Sharon Dinkel Uhlig, Professor Emeritus, University of Montana, passed away peacefully at Beehive Homes Assisted Living of natural causes on Thursday, March 30, 2023. She was 73 years young.
Sharon was born on June 18, 1949 in Brookings South Dakota to Christian and Claudia Dinkel. She grew up with her sister Beverly on the family farm and graduated with a MS in Physical Education from South Dakota State University in 1973. While studying for her MS degree she competed as a member of the women's gymnastics team. After graduating she accepted a one-year contract with the University of Montana as the gymnastics coach and instructor in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation department. She continued as head gymnastics coach until 1979.
In 1979 Sharon received a leave of absence from the University of Montana to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Utah. She continued teaching at University of Montana during the academic year and worked on her doctoral program summers until receiving her Doctorate in Education in 1982. She then returned to the University of Montana full time as an Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education with an interest in nutrition.
Through hard work and dedication, Sharon advanced to Full Professor and became the Chair of the Health and Physical Education Department in 1990. She served as Chair until 1998 when she was asked to serve as the Associate Dean of the School of Education, a position she held until retirement in 2010. She continued teaching part time with a post-retirement contract until 2013.
In 1985 Sharon met and began dating her future husband, Karl Uhlig. They married in the summer of 1988 beginning a 35-year partnership of adventure. There were countless mountain hikes, overnight camping excursions, mountain bike rides, and river trips. Shortly after their marriage, they purchased a home in Bonner allowing quick access for hiking or fishing escapes. By the late 1990s they found themselves spending so much time hiking and camping in the Great Burn area west of Missoula that they purchased a small property near the town of Superior and began building a cabin. During the fall and winter months, they both enjoyed attending many Grizzly football games and held Lady Grizzly basketball seasons tickets for many years.
Upon arrival in Missoula, Sharon continued to remain very physically active by running with her "runners group" almost daily at lunch, staging out of the Schriber gym on the University campus. She also ran numerous races for many years including the yearly River Bank Run.
After retirement Sharon found time to join the Missoula Food Bank board of directors helping with a fundraising effort that cumulated in the new building. She also spent many afternoons at the Western Montana Humane Society tending to mainly cats and occasionally some dogs that needed to find their forever homes.
Sharon is preceded in death by her mother and father. Survivors include her husband, sister Beverly (Brad) King, Niece, Lisa King, Nephew, Nathan (Jennifer) King, Sister-in-Law, Chris (Ed) Wilkinson.
Rather than sending flowers please consider making a donation to the Humane Society of Western Montana, the Missoula Food Bank, or the University of Montana Foundation.
A celebration of life event will be held at Garden City Funeral Home on Tuesday, April 11 from 2-5 pm.