RAPID CITY | Ilene Sharkey, 78, died peacefully on Thursday, April 11, 2019, with family by her side.
Ilene was born Aug. 13, 1940, in Windom, MN, to Walter and Myrtle (Johnson) Stevens. Ilene grew up in Windom, MN, and graduated from Windom High School in 1958, where she played trumpet in the high school band. Ilene graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Mankato State University in 1961 and married her high school sweetheart and love of her life, John Sharkey on Dec. 17, 1961.
After John and Ilene were married, they managed motels in Kansas and South Dakota, eventually settling in Rapid City. John and Ilene raised two sons together, Howard and Brent Sharkey.
Ilene thoroughly enjoyed her family, going camping and to the lake, bowling, travelling and of course music. Ilene served as the organist for Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City from 1968-2011. She was also the choir and music director for several years. She placed a high priority on church attendance and never missed a service often driving back and forth from the lake on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. She had seemingly endless energy and was always the first one up in the morning and the last one to go to bed at night.
Ilene taught piano and organ throughout her adult life to thousands of people. She held a certification as a National Certified Teacher of Music for Piano and was a member of the Black Hills Area Music Teachers Association. She was also President of the South Dakota Music Teachers Association from 1991-1994. She was a member of the National Guild for Organists and won multiple national awards for her work in the field of music instruction.
Ilene was a huge fan of her children and grandchildren’s interests and rarely missed a sporting event or activity. Whatever her kids or grandkids wanted to try, she was always a source of encouragement and their #1 fan.
Ilene is survived by her children, Howard Sharkey and Brent (Cammy) Sharkey, all of Rapid City; nine brothers and sisters: Doris Ann Preston, Mankato, MN, Gerald (Betty) Stevens, St. James, MN, Darrel (Joyce) Stevens, Windom, MN, Maxine (Arvid) Bergee, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Ronald (Karen) Stevens, Montevideo, MN, Neva (Richard) Pilgrim, Syracuse, NY, Larry (Becky) Stevens, Bingham Lake, MN, Carol Stevens (Bill Kay) Palo Alto CA, Roger (Belinda) Stevens, Mesa, AZ; three grandchildren, Taylor Rave, Danny Sharkey and Brandon Sharkey, and two great-grandchildren, Auburn and Blakelynn, all of Rapid City; and nieces and nephews too numerous to mention.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at Calvary Lutheran Church.
Services will be at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, at the church with Pastor David Piper officiating. Burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery with luncheon following at Calvary Lutheran Church.
Memorial donations may be directed to either the Music Teachers National Association Foundation (MTNA Foundation Fund) or the Alzheimer’s Association. Donations may be mailed to 4528 S. Canyon Road, Rapid City, SD 57702.