A tobogganing accident that broke her leg in six places ended Sharon LaPier’s skating career at the age of 13.
But her love and dedication to the sport – and kids who skate — has never waned.
At age 75, Sharon has volunteered for 47 years with the Moore Skating Club in just about every capacity imaginable. She’s been a parent volunteer, sat on the board, had a long stint as president, was a judge/evaluator for Skate Canada, raised funds and coached on the ice.
In fact, Sharon has been a staunch supporter of the club almost as long as it has existed. She is spending this winter preparing for the club’s 50th anniversary, planning for a special ice show on March 25 and sewing dozens of costumes for it.
“Figure skating gets in your blood,” she says explaining her extraordinary commitment. “I can’t explain it but it’s a passion, an addiction.”
“At Sharon’s core is her concern for skaters and her love of the sport,” says family friend Lisa Riddoch.
“It’s very much who she is. The woman is a leader on so many levels. She’s done practically everything, and her ability to be a role model, to inspire and mentor others, is exceptional.”
Lisa was seven years old when Sharon suggested she start skating. “My mom agreed and I’ve had a lengthy skating career and been a judge with Skate Canada for 30 years.”
That’s the kind of influence Sharon has, said Lisa.
Sharon served as a five-level gold judge for 15 years, travelling throughout Southwestern Ontario and Michigan to judge/evaluate figures, free skate, dance, interpretive and skills.
She was widowed in her 30s and raised her daughters Karolyn and Marianne largely on her own. When she enrolled her daughters in skating, she immediately jumped into volunteering for the skate club.
She still is at the arena regularly to get her two grandchildren on the rink three nights a week.
Sharon is co-owner