Wenonah "Nonie" M (Finch) SharpeJanuary 1, 2017
Wenonah M. Finch Sharpe was born in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, on July 22, 1926. She grew up "on the bench" in Naramata on a fruit ranch with her father, Sidney Finch, a descendant of Washington state pioneers who founded the town of Hoodsport, Washington; her Irish mother, Mable (O'Callaghan); her sister, Hazel; and her brothers, Gordon, Tom and Charles.
Exploring her beloved hills on horseback made for an ideal childhood, but the lure of a career was keen, and she entered nursing school at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, graduating in April 1947.
She met a tall, handsome sailor, Grant W. Sharpe, who was interested in taxonomy. The names of plants and a love of the outdoors were ties that forever bound this couple, who married April 3, 1948.
The following years were glorious and prolific. Together, Nonie and Grant created a series of "101 Wildflowers" guides for various national parks, as well as textbooks on outdoor recreation and park management - all while raising nine children.
Nonie was a scrabble player extraordinaire, a dedicated genealogist, a talented and willing piano player, a fine editor and an avid reader and poet. She passed on her love of the outdoors and literature to her children.
Nonie deeply appreciated Shakespeare. Her interest in finding the real author behind the nom de plume was an abiding passion, and several of her children support this cause and are proud Oxfordians.
Nonie returned to school the same time as her ninth child, graduating from the University of Washington in 1982.
She was devoted to her large brood, encouraging them to love one another, a gift we consider the best legacy of life in a large family. She often said that nothing made her happier than seeing her children not only loving one another but pleased to be in each other's company.
She remains in the hearts of her offspring: children Christopher, Kathryn, Charles, Loretta, Paul, Patrick, Fredrick, Rosemary and Eileena; grandchildren Brendan, Emily, Sarah, Skyler, Travis, Zach, Sydney, Eilena, Raven and Ezra; and great-grandson Stone.
Her daughter Eileena preceded her in death, as did her husband. She had a second love of her life in Ross Jones, also a resident of Park View Villa, Nonie's retirement home in beautiful Port Angeles.
Nonie died at home, surrounded by loving children. She died as she lived: with grace, strength, care for others and humor.