Correction: This obituary was updated at 11:15 a.m., Oct. 24, 2011, to correct the date of a family celebration for Ms. Howard. Her family and friends will gather Oct. 29 at Howard’s oceanside camp in South Thomaston to scatter her ashes and celebrate her life.


BAR HARBOR – Sharon Howard fought her illness with grace and courage for the past 10 years, never once losing sight of the most important parts of her life — her daughter and closest friends.

Ms. Howard, a loving mother and dedicated teacher in the Midcoast, who made an impact on so many young people, died on Sept. 29. She was 60.

Her family and friends will gather Oct. 29 at Howard’s oceanside camp in South Thomaston to scatter her ashes and celebrate her life.

“It’s the one place where everyone always came together,” said her daughter, Shana Howard of Bar Harbor. “The camp was a part of her. She had so many wonderful memories there.”

Ms. Howard was a single mother and longtime resident of Warren, who spent many summers at her camp that overlooks Penobscot Bay.

Her daughter said on Monday that her mother taught her how to build a fire, put up a tent and go fishing and clamming. At night, they would play cards by flashlight. She said her family and friends would often gather at the camp for a pig roast or lobster bake. She said those experiences defined who she is today.

“It was good old-fashioned fun,” her daughter said, reflecting on their relationship. “We did everything together. It was amazing. She allowed me to make my own mistakes and never judged me for it. She got being a mom. Our life was never easy, but even if we were totally broke she always found a way to figure it out. She was the smartest and toughest person I’ve ever met in my life. My friends who know her say the same thing.”

Ms. Howard had a passion for teaching. She taught for 27 years, first in Connecticut. She joined Rockland Vocational High School around 1986. She was a physics teacher there for about five years. Then, she taught for one-year stints at high schools in Windham, Camden and Blue Hill. At the end of her teaching career, she tutored kids with special needs.

Her daughter said she was a dedicated teacher, who brought out the best in her students. During her years in Rockland, she taught a group of 16 women how to build a bunkhouse. Her daughter said the bunkhouse is still standing at their camp today.

“It’s in pristine condition,” her daughter said. “My mom loved to teach. She loved the challenge.”

Ms. Howard had a passion for gardening and riding horses. She also enjoyed going antiquing.

In addition to her daughter, she leaves her boyfriend of six years, Donald Gregory of New Milford, Conn.

Ms. Howard was diagnosed with peripheral artery disease about 10 years ago. It causes plaque to build up in the arteries, which reduces blood flow to the body’s extremities. The condition caused her legs to turn blue.

Her daughter, who was 17 at the time, said she would often rub her mother’s legs at night to get her blood flowing. She also remembered sneaking into her mother’s room to check if she was still breathing.

“My mom was the type of person that took a punch and kept going,” she said. “She always kept a positive attitude. She was always looking to beat it. She was so self-sufficient and so independent.”

A few years ago, her disease began to affect her organs. Her doctors performed about a dozen surgeries, but it had progressed too much to overcome. Howard said her mother was all she had for family.

“It’s always only been my mom and I, but I have lot of friends who take good care of me,” she said. “I’m definitely not alone.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

[email protected]