Sharon Anne (Meyer) Habel, 78, of Carolina Shores, NC, passed away on February 28, 2023. She was preceded in death by her first husband of 35 years, Dr. Ed Meyer. She is survived by her current husband Dr. George Habel of 18 years, her three children, Wendy Kimryn Rathmell and husband Jeff of Nashville, TN, Edwin Meyer, II, and wife Jennifer, of Emmetsburg, IA, and Johnathan Meyer and wife Katie, of Oklahoma City, OK, step daughters, Jennifer “Jenny” Camplin and husband Michael of Fenwick, Ontario, Canada, Michelle “Shelly” Bentz and husband Doug, of Germantown, Maryland and Alexandra "Sasha" Mills and husband Ben, of Colorado Springs, CO, and 21 grandchildren: Peter Rathmell, Dori Rathmell, Christoffer Meyer, Alexander Meyer, Keely Meyer, Moira Meyer, Rowyn Meyer, Sara (Camplin) Harris and husband Blake Harris, Rebecca (Camplin) Kennedy and husband Neil Kennedy, Meghan Camplin, Emma (Bentz) Ruth and husband John Ruth, Timothy Bentz, Kate Bentz, Adam Mills, Luke Mills, Lily Mills, Joel Mills, Ruby Mills, Margaret Rose Mills, Philip "Pip" Mills, and Katharina “Kitty” Mills.
Sharon (Stankiewicz) Meyer Habel was born in Ogden, Utah, on August 26, 1945, and was raised in the south side of Omaha, NE. Her formative years were scarred by systemic poverty, alcoholism, and neglect, which impacted her for the rest of her life. In this environment, however, she developed a high degree of resilience, a strong appreciation of her own capabilities, and a defined set of values. A transformative change took place when she decided as a teenager to separate from her immediate family – first seeking refuge in a convent with an aunt, and eventually landing with one of her teachers (Opal Allen) who took her in and raised her as a daughter through high school at South High School in Omaha, Nebraska, putting her through college and assuming a full role as mentor, mother, and eventual grandmother. She additionally found mentorship with another teacher who was a lifelong source of support and family anchoring (Lucille Fox). This community of teachers, along with more extended members (Joyce Grubb) provided her the family-type network and structure to allow her to thrive. A spirited and witty teenager, she excelled in studies that were hands on, and led the drafting club, as well as enjoying dances and school activities.
She attended Kearney State Teachers College to study drafting and design, as well earn her teaching degree. There she met the first love of her life, Edwin Meyer, a tall lanky amateur photographer and science education major from Iowa. The two married and began a whirlwind adventure, both teaching at first. Sharon was the first female industrial arts teacher in the state of Nebraska, making a major impression on the young men she taught in Bellevue and Omaha Nebraska. One of those young men was named Jerry, a middle school student who lived with them during his own troubles that were reminiscent of her own upbringing. The courts eventually forced Jerry back with his biological family, and when she learned years later that he died young, that left a gaping hole in her heart. She left teaching to raise her three children to be fiercely independent thinkers with high standards and a well-grounded sense of self. Although she was largely a homemaker, with a brief return to teaching at Mars Junior High in the late 1970’s, she was very involved in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and leading various church or school-led efforts.
Sharon was also intensely spiritual, and played an active role in the faith communities that the young family was a part of as they moved every few years following Ed’s career from teacher to principal and eventual superintendent of schools in public school systems in Bellevue, and later in Woodbine, Iowa, Sheffield, Iowa, Missouri Valley, Iowa, Richland Center, Wisconsin, and Chichester, Pennsylvania. The two were a dominatable pair, as Ed continued his education earning Masters, Specialist, and Doctorate Degrees, and Sharon supporting him as volunteer, assistant, hostess, proofreader and ghostwriter, and cheerleader. They traveled to Denmark on an educational tour, learning Danish to maximize their experience. They also hosted numerous students through the American Foreign Student (AFS) exchange program, including one student, JØrgen Chemnitz, who stayed with them for a full year and became an extended member of the family. Throughout those years, she continued to be active in design work, providing guidance and inspiration to numerous homeowners and creating the blueprints for remodels and several homes, as well as contributing substantially to larger projects, such as the design of the new Richland Center High School building. Based on her design work, she was invited to join the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy. She was also famous for undertaking her own remodeling projects, renovating the various houses the family lived in, before it was popular to “flip” houses.
After Ed died tragically in 2003, she met the second love of her life, Rev. Dr. George Habel, also a widower. The two embarked on an almost 19 year retirement adventure, living first in Lyman, Maine, before settling in Carolina Shores, North Carolina. Even in this phase, she remodeled and built additions to both homes, creating the ideal space for the two to live, entertain, and host friends and family from around the world. They greatly enjoyed the blend of the families, as she added Jenny, Shelly, and Sasha to her circle of children, and reveled in the activities of their now 21 grandchildren together. Sharon and George traveled to Scotland, and enjoyed trips to Disney World, California, and cruising.
Throughout her life, she was active in the local PEO chapters, and found opportunities to better the local community, whether through activities in the church, the public schools, or with individuals that she mentored. She attracted people who found her creativity and direct nature refreshing. She also attracted animals, especially birds, so much so that if she sat down at a picnic table it was likely a bird would alight on her head. As she famously wore wigs, this was often highly entertaining. Sharon was able to see many of her grandchildren achieve their various milestones, and she loved to hear them talk about their activities. More than that, she was a creative and wildly imaginative storyteller, who engaged people close to her, or people she just met, with her fantastic tales – many drawing on her real life adventures.
A gathering of remembrance will take place at 11:00 am at Calabash Covenant Presbyterian Church, on April 8, with a light luncheon to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the PEO Scholar Fund https://donations.peointernational.org/peo-donation-psa
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