Skip to content

Jean Bewza Sharkey


After a resilient 93-year journey, Jean Bewza Sharkey passed away peacefully on February 14, 2024, in Thunder Bay. 

Born in Manitoba’s Rural Municipality of Rossburn, Jean attended King George and Rogers schools. As the eldest child at home, she was a strong farmhand and sharp with a slingshot.

At 17, Jean was proud to be a Manitoba Permit Teacher at Rogers School, filling an educator shortage after World War II. She taught multiple grades in a one-room schoolhouse with some of her students being a year younger than herself. Afterwards, Jean worked at Unickow’s Quality Store in Oakburn, Manitoba and was impacted by how Mr. Nathan Unickow extended credit to customers in difficult times. 

Seeking new adventures in her early 20s, Jean’s visit to Port Arthur, Ontario led to a permanent residence and the enjoyment of city life - cousins on Lake and Crown streets and drinks at The Royalton. A new job at the UIC – Unemployment Insurance Commission, offered opportunities, the beginning of lifelong friendships, future travel partners, and memorable work parties at the Oliver Road Country Club.

A tea leaf reader told Jean she would marry someone who worked with grain or wheat – not a stretch in a farming community. In 1956, she married Patrick Sharkey, who would work for 43 years with Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Together they were a great team, supporting their families and welcoming three daughters. Once their children were older Jean worked at Sears cash office. 

With a sense of curiosity, a teenage bus trip to BC started a lifelong love of travel and photography. Jean ventured across Canada, Hawaii, The Bahamas, Europe, a month-long tour through China, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand, and her 70th birthday in New Orleans. A 2002 pinnacle trip was to Ukraine, seeing the Dnipro River described by her grandfather and joining in old traditions like a Cossack’s breakfast of porridge and a shot of homebrew. Jean kept her Ukrainian language skills sharp and was able to converse with locals despite 100 years from the family’s emigration. Slava Ukraini.

Predeceased by her husband of 44 years, Patrick; parents Mary and Paul Bewza; siblings Frank, Helene, and Michael; extended family and friends. 

Jean is survived by daughters Patricia, Janet, and Joni; cherished cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

When often asked how she looked younger than her age, Jean would say it was farm work when young and fish oil ever since. We all thank those who worked with Jean, some for decades, to explore options to optimize what she felt was healthy for her and to stay in her home.

In lieu of flowers, Jean would welcome donations to create opportunities in the communities where she began and often returned to visit and celebrate:  Shoal Lake Community Foundation Inc. 

Shoal Lake Community Foundation Inc.
In Memory of Jean Bewza Sharkey
Box 323
Shoal Lake, MB
R0J 1Z0

Per Jean’s directions, there will not be a funeral service and a private interment will be held at a later date. Please visit Northwest Funeral Alternative to make online condolences and see Jean’s life in pictures.

Mom, we are thankful for all our time together!

Вічна Памʼять
Eternal Memory

Condolences may be made through

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks