Like most of the people reading this, I miss Sharon Ball. Sometimes it takes me completely by surprise. I’ll be driving up Milwaukee toward NSLS and all of a sudden remember, “She’s gone!” And then I think, “That’s impossible. How can that be?”
Premature death is always a shock even after long illness, and when the person was as alive as Sharon was, it is all the more startling. I still hear Sharon’s voice and laugh so clearly in my mind. NSLS has a wonderful staff, and they serve their librarian patrons very well, but Sharon was the person we went to for everything. Considering hiring someone? Run your names by Sharon. She’d never badmouth anyone, but she certainly could steer you clear of someone that wasn’t going to be a great fit for your situation. Need help on writing a grant? Sharon knew ALL about it. Just need a sympathetic ear when things were tough in your library? Sharon would sympathize and make you laugh.
When Holly Jin of Skokie organized Sharon’s retirement gift of a bag with a Wordle word cloud on it, the words people suggested that meant Sharon to them were so telling–warm, kind, generous, gracious, listener, advocate, friend. Sharon was all of these and more. So I just wanted Sharon’s friends and colleagues to know that we still remember your loss–we always will. And we will treasure our memories of a very wonderful woman.