A piece of my heart is gone

Filed Under Family | 40 comments

Sharon Dale Doty Sauther

 buy this photo Sharon Sauther

Today the sun shines a little less bright and the skies are a little more gray. Sharon Dale Sauther passed away early Sunday morning from complications related to diabetes. We take comfort in knowing that tonight there will be one more star in the heavens.

Sharon Dale, as she was lovingly known to friends and family, was born in Las Vegas, N.M., on Oct. 7, 1954, to Ed and Gloria Doty. The family loved music. Sharon and both sisters had beautiful voices and often sang while their mother played piano. The girls sang in church and at special events, and if you were lucky enough to attend a movie at the Fox Theatre in Salt Lake City, you might have heard the voices of Sharon, Claudia and Leslie harmonizing in the theatre lobby. Sharon loved family time and especially looked forward to the dusty trips to Kansas to visit relatives.

As the middle child, Sharon was the peacemaker and pleaser in the family, a trait that carried over into her adult life. She was happiest when doing for others. Sharon rarely complained. Even on her worst days, if you asked her how she was, she would smile and say, “Just fine.”

The Doty family moved around a bit, finally settling in Billings. Sharon attended high school at Billings West, where she was to meet her future husband. She loved this time of her life and being part of the Billings West High Majorettes. Sharon was as beautiful on the outside as she was on the inside, so making friends came easy to her. Jerry was smitten from the first time he saw her. As he likes to tell it, he turned to a friend and said, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.” As she liked to tell it, he says “it was love at first sight,” and she says “in your dreams.”

She left Billings to attend Brigham Young University in pursuit of an “M.R.S.” Although she was never in want of a date, her father often reminded her not to forget “that boy back in Montana.” Jerry was smart enough to lasso her back to Billings with an engagement ring.

Sharon liked a challenge and that’s just what she got with Jerry. Sharon and Jerry married on Sept. 13, 1975, and together raised three sons: Ryan, Derek and Tyler. Sharon was a “girlie” girl, but tough enough to adapt to a house filled with testosterone. That didn’t stop her. When she wasn’t wrestling with the boys, she was doing her best to turn them into little gentlemen (not always successfully). From a variety of dirty sports uniforms to a menagerie of animals, Sharon took it all in stride and was the biggest cheerleader for her four men. It was a busy family to say the least, yet Sharon always had time to nurture the many friendships that she had.

Sharon had a real sense of style. She liked to have fun with her clothes and could make any piece of clothing look good. Her nieces and the daughters of friends looked up to Sharon as sort of a fashion icon. She created magic during the holidays. No small detail was overlooked and both sides of the family looked forward to holiday events at the Sauthers. Whether you were a stranger or an old friend, it only took a step through the front door to feel welcome and immediately at home.

Sharon was a jack of all trades. She had her own wallpapering business, managed the Ethan Allen store, worked at Skywest, and did interior decorating. This was all done, of course, between football games, softball games, painting the house, cleaning the pool, cooking the meals, maintaining the yard, and the list goes on and on.

The last few years held some of the worst times for Jerry and Sharon and some of the best. They lost their middle son Derek in 2005, and Sharon’s dad in 2008. These sad events weighed heavily on both of them, but they were each other’s greatest strengths.

In 2007, they were overjoyed to welcome a new family member with the addition of daughter-in-law, Mindy. Ryan and Mindy were married in Park City, Utah, on July 20. Sharon was so excited to host a barn dance in their honor and worked so hard readying the barn and living quarters at Big Timber. It was at the barn that Jerry and Sharon felt the most peaceful. The barn was a work of love, built with sweat and tears by all three boys, as well as Jerry and Sharon. Like their home in Billings, Sharon’s touch made it a showcase. Jerry was always so proud of his “little blonde.”

The happiest time came last Christmas when Ryan and Mindy surprised them with a grandparents’ book to be used this summer! Sharon announced the news by simply saying, “We got pink!” They were thrilled when California D was born this past June. Sharon worked tirelessly and poured her heart into making a special quilt for “Cali,” hoping that it could become a family heirloom. She could hardly contain herself when she talked about this special baby and never tired of showing off baby pictures!

With Ryan and Mindy happily settled in Utah and Tyler coaching alongside Jerry and completing his teaching degree, life seemed to be going their way. Tyler, too, had met someone special and Sharon welcomed Meagan Rees into the family with open arms.

Sharon had an infectious personality and people of all ages were drawn to her. She laughed a lot and wasn’t afraid to be silly. She loved her Bunko group and was proud that they had played together for over 11 years. Wednesdays were especially important to Sharon. On Wednesdays, she assisted Linda Bertleson with her third grade class. Sharon fell in love with these students and they did with her.

Sharon put others before herself and that selfless trait worked against her as she battled diabetes. She hated the disease and having people worry about her. She put up a good front — to the detriment of her health. Because she acquired the disease late in life, she told herself that she could overcome it. It wore her down and she finally lost her battle.

Sharon is survived by the true love of her life, Jerry; their son, Ryan, his wife Mindy and their daughter California; their son, Tyler; and beloved four-legged “kids” Macy Rae and Cayenne. She is also survived by her mother, Gloria Doty; sister Claudia Wrightson and her children Benjamin, Adam and Brittany; sister Leslie and Tom Aitken and their children Aliesha (Tom) Kesteloot, Jessica and Matthew. She is also survived by her mother-in-law Betty and father-in-law Walter Sauther; sister-in-law Shelley and brother-in-law Randy Cline; brother-in-law Jack Sauther, his fiancée Diana Takvam.

The Sauther family would like to send a special thank you to Dr. “Spike” and the amazing ICU nurses and staff at the Billings Clinic. Spike was not only a comfort to Sharon in her last days, but a comfort for our entire family. We would also like to thank the many friends and family that made Sharon’s life worth living.

Sharon — thanks for sharing the “dash” in your life with all of us. You will be missed more than you will ever know.

God holds her in his arms until we can hold her in ours.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Diabetes Association.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. Memorial services will be held 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, at the LDS Stake Center on Wicks and Broadmoor Drive. Private interment services will take place prior to the memorial service

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January 19, 2011 at 11:01 am | Family | 40 comments


40 responses to “A piece of my heart is gone”

  1. Lynda says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your sister. You and your entire family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Donna says:

    So sorry for your loss.  My oldest son was diagnosed with this terrible disease, which seemed to come from nowhere, as neither side of the family has any history of it.  I am believing that God is taking care of him and pray they will find a cure soon.  Your sister was beautiful.

  3. Sheila says:

    Claudia, I am so very, very sorry.  There are no words. 

    What a wonderful tribute to your sweet sister, and I feel as if I knew her.  I do know one thing… she has a very, very loving sister in you.  Thinking of you and sending warm hugs across time and distance straight to you…



  4. Karen says:

    It’s so hard to loose someone so dear and obviously very special. I offer prayers for all who loved Sharon.
    Sincerely and with gentle hugs,

  5. Lou Cinda says:

    Claudia, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious sister…this was such a beautiful tribute to her and to the life she lived and lived beautifully.  How blessed she was to have you for a sister….

    I will keep you in my thoughts a prayers through these difficult days ahead.

    Lou Cinda

  6. Journey says:

    I am sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to a lovely person. All of you were blessed to have each other in your lives. May wonderful memories sustain you!

  7. Luna Miranda says:

    Claudia, my deepest condolences to you and your family.  My aunt has diabetes and was admitted to the hospital last week.  The disease has damaged her kidneys, she had blood transfusion the other day and needs a dialysis.  An uncle passed away late last year due to diabetes complications.  It is a terrible disease.  I hope your love for Sharon Dale and for  each other sustain everyone in the family.

  8. Mary Anne says:

    Dearest Claudia, what a tribute to a beautiful woman, such devotion to her friends and family are indeed an example to all. I pray that you will have the faith, strength and hope that will fill your soul with peace. Life is eternal and I know that she is surrounded by legions of friends, and family from bygone days, and in the presence of our Savior. Have sweet dreams tonite of Sharon!

  9. Cindy says:

    So sorry for your loss!

  10. Pam says:

    Claudia…my heart hurts for you.   Reading that beautiful tribute was a tiny peek into a beautiful woman.  Praying His comfort for all of you!

  11. Beverly says:

    Oh, dear Claudia.  My heart is breaking for you and your family.  My heart is full, my tears are falling, but my prayers will be constant.♥

  12. Mary says:

    Oh, Claudia, she was so young! I am so sorry for your loss. Know that you and your family are in my prayers tonight. May God bless and comfort you all. Mary

  13. Ginger says:

    Claudia, I am so sorry for the loss of you beautifully spirited sister. I pray for the comfort and peace of your family and friends at this difficult time.
    This was a beautiful tribute to her life and her influence on those she met.

  14. Angie says:

    Hi Claudia, I am so sorry for your loss.  Not only was she stunningly beautiful physically but it sounds like she was also beautiful inside.  My prayers are going out to you and your family, dear.  This was a beautiful way to remember her, and I am sure she is smiling down on you for it.  Big hug,

    Linen + Verbena

  15. Jennifer says:

    y’all are in my prayers.

  16. My condolences and prayers to your and your family. 

  17. Dear Claudia,
    It’s so sad when you loose someone so dear & close to you, especially a sister.
    Sending you all our love and our condolences.
    She will always be with you, now more than ever!
    You are in my thoughts and prayers today,
    Coty Farquhar

  18. Nancy says:

    Oh Claudia, I am so so sorry.  I know a part of you went with your sister and my heart just aches for you.  Did you write the memorial tribute?  It was just beautifully written.  I lost my only sister four years ago and I miss being able to tell her things that only she would understand.  It gets easier though.  Know that you are in my prayers.  May the Good Lord hold you in the palm of his hand and bring you peace. xo Nancy

  19. Cindy Adkins says:

    Oh Claudia, I am so very sorry for your loss..Your sister sounds like she was a totally amazing person…You are in my prayers and I pray that God will help you and your family at this time.

