Sharon Cooney (née, Sharon Lou DeCou) died from complications from dementia on July 26, 2022 in Tacoma, WA. She was 87. Sharon is survived by her sister Janice Potter of Louisville, KY and brother David DeCou of Paw Paw, MI, sons Michael Cooney of Perris, CA and Thomas Cooney of Kirkland, WA, and her grandchildren, Kyle, Ryan, Emma, and Grace Cooney.
Sharon was born on May 22, 1935 in Flint, MI, the first child of Glen and Leota DeCou. She grew up in Vassar, a quaint small town in the thumb of Michigan. Her childhood was happy, despite the deprivations of the Great Depression and World War II. As a child, she was an avid reader, ice skater, bowler, Girl Scout, and piano player. At Vassar High School, she played flute in the marching band, served as Editor of the year book, class Secretary, member of the National Honors Society, and graduated valedictorian.
Sharon received a scholarship to attend Albion College, in Albion, MI. At Albion, she served as Vice President of her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, Editor-in-Chief of the year book, was part of Mortar Board and Who’s Who, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English.
With her English degree and editorial experience, Sharon moved to Chicago in 1957, where she worked as a Production Editor for the textbook company, Scott-Foresman. While in Chicago, she met her future husband, James Cooney, a recent graduate of Grinnell College, in Iowa.
Sharon and James were married in 1960, and moved from Chicago to Jefferson City, MO after James received a sales job offer from the clothing manufacturer, Warner’s. In Jefferson City, Michael was born in 1962.
After James received another job offer, Sharon and her family moved to Kansas City in 1965, and settled in the suburb of Overland Park, KS. Thomas was born in Kansas City in 1968. While in Overland Park, Sharon completed her master’s degree in Education at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC).
In 1975, James accepted a position with Johnson & Johnson in Los Angeles. Settling in Thousand Oaks, CA, Sharon worked as a high school English teacher and kept busy with several volunteer organizations, including serving as Treasurer of the local Boy Scouts troop and chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
With her husband’s encouragement, Sharon revived her editorial career in 1980s by taking a position in technical writing at a small software firm called ASAP. This led to more senior-level positions as a Documentation Manager in technical communications at the computer firm, Burroughs, which later merged with Sperry to form Unisys.
In 1991, after nearly 30 years of marriage, James died of smoking-related cancer. Relocating to the California Bay Area in 1992 to continue her work in computer software, Sharon ended her career in at the educational software company Computer Curriculum Corp. She retired at age 65.
Upon retirement in 2000, Sharon moved to Temecula, CA to be closer to her son Michael and his family. In retirement Sharon remained active in her grandchildren’s lives, attended the local Methodist church, and volunteered at the Temecula Public Library.
In 2011, Sharon suffered a spine fracture due to osteoporosis. Her osteopetrosis worsened, which led to a gradual decline in her health. Needing more help with her daily needs, Sharon relocated to the Seattle area in 2012 to seek treatment and participate more in the lives of her younger grandchildren, Emma and Grace. In 2016, Sharon was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent treatment and made a full recovery. Sharon was diagnosed with early-stage dementia in 2022.
If you’d like to make a donation in honor of Sharon, please consider one of the following:
Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation
Donate to National Breast Cancer Foundation
Friends of the Library organization near you Friends of Libraries - Wikipedia
Phi Beta Kappy Society PBK Donate New
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