It was a bond I have cherished all these years and will forever think back on fondly.
As early as I can remember, visiting auntie meant loads of fun. She would take me shopping, let me help take care of her cats and adventure on the farm. I felt like an adult trying on her high heeled shoes and riding in her sports car with the windows down and music playing loudly.
When I was 9 she asked me to be her Maid of Honor. Auntie had loads of friends…many who are here today…and she asked me, a kid. It’s possible she second guessed this decision, as I could be very sassy in my youth. Her big heart look passed my behavior; a trait that shined in every aspect of her life.
After she built her dream home, visits seemed amplified. We would race up to visit, knowing she would have the hot tub ready and snacks waiting. A great movie always followed. In the morning, Auntie would have breakfast ready, having already fed the animals and watered the stunning garden. It wasn’t until years later I realized how hard she worked both at home & in business.
As I got older, the visits didn’t happen as often due to life & schedules. Our time shopping was less about buying new things, but rather the company and catching up. I realized her loving, caring nature was with everyone. The dedication to her family & home was echoed with her business ethic and integrity.
When Sebastian first visited the farm, it reminded me of my trip as a child. I watched Sharon give him food to feed the chickens, a basket to pick raspberries and set up the sprinkler for summer time fun. That was the natural thoughtfulness and kindness within her.
These are the memories and moments I’ll think back on when remembering auntie. Her unwavering love, endless time and devotion to everyone and everything in her life. She was my aunt, my friend, and my memory of her is a treasure.

The final speaker was Tim Abbey , who had been Sharon’s supervisor.   There were two things that he learned about Sharon from the very first meeting.  Sharon loved the Lord and she loved cats. There was no such thing as a funny cat joke.  The large picture in her office of a cat saying "Cats are beyond human" was a constant reminder.
 From his message, and conversations later, Sharon was very highly respected and loved.   She had that strong Tanner work ethic and for 48 years she held herself to a high standard. She had a very special interest in the care and placement of children, through Child Protective Services and her position in that department .  She was influential in finding  homes for 1500 -2000  children. 
One of the scriptures he read was 

Proverbs 31:20-31King James Version (KJV)20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth theLord, she shall be praised.31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Several songs were played through the hour, but the final song, “Put Your Head on my Shoulder” was the heart breaker.  It had been “their” song and  brought tears to many.

A very nice lunch was served following the service, thanks especially to Janet Baden.
Friends came  from Portland, Tacoma, Tri-Cities , Seattle and beyond. 

It is difficult to process all the feelings and conversations of the day, for now this gives a good idea of how Sharon was honored.

Sharon was as close to me as my own sister. That is what we called each other.   No one will ever take her place in my heart. I am blessed to have over 50 years of memories with a true and faithful friend.       
 Sharing these  memories with my love, Kathy          

Below  is the Newspaper announcement. . .

Sharon Tanner AKINS (1943 - 2016)

AKINS, Sharon Tanner

On June 20th, 2016, Sharon passed from this life into the Kingdom of Heaven. She battled for over a week following a heart attack while on her way to Sunday worship. During this time family and many friends maintained a constant vigil at her bedside until she peacefully passed surrounded by family.

Sharon was born February 10th, 1943 in Spokane to Meinrad and Eva Tanner. She and her older brother Darrell were raised on the family dairy farm overlooking Hangman Valley. This is where her "addiction" and love for cats began. Sharon attended Glenora Grade School with her 8th grade graduation class totaling three students. She continued her education at Cheney High School where she graduated in 1961. Her education was completed at Eastern State College with a degree in social work in 1965.

It was during this time she traveled extensively with her brother and friends which provided cultural experiences from Europe and Africa. She especially enjoyed visiting relatives in Switzerland and Hawaii held a special place in her heart.

Following graduation, Sharon began her 48-year career with the State of Washington. Initially, she worked with Child Protective Services maintaining exemplary service with this agency for most of her career. In 1979, she transferred to the Department of Corrections where she worked as a probation and parole officer and met her future husband. In 1989, she transferred back to CPS where she continued her commitment to provide service to others. She especially enjoyed her most recent role as supervisor of the adoption unit where many children and their new parents were united and families formed. Throughout her career, Sharon touched many lives, was valued by her co-workers six respected by the courts and the many community resources.

In addition to her compassionate work with children, Sharon will be remembered for her boundless energy, wonderful smile, wise counsel, desire to help and a friend to anyone she came into contact with. Her peers at work described her as gentle but strong, pushing her staff to believe in themselves and encouraging them to be the best. She was loved by all who knew her.

Sharon met her husband Joe when working for corrections and they were married April 10th, 1982. The following year they built a home on the original family homestead, enjoying country living for the next 33 years. In 1985, Joe and Sharon welcomed their daughter Julie into their lives who provided much joy and love for her mother. Sharon was a committed and caring mom to Julie as well as her stepsons, Jerred and Remi. Throughout these years, Sharon enjoyed family gatherings, displaying a culinary expertise, especially her memorable Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Since her retirement, Sharon has enjoyed working in her flower gardens and caring for her numerous cats. She has continued to maintain work-related friendships through ongoing lunches with retirees and former co-workers. Sharon has continued to be involved in adoption issues, attending the National Adoption Day celebration each year. She was passionate about women's issues, continuing to be active in organizations such as Women Helping Women. Sharon also looked forward each year to her Cheney High School reunion, maintaining many friendships from this class throughout the years.

Sharon has been a member of her church, "The Meeting," all her life. She lived her life as a Christian, practicing her faith and demonstrating those values in her everyday interactions.

Sharon is survived by her husband, Joe Akins, at the home in Spokane; daughter Julie Akins of Seattle; stepson Jerred Akins (Tami) of Snohomish, stepson Remi Akins of Spokane; brother Darrell Tanner (Kathy) of Bellevue, brother-in-law John Akins (Cathy) of Diamond Lake; brother-in-law Pat Akins (Teri) of Priest Lake; grandchildren Drew and Alex of Snohomish; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Sharon was preceded in death by her parents. She also leaves behind several cats, most important are her favorites Tabby, Snowball and Shadow.

The family wishes to express their appreciation for the compassionate care provided by the Sacred Heart ICU and the 7th floor staff.

A Celebration of Sharon's Life will be held Saturday, July 2nd at 11am at Heritage Funeral Home, 508 W. Government Way, Spokane, WA 99224.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) at 6815 E. Trent Ave., Spokane Valley, WA 99212. Sharon currently has a commemorative plaque at that location celebrating her 48 years of state service. 

1 comment:

Lisette said...

How beautiful Kathy.