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Obituary for Sharon Ann Ash

Sharon Ann Ash (nee Eide)

Sharon was born January 19, 1942 to Alvin Eide and Margaret (nee Tomten) Eide in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She was baptized at Bells Coulee Lutheran Church and confirmed at Mindoro Lutheran Church, where she was the organist during all four years of high school. Following graduation, she attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and then La Crosse State (now UW – La Crosse.) Her first job after college was serving as a Girl Friday to Dr. Michael Watunya, a GP who also served as the county coroner. Sharon’s most difficult task was transcribing the autopsy of the murder of one of the doctor’s young patients.

On October 10, 1964 she married Henry Keith Ash at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in La Crosse. Five years later, they moved to Chicago for Henry’s new position. Early positions at Monsanto and other places led her to a 24-year position at Illinois Tool Works, Inc. (ITW.) She began in engineering and progressed through the ranks, retiring as Office Manager and Assistant to the Executive Vice President. Her proudest accomplishments were spearheading the United Way Campaigns – which achieved 100% company participation – and editing the company-wide newsletter Concrete Facts.

Off the job, Sharon also wrote her own book: Salt of the Earth. It was an homage to her family, the title taken from her father, who loved his Mindoro community and always described his friends there as “salt of the earth.”

In both Chicago and La Crosse, Sharon dedicated countless hours of her life volunteering in her church and community. Volunteering for the night shift at the Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) program at Schaumburg’s Prince of Peace Church led her to train to become a certified Stephen Minister, which helped her develop lifelong friendships with many of the troubled people she encountered at the shelter. Sharon and Henry also volunteered at Augustana Center -- a haven for disabled children – and Sharon would eventually join its Board of Governors. Her proudest day was when a small park was opened on the premises for the children’s use there.

Thirty-four years after moving to Chicago, Sharon and Henry returned to the La Crosse area and settled in Holmen. She continued her many volunteer activities: training to become a volunteer child advocate at Stepping Stones (a center for abused children), in many capacities with the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP), many nursing homes, and on various writing projects. She was also a member of the Mindoro Boardwalk Book Club and the Red Hat group.

Sharon was a voracious reader of the mystery and biography genres. She normally read 2 – 3 books a week and regularly exchanged large grocery bags of paperbacks with best friend and fellow bookworm Barbara DuCharme. She had a special “reading chair” in her Holmen home, but carried at least one book with her everywhere she went.

In retirement, Sharon and Henry also enjoyed traveling the world. They visited Ixtapta, Mexico twice; Ireland; and have been to all but four US States – including Alaska and Hawaii. They spent their 50th wedding anniversary in style visiting Paris, France!

Sharon is survived by her beloved husband and best friend of fifty-eight years, Henry Keith Ash. She is also survived by sister, Mary Elizabeth (David) Kastenschmidt of Mindoro, WI. Treasured aunt of Dr. Kimberly (Kevin) Woyach of Racine, WI and their son, Sebastian; Gregory (Patty) Kastenschmidt and their boys, Dylan, Damian, Hunter, Ethan, and Zach of Mindoro, WI; Carol (Mark) Maier-Lichtenberger and daughter Paige of Mount Prospect, IL; Sally Martinsen, her daughter Beth (Luke Moretti) Martinsen, and grandson Louis of Mount Prospect, IL; Heather (Dominic) Ash Cianciolo and their children Dean and Elora of Oak Park, IL; Benjamin K. Ash of Hazelwood, MO; and Pam (Dave) Jones, their daughter, Barbara (Chris) Sullivan and granddaughters Lily Grace and Lindley Sullivan of Delhi, LA ; Julie Hall of St. Louis, MO; and James (Wendy) Ash of Farmington, MO. She is also survived by lifelong friend Barbara DuCharme; treasured friends Rich Ernst, Bob & Diana Sanders, Jon & Kim Evans, Julie Hass & family, and Yolanda & Mario Dread. Sharon was godmother to their children Victoria, Alexandria, and Philip Dread. She also leaves behind beloved fur baby, Pritzi, who was able to visit her mom in the hospital, and who will continue to be a joy and comfort for Henry.

Preceding Sharon in death were her parents, Alvin and Margaret (nee Tomten) Eide; an Augustana Child named George; awesome cousin Elizabeth Ann Enos; aunts and uncles Walter, Blaine, and Arthur Tomten, and Alma (Tomten) Enos; and her grand-nephew Brian Martinsen. She looked forward to again seeing fur babies who’d crossed the Rainbow Bridge: Kelly, Princess, Tanni, and Savannah.

Her loved ones know she’s finally reunited in Heaven with family and friends, especially her beloved parents whom she’d missed every day, as we will miss Sharon.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you do something nice for a stranger. If you’d like to make a donation in Sharon’s memory, please consider the following charities:

Henry & Sharon Ash Scholarship Foundation Viterbo University Viterbo Drive La Crosse, WI 54601

Coulee Region Humane Society Onalaska, WI

The funeral service will be livestreamed on Mindoro Lutheran Church’s Facebook Page.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m., February 3, 2023, at Mindoro Lutheran Church. Pastor Emma Grinde will officiate. Burial will follow in Farmington Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m., until the time of service, February 3, at the church.

Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at