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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Stop and make a habit to find the Beauty and you will be amazed at how Beautiful your life is. Be thankful and remember:
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