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Sharon Sheehe Stark
November 25, 2023
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Sharon Sheehe Stark of Lenhartsville, PA died on November 25 at her home in Kutztown after a long and courageous struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Sharon was born in Altoona, Pa on December 29, 1941, the daughter of Joseph and Lillian (Kukovitz) Sheehe, and grew up in Johnstown, PA. In 1960, she married Howard Stark and moved with her husband to the eastern part of Pennsylvania, where her children, Julie and Howard (Tim) were born. After helping her husband establish a successful law practice and raising her children, Sharon embarked upon a successful literary career, placing hundreds of short stories and poems in publications such as The Atlantic Monthly and Yankee magazine. Her short fiction was regularly reprinted in Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Awards. She won a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment grant as well as praise from Pulitzer Prize winning author and Berks County native John Updike, who marveled at the “strange slanting magic” of her prose and added, “she does the best Pennsylvania Dutch accent I have ever seen in print.” Sharon exposed the human condition with a compassionate and life affirming voice. “A light appears in these stories,” the writer Andre Dubus said of her work. Besides publishing the novel “A Wrestling Season” and a collection of short stories, “The Dealer’s Yard,” Sharon taught the craft of writing at the MFA program at Vermont College, helping to place many a fledgling writer on the road to publication. After divorcing Howard, she turned her attention to the antique trade, collecting with the same writer’s eye for the telling minutiae of daily life. She partnered with William Bascom of Allentown, whom she married in 2010, and together they curated a veritable museum of vintage fabrics and one-of-a-kind knick knacks. Sharon cared deeply about the people around her, often worrying herself silly about the tribulations of others. Also, she was impossible to beat at Scrabble. Her industriousness and creativity were an inspiration to everyone, especially her children, Julie and Tim, who will miss her dearly. Sharon is also survived by her sister, Suzie Scullion, of Johnstown, PA, her brother Brian, of Riverside, CA, as well as by her grandchildren Zach, Gwen and Charlotte. Her first husband, Howard, predeceased her, as did her second husband, William Bascom. An informal memorial for Sharon will be held this coming Spring. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Sharon’s name to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.