Sharon Mae (Tripp) Folcey, 83, of Leon, passed away Sunday, May 30th, 2021 at her home in Leon, Wisconsin, surrounded by her family and her faithful companion, Zu Zu. She was born January 30, 1938, to Harley and Alice (Larson) Tripp in Leon.
Sharon graduated from Sparta High School in 1955. Following high school, when her children were young she became involved with the school PTA, the church, and became a Brownie troop leader. She soon became an avid fan of stock car racing, a love that continued to this day.
In about 1969 Sharon became a bartender at Our Corner Tavern in La Crosse, WI. In 1977 she purchased the tavern which she then owned for 27 years. She always had special things going on; ball teams, pool teams, “the Love Bus”, and fund raisers for cancer. Sharon became the first woman to head La Crosse’s tavern league. She served on several local boards including President of La Crosse Festivals (Oktoberfest), La Crosse Crime Stoppers, and the District Director and Senior Vice President of the Wisconsin Tavern League.
In 1988 Sharon was appointed by Tommy Thompson to the Governor’s Council on Tourism and served as secretary for four years. She was employed by the Department of Tourism for ten years, working four of those years as the Heritage Tourism Coordinator, a four state pilot program designed to support and promote regional historical and cultural sites and activities. She went on to work one year for the WI Department of Revenue.
When Sharon retired from the state position she moved onto the local scene, becoming Sparta’s Chamber of Commerce Executive director, serving ten years. During her time with the Chamber Sharon helped to lead the way for the development of the bike/snowmobile bridge over I-90; she instituted Sparta Citizen for the Day and coordinated bi-monthly Legislative Breakfasts. She was a member and Chairman of the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board for five years. She was elected to the board for the Town of Leon, presently serving in her third term. Sharon was on the Monroe County Board of Supervisors, presently serving in her second term. She has also been serving on several County Committees and was on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Counties Association and Coulee Cap.
In 2008, Sharon was instrumental in helping her grandson Josh Schams, purchase the Club Oasis, an established Sparta Supper Club. For a time she worked there as hostess.
In February 2012, she organized a successful Economic Development Conference, with Tommy Thompson as the keynote speaker.
When the Leon School was closed down, she and others galvanized the community to buy the school. It became the Leon Community Center. She was an original member and also served for a time as the secretary. She was a charter member of the Leon Garden Club. She loved her flowers! She was also the founder and promoter of the Leon Gatorfest.
Sharon readily jumped in to help whenever and wherever she could. She was always full of ideas, always a hard worker for any project she was involved with. She loved learning about new things and never ran from a challenge.
Sharon is survived by her six children, Cheryl (Charlie) Hornett, Charles LaBeause, David (Kathy) LaBeause, Andrew Driscoll Jr., Angela Driscoll, Shana Driscoll; 15 grandchildren, many great grandchildren, 4 step-children (Sue, Sherry, Alice and Eli Driscoll), and many step-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Dr. James (Julie) Tripp, nephews Trevor (Sarah) Tripp, and Tyler (Jessica) Tripp. Sharon was preceded in death by both of her parents, Harley and Alice (Larson) Tripp.
The family will be having a “Remembrance Reception” on Monday, June 7th from 1 – 4 p.m. at the Club Oasis. All are welcome to attend. The family will hold a private internment service at the Leon Cemetery.
The family wishes to thank all of those who called and stopped by to see Sharon these last couple of months. You always brightened her day. Also, thanks to the WI Counties Association for the lovely banquet held in her honor, the WI Towns Association for the Lifetime Achievement Award, the wonderful Hospice Care workers who made it possible for Sharon to remain at home with her family, and the First Congregational Church of Leon.
The Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at www.schanhoferfh.com
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