Long time Lander resident Sharon Kathleen Gist passed away on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, at the Westward Heights Care Center in Lander, Wyoming, following a long and valiant effort to recover from a devastating stroke.
Sharon was born on April 6, 1941, in Casper, Wyoming, to Kenneth McCary Toole and Doris Eleanor Williams. Sharon’s parents’ divorced when she was still very young, but her mother later married Arnold Rufenacht, who raised Sharon as his own.
Sharon graduated from high school in Glenrock, Wyoming, after which she attended Casper College for one year before going on to attend the University of Wyoming where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.
Sharon married Richard Dan “Dick” Gist in Casper, Wyoming, on August 6, 1965. Shortly after their marriage Dick entered the United States Army and the two were initially stationed in Louisiana and California. Prior to and during his tour of duty, Sharon taught elementary school in Casper, Louisiana and California. When Dick deployed to Vietnam, Sharon returned to Casper where their son, Timothy W. Gist, was born on August 9, 1969. After Dick returned from overseas and was discharged from the Army, the couple moved to Lander, Wyoming, where Dick practiced law. Sharon worked with Dick as an administrative assistant, bookkeeper, and office manager for 19 years, finally retiring in hopes that Dick would too. After Dick retired in 2004, they traveled with good friends to many wonderful places.
Sharon was a very active member of the Order of Eastern Star (OES), Olivet Chapter No. 3, and of PEO Chapter Q, and Chapter BB, of which she was a founding member. Sharon was also a founding member of PEO Chapter BB. Sharon served both OES and PEO in many capacities including numerous times as Worthy Matron in Eastern Star and as President of PEO Chapter BB. In addition, Sharon served the Grand Chapter of Wyoming, in many capacities including as Grand Treasurer and later was given the distinction and honor of being appointed as Grand Treasurer Emeritus.
Sharon loved many things: to read, do intricate counter-cross stitch, her home and flowers, making silk floral arrangements, and her friends and sisters. But, most of all Sharon loved her family and was particularly proud of her son, Tim, daughter-in-law, Cora, and her three wonderful grandchildren Emma, Noah, and Olivia. For Sharon, her family came first and were most important. Sharon was blessed by having her grandchildren with her almost every afternoon when they were in grade school.
Sharon was known by her friends as being very kind, caring and compassionate. Sharon enjoyed helping others and giving gifts of her counter-cross stitch work, jewelry, and other items – not because she expected or wanted anything in return but because she thought the gift might bring pleasure to the recipient.
Sharon was preceded in death by her parents, her stepfather, and her brother Richard “Rick” Rufenacht. Sharon is survived by her husband Dick of 53-years; her son Tim and his wife Cora — who was more a daughter to her than a daughter-in-law; her three grandchildren – Emma Lee, Noah Patrick, and Olivia Grace; her brother Ronald “Ron” Rufenacht, and sisters-in-law Karen Rufenacht and Judith Skatrud (Keith), all of Casper; sister-in-law Ann Gist of Cody, Wyoming; and nephew Terry Gist of Aurora, Colorado.
A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Lander, Wyoming, located at 262 North Third Street, on Friday, November 9, 2018, at 11:00 a.m.. A luncheon will follow at the church.
Because Sharon believed in advanced education of the youth, in lieu of flowers, the family would request donations be made to either the scholarship funds of OES, Olivet Chapter No. 3, c/o Shannon Horton, 16 Mary Ann Drive, Lander, Wyoming, 82520; or to PEO Chapter BB, c/o Andrea Kenney, 620 Brodie Street, Lander, Wyoming, 82520; or a local charity of the donor’s choice focused on youth education.
There is an on-line Condolence Guestbook at www.HudsonsFuneralHome.com and the family would appreciate hearing your thoughts and special memories of Sharon.