PLAINS ~ Sharon Ann Kunzer (Tattum), 75, Plains, Montana passed peacefully surrounded by love and adoration on December 17th, 2020 after complications from a long debilitating battle with PSP (progressive supra-nuclear palsy).
Sharon was born December 1st, 1945 in Harvey, Illinois to Virginia and Oswald Tattum. Brought home to her older brother Denny and followed by her younger brother Steve; theirs was a home filled with laughter, dance, hard work and deep love of each other. Some of “Sis’ ” favorite childhood memories were fishing trips to Minnesota, neighborhood parties in their family room, her brother’s football games and dancing.
Sharon attended St. George’s Catholic Elementary school where she developed her first crush on a handsome boy who was the class clown and adventurist. Later, attending Bremen High, Sharon was on the homecoming court, the belle of the ball, and the joy, beauty and happiness of anyone she met. After High School, Sharon went to work in downtown Chicago in one of the many high-rises as a secretary. She loved lake Michigan, beautiful clothes, big hair, taking the train, her friends and when her brother Steve would come into the city to take her dancing.
In1967, while attending mass at St. George’s parish in Tinley Park Illinois, she was noticed by a handsome young man. The 1st grade class clown with the adorable smirk, was now a decorated Vietnam Veteran who served in the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in 1966-1967. Encouraged by his 9 brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, he asked out the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. The sweetest, most gentle and loving person he could have found for the best partner to carry him and their family through the toughness, hardships and joy their life would bring.
On May 23rd, 1970, Donald P. Kunzer and Sharon A. Tattum were married and began their life together. A testament to partnership and commitment, Sharon found herself on her first big adventure with Don; moving from Frankfort, Illinois to Anchorage, Alaska. This beautiful homecoming queen suddenly found herself on one of the last remaining homesteads. Supporting Don’s hard work as a carpenter and love of the outdoors, his hunting guide jobs often took him to faraway places. This is when Sharon found a love of painting. Self-taught, she began creating beautiful works of art. A hobby that would last a lifetime and provide beauty to hundreds of homes proudly displaying her work. She traded her high heels for hiking boots as she found herself on bighorn sheep hunts amidst cliffs and rockslides. Once, coming home to a frozen moose in her bathtub, she learned to take everything in stride and humor.
They loved being together, new adventures, eating crab at local establishments and gathering with friends. More than anything, they wanted to be parents. Through incredible loss, strength and determination, they finally welcomed their son, Donald “Donny” in March of 1974. After 4 years of living in Alaska, they moved back to Frankfort, Illinois where in February of 1977, they welcomed their daughter, Christina.
In November of 1979, the Kunzer’s moved to Plains, Montana. Purchasing 30 acres of untouched beautiful land overlooking the Clark Fork River. It was here that this family worked hard to build a lasting future. Working together, Don and Sharon built a beautiful home and life together. Every nail, every piece of trim, every board and cabinet, created and placed by their hands. This home provided love, laughter, hard work, dedication, and Sharon’s favorite of all, dancing. This once city loving debutant filled her days in the country with dogs, cats, ducks, geese, guinea hens, chickens, vegetable gardens, and the most beautiful and elaborate flower gardens anyone had ever seen. She was an active member of the St James’ altar society, quilting club, pool league, and VFW ladies Auxiliary. Over the course of 40 years living in Plains amongst many beloved friends, their home and land grew to encompass 120 acres, eventually containing her and Don’s favorite new spot in a gazebo overlooking the beautiful river below.
She loved her children, grandchildren, and her husband of 50 years, more than anything in the world, and her happiness was most found in the days spent with them. She was an oil painter that rivaled any Kincade. She loved her flower gardens and cooking the best meals for her family. She was a soft heart that saw and sought the kindness in every soul she met. A generous, self-forgetting, humble and sympathetic giver; anything that was hers, was a gift to anyone in need. An absolute lover of laughter and boardgames, good times, and Elvis Presley. A pursuer and believer of magic and happy endings. Christmas was her happiest day of the year and made any event into a celebration for every cherished person in her life. Whenever she heard of anyone left out, anyone in pain, anyone who needed help, she was there. She was a rare gem and a shining light of selflessness. Her sense of humor, joy and spirit will always live on in everyone that knew her.
Sharon is proceeded in death by her parents, Ozzie and Ginny as well as 6 baby boys and girls she always longed to see again. She is survived by her brothers Dennis (Rosalie), Stephan (Patricia), husband Donald, son Donny, daughter Christina (James), grandsons Christopher, Lucas, and Matthew, granddaughter Morgen. She was absolutely beautiful in every way a human being can be beautiful.
Due to the challenges of Covid, Sharon’s family has decided to postpone services at St. James Catholic Church in Plains, MT as well as celebration of life until a later date in the spring.
Arrangements are under the care of Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula.