Sharon Gaulke, 80, of Iowa Falls, Iowa, passed away Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at the Mercy Medical Center in Mason City, Iowa. Funeral sevices for Sharon will be at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at the First United Methodist Church; 619 Main Street, Iowa Falls, Iowa. Visitation will be held one hour prior from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m., also at the First United Methodist Church of Iowa Falls. Memorials may be directed to the family: Sharon Gaulke; c/o Linn’s Funeral Home; 1521 Washington Avenue; Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126 (linnsfuneralhome.com).
Sharon Kay Shephard was born to Harold (Bus) Shephard and Mary Shephard on a farm south of Iowa Falls on February 19, 1937. She graduated from Eldora High School in 1955 and enrolled in Ellsworth Junior College where she met her future husband, Richard Gaulke. The couple was married June 3, 1956, in the Eldora Methodist Church. They moved to Iowa City where Richard earned a degree in Economics while Sharon worked as a dental assistant for two years at the University’s College of Dentistry.
In 1958 Sharon and Richard moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where they both worked at Lincoln Life Insurance. Sharon operated a Marchant calculator to calculate reinsurance premiums. In November of 1959 the couple had their first child, John Gaulke and then David in 1962.
The couple moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they both were employed by the Collins Radio Company (Rockwell Collins). They built a home in Marion where their daughter, Mary Kay, died in infancy in 1964. James Gaulke was born in Cedar Rapids in 1965.
Sharon and Richard moved to Iowa Falls in 1967 where Sharon found employment at Boyt Luggage and Scenic Manor Nursing Home, and Richard taught Economics at Ellsworth Junior College. Both were partners in their home based photography studio for over 20 years where Sharon was the receptionist and office manager. Their fourth son, Daniel, was born in 1968.
In 1991 Sharon and Richard spent a year working in Manchester, England. Sharon volunteered to work in a toy library where she helped many special needs children. They joined a photography club and a Methodist Church where they made many close friends who took them on motoring trips all over England, Scotland, and Wales. Sharon’s friends taught her to use public transportation such as double-decked buses, black cabs, and high-speed trains to London.
Sharon was fit and enjoying life until she was suddenly struck down with pneumonia and admitted to the Hansen Family Hospital on May 10, 2017. She was soon transferred to Mercy Medical in Mason City where she lived another week in the Critical Care Unit. That week permitted all her children and most of her grandchildren to gather around her for a final embrace of love, kisses and tears. She was conscious and able to talk and show her love to her last breath.
She is survived by her husband Richard, four sons: John and wife LeAnn of Altoona, Iowa , David and wife Natasha of Dayton, Ohio, James and wife Shae of Hillman, Minnesota, and Daniel and wife Anita of Marion, Iowa; eleven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and brother Raymond Shephard of Denton, Texas.
Sharon was preceded in death by her infant daughter Mary Kay Gaulke; parents Harold and Mary Shephard; and sister Linda Shephard.