MISSOULA — Sharon Kaye Gaffney passed away Dec. 13, 2019 after a fierce battle with colon and brain cancer. She was surrounded by her daughter, Stacie and sister, Shelley. Sharon was born March 6, 1942 in Bremerton, Washington to Monte and Berthamae Gaffney. While in Washington, Sharon, along with her older sister, Noreen, and their parents, shared many fun times with relatives and friends.
The family moved to Medicine Lake in 1948 where Monte joined his brother in the Oliver Implement business. Sharon attended public school in Medicine Lake and graduated from high school in 1960. She was a cheerleader, active in band and choir, prom queen, and Miss Softball of Sheridan County. Sharon worked as a cashier at Jack & Jill Grocery Store during high school.
After high school, Sharon attended Northern Montana College in Havre and earned her AA in business. She was crowned Snowball Queen in her second year. After college, Sharon moved to Great Falls and worked at Fort Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge as their Clerk-Stenographer. Sharon then moved to Missoula and worked at a real estate appraisal firm and a local tire store before starting at Missoula County in 1975. All but six months were in the Extension Office and she retired at the end of April, 2019. During her time at Missoula County, she served as treasurer for the Missoula County Republican Central Committee. Sharon also worked at JoAnn Fabric and Craft store in Missoula nights and weekends for many years, sharing her expertise with customers.
Sharon was involved in the community and belonged to Zonta, worked with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Program, and volunteered at the Battered Women’s Shelter.
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Sharon had many friends and they have described her as loving, generous, feisty-fun, quick on her feet, effervescent, a true friend always there when needed, adventurous and full of laughs when something tickled her fancy! She loved the outdoors and could be seen walking or biking around Missoula. She even snuck out of her hospital bed after surgery to take a walk outside! She loved cheering for the Grizzlies and the Osprey where she could be heard yelling in her best cheerleader voice “to the river” when the Osprey were up to bat! Sharon loved reading and learning new things. She was very artistic, loved her quilting, and was famous for making her pillowcases.
Sharon loved each and every one of her cats and treated them as the queens of the household.
Sharon was preceded in death by her father, mother and brother, Tom. Sharon is survived by her daughter, Stacie (Farrell) Stensrud, sisters Noreen Gaffney, Terri Nikolaisen, and Shelley Heiserman, grandchildren Kenna and Drew Stensrud, four nieces and three nephews and her friend, Bob Scott.
Per Sharon’s wishes there will be no memorial service. Cremation has taken place and Sharon will be buried next to her parents in Medicine Lake at a later date. Please celebrate Sharon however you choose. Donations in her honor can be made to Medicine Lake High School, 311 Young Street, Medicine Lake, MT 59247, AniMeals of Missoula, or the American Cancer Society. The family would like to thank Hospice of Missoula for their gentle and loving care for Sharon.