  20. I’m so sorry for this devastating loss for you and your family. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

  21. Donnie says:

    My heart goes out to you and yours.  This was a very sweet tribute to her.

  22. Debbie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful sister.

  23. mo says:

    My heart is breaking for you.  I am so sorry for the great loss in your life.  She is always with you.  Now she can whisper guidance into your ear at anytime.  Your personal angel.  *comforting hugs to you*  mo

  24. Sherry says:

    Oh Claudia Sweetie…
    I am right here with you sweet friend.  Oh what a loss to your family, but what a beautiful gain to the heavens above. She will brighten our lives each and every night, as I know when she graduated to heaven, she hung her star out upon entrance. You will find her each night when you walk outside and look up. Just look for the star twinkling Claudia and you will know she is winking at you still.
    I know about diabetes late in life and complications. I too am an insulin diabetic. It is a horrible disease. I have just came to the conclusion, that if I can get up every day and feel the sun shine on my face, then it is a great day. I take (5) shots a day and hate every injection that I take. It has caused many complications to my health. No fun at all. More people need to be educated about the disease.
    Just know sweet friend, I am only a phone call away and I am right here holding your hand. Sharon is right there wiping your each and every tear as it falls, and she brushes your hair from your face after a rough night. You carry many memories in your heart sweet one. Just pull from the shelf whenever you need to. She is that close all the time.
    Many hugs and SO much love, Sherry

  25. Julie says:

    So Sorry for your loss!!

  26. Beautiful story.  I will look for her star in the sky tonight.
    Mary Ann

  27. Claudia,
    Sometimes there simply are no words. Sometimes it is simply the hope in our hearts and the faith in our souls that get us.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Your Friend,

  28. Jolanda says:

    Hi Claudia,
    Just read the story of your sister. Such a wonderful life, but such sadness that Sharon passed away to soon. Be strong and take care of yourself. I now Sharon will always be with you in some way. Love, Jolanda

  29. I only found out today about Sharon’s death, and I must say my heart was saddened beyond belief.  It brought me back to days in Ransom when you girls visited, which was one of the highlights of my life.  I am so sorry for your loss.  The depth of your sorrow would have to be endless, as I feel this emptiness and I have not had the pleasure of seeing Sharon for over 30 years.  You will be in my prayers.

  30. Trent Poage says:

    What a wonderful tribute and biography to a life  lived in it’s full glory. 
    Love, family, laughter and ‘the trial of Life” weave it’s way through your tribute to Sharon’s Life.
    I’m thrilled she’s at home in heaven in all of it’s glory forever.
    All will uniquely grieve and give way to a “new normal” without her…
    my heart and prayers are covered by the tears of the mixture of grief and glory.

    May the blessings of Joy, Peace and Understanding… be with you and all of our family.

    Trent Poage, Columbia, MO 

  31. Jeanne MacDonald says:

    Claudia, dear cousin. I am totally in awe of your ability to express your loss of your loving sister, Sharon, so beautifully. What a wonderful thing to do for your whole family. When we lost my sister, Ann, this year I would have loved to have been able to express my love for her to the world — what a comfort it must be for you to be able to put together this wonderful tribute. God Bless. Love, Jeanne

  32. Brad Doty says:

    Claudia, I’m so sorry to hear about Sharon. Please give my best to Leslie and to your mother.

    Brad Doty

    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.–Kahlil Gibran

  33. Hi Claudia,
    I am sorry about your loss, to lose a sister is so difficult.  I pray that you and your family are comforted in this season of grief.
    Blessings, Karen

  34. Lynn says:

    Claudia, I just posted on your Pink Saturday. Started to leave, but your post would not let me go. I went back and saw this post and read all the way through. I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved sister.

  35. Gayle Thill says:

    It was wonderful to meet you at your mom’s birthday lunch. I sure wish it would have been under different  circumstances,  instead of shrouded by all this sadness. Your sister is truly at peace now. I continue to pray that the rest of all of you are healing from your loss.
    Gayle and “the boys”

  36. Pat says:

    I just read this and my heart truly breaks for you. She was a gorgeous woman and I know all of you miss her terribly. I pray that God will give you strength and peace to move forward.

  37. Porch Days says:

    What a story. Your love for her shows in every word!

  38. Hilaree Fuchs says:

    Dear Claudia
       I am truely sorry to hear of your loss.  This tribute is beautiful.  As you probably know we just lost my Mom as well (Sherry Hofferber) and I know the loss that you are feeling and it is true that no words make the pain go away.  I have found that truely the best medicine is to let yourself go and cry till you just cant cry anymore.  I’m not sure if its pure exhaustion, dehydration or comfrot from your loved one but I have felt relief for short periods of time.  I pray for you and your family

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