Cover photo for Sr. Sharon Ekler, Rsm's Obituary
Sr. Sharon Ekler, Rsm Profile Photo
1932 Sr. Sharon 2020

Sr. Sharon Ekler, Rsm

January 9, 1932 — October 31, 2020

A TEACHER, PRINCIPAL, RETREAT CENTER DIRECTOR, PASTORAL CARE, VICE PRESIDENT OF MISSION & MINISTRY, AND A SISTER OF MERCY FOR 71 YEARS!



Sister Mary Sharon Ekler, given the baptismal name of Lorraine Marie by parents Peter and Pauline (Bersch) Ekler, was the youngest of seven children. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, she came to know the Sisters of Mercy at a young age. When she was just 14, her eldest sister (Sister Mary del Rey) joined the religious community. Young Lorraine soon followed in her sister's footsteps by transferring to Mount Loretto Preparatory High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She entered the Omaha Province at the age of 17.



Sister Sharon had hoped to be a nurse; instead, she was appointed to teach. For 27 years, she taught elementary education and was principal in Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, and Colorado. In 1982, she moved into pastoral ministry, eventually serving as the director of a Colorado retreat center.



In 1989, Sister Sharon finally entered the world of healthcare when she walked into Mercy Medical Center in Durango, Colorado, to serve as the hospital's pastoral care chaplain. Her brief job description was to "make sure the hospital stays true to its mission of providing quality healthcare and caring for the indigent."



Soon after arriving in Durango, Sister Sharon called community leaders to discuss the old railroad/mining town's needs. Affordable housing was a common concern. Thanks to Sister Sharon, Mercy Housing brought in low-income housing.



A community health clinic was another of Sister Sharon's accomplishments. Housed where the old hospital's emergency room stood, LaPlata Integrated Healthcare continues to provide services to those who can least afford it.

Good childcare, especially for infants and toddlers, was another primary concern of the town's leaders. Although Mercy Hospital Durango had started a childcare center before Sister Sharon had arrived, she helped double its size.



After ministering in Durango for nearly 15 years, Sister Sharon left for Denver in 2003 to live closer to her mother and Sister del Rey.



"Everywhere she served, Sister Sharon made lasting friendships," says Sister Sharon Ford of Aurora, Colorado. "We will miss her!" she added.



Most will remember Sister Sharon for her love of her home state. She once said, "Colorado has been a great factor in my life. I have a love affair with its mountains." She carried that love with her wherever she lived. Her 70th Jubilee reflection was in the form of this poem.



Preceded in death by parents, Peter and Pauline (Bersch) Ekler; sisters, Rose Marie Nelson, Pauline Frank, Betty Ekler; brothers, Peter and Robert Ekler.

Survived by her sisters of the Sisters of Mercy; her sister, Sr. Mary del Rey Ekler, RSM; many nieces, nephews and good friends.



One may send condolences to Sister del Rey, c/o Mercy Villa, 1845 S. 72 St., Omaha, NE 68124-1703.



Mountains are forever old,

Yet always new to those who find in them refreshment for the soul.

So, may this greeting find you wherever you may be

with thoughts that will remind you of mountains



Due to the pandemic, funeral services are on hold.

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