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Sharon L. Petersma
March 19, 1930 ~ December 23, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
1 Tree, Flower, or Condolence has been shared with support of Sharon's family - View on Tribute Wall
Sharon L. Petersma of Elizabethtown, PA passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, December 23, 2023 in at the age of 93. While she spent most of her adult life in Newton, IA Sharon was born in Ames, IA, the oldest child of Hermon "Dutch" and Lyal (Reade) Arrasmith. In her youth she was an active Rainbow Girl and member of the Order of the Eastern Star. In August of 1944 at the age of 14, Sharon was stricken with Polio and lived for many months in the Sister Kenny Cottage at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines, IA. Her recuperation was spent at home in a hospital bed finishing 9th grade remotely, via a walkie talkie type system. She always said she was surely the most popular girl because everyone wanted to "carry me from class to class." Sharon recovered from polio only to unexpectedly lose her father at the age of 15. After graduating from Ames High School in 1948, Sharon attended Iowa State University (ISU) where she studied Institution Management and Dietetics and she graduated with Honors and Distinction in 1952. Sharon was an active member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority, which led to many enduring friendships. Following graduation, she served an internship as a dietitian at the Veterans’ Hospital in Los Angeles, CA.
Sharon met her future husband Del Petersma when he was also an ISU student, boarding at her mother’s home. After a whirlwind courtship, they married in September of 1954. Their marriage was blessed with three children, Vicki, Jay, and Laurie who unfortunately was stillborn.
While their married life began in Iowa City, Sharon and Del eventually settled in Newton, IA where Del was employed by the Maytag company until his retirement. Sharon worked as a Registered Dietitian at the Pella Hospital for over 20 years, where she took pride in planning nutritious meals for patients using fresh local produce, mostly from her father-in law’s garden, and making homestyle food.
Sharon enjoyed cooking, playing bridge (becoming a founding member of two bridge clubs that played together for nearly 50 years!), and roller skating (first in college and then around the kitchen table with her grandchildren)—but it was her love of music, attending concerts, and most of all—dancing that brought her the most joy.
Sharon and Del were Patrons of the Newton Community Theater since its inception in 1962 and active members of the First Lutheran Church where Sharon participated in several activities including the Dorcas quilting group, the Lois bible study, she sang in the Church Choir, and she was part of the financial counting group. She was a woman of strong faith and continued supporting the church throughout her life, even watching virtual services after moving to Pennsylvania.
In their retired years, Sharon and Del traveled to several countries, went on cruises, and toured all 50 states extensively. When Del passed in 2011, Sharon continued to live in their home in Newton, IA until March of 2022 when she moved to the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA, to be close to her daughter. From that time until her passing, she was able to spend considerable time with her daughter and son-in-law, grandchildren and her brother’s children in the area. The family is grateful to have been able to have this very special time together in her last years.
Sharon was very proud of her children and grandchildren, often sharing their many accomplishments with her friends. She is survived by her daughter, Vicki (Greg) Hill, Mount Joy, PA; her son, Jay (Janet) Petersma, Melissa, TX and five granddaughters: Kristin Hill, Boston, MA, Danielle Hill, Lancaster, PA, Amanda Hill, San Jose, CA. Mallory Hill, Maytown, PA, and Bailey (Neil) Hicks, McKenny, TX ; a brother-in-law, Melvin (Janice) Petersma, Pella, IA and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceded in death by her husband, Delmar in 2011, parents Hermon and Lyal (Reade) Arrasmith, brother Daniel Arrasmith, a sister-in-law Betty (Marvin) Vander Werf, and a sister-in-law Joyce (Doyle) Lammey
A Celebration of Life Luncheon is planned in Pennsylvania for Sharon’s local friends and family. A church service will be held at the First Lutheran Church in Newton, IA in the summer, with internment of cremains at the Union Cemetery also in Newton. Memorial donations can be made in Sharon’s memory to the First Lutheran Church, 309 E 3rd St N, Newton, IA 50208.
Memories and condolences may be shared at www.boyer-elizabethtown.com.