Friday, July 12, 2024

Sharon O’Brien Vander May

Sharon O’Brien Vander May of Blairstown passed away in Newton on April 3, 2024, at the beautiful age of 91, though she often joked she planned on making it to 120.

Sharon was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on July 24, 1932, to William and Gladys (Dykeman) O’Brien. She moved with her parents several times including to Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio and finally to New Jersey, where she met her sweetheart at age 13, and started dating at age 15. Sharon graduated from Passaic Valley High School in Little Falls, class of 1950, and married her love later that same year. She was employed as a telephone operator and also worked at the Little Falls Laundry, a Vander May family business. However, during her years as a homemaker, her greatest joy was being a mother, as she raised her family in Cedar Grove.

Sharon was a passionate fan of the New York Yankees. Her contagious love of baseball has been passed on to each succeeding generation. Sharon taught her children how to play the game, and proudly watched her children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren as they played and coached baseball and softball.

Sharon enjoyed numerous activities through her life, such as music, especially playing the piano, bowling, swimming, baking and caring for all animals. She favored horses, and found joy watching the wildlife on her property, while most deeply loving the many dogs and cats she owned over her lifetime.

Her dearest memories with her children and grandchildren included special times at the Jersey shore, particularly at her Mantoloking shore house. Her love for reading fiction novels began in childhood and spanned genres from murder mysteries to westerns. In line with her sociable nature, she was known to share her books with friends. Aside from reading, her spare time in her later years was filled with challenging her mind: completing word puzzles and games, and keeping up with technology: being active on the internet, Facebook and texting or FaceTiming with her loved ones. Sharon, more often known to her family as Mom and Grannie, will be remembered as a warm touch and smiling face, having passed down her sense of humor to each generation, and touching anyone she encountered with both care and laughter.

She is survived by a large family, including her loving husband of 73 years, Ray E. Vander May, Sr.; three sons, Ray E. Vander May, Jr. (Patti); Bryan Vander May (Cindy); Douglas Vander May (Arlene); and two daughters, Cheryl Hollman (Harry); and Laurel Vander May.

She was blessed with eight grandchildren, Bryan, Jr., Nicole and Sharyn Vander May; Ryan Vander May; Heather Pozzolano; Kimberly Harty; Kenneth Vander May Sr.; and Tara Gamas.

She leaves behind 14 great grandchildren, Scott, Jr. and Shelby Harty; Khloe, Kenneth, Jr. and Leona Vander May; Aja and Isaiah Gamas; Pasquale, Giselle and Gabriella Pozzolano; Wyatt and Savannah Vander May; Anthony Reardon; and Christopher Albanese.

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” – Agatha Christie

A favorite author of Sharon’s, and a quote that encompasses Sharon’s love for her family.

A period of visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94, Blairstown, with a service at 1 p.m. Interment will follow the service at “New” Cedar Ridge Cemetery, Blairstown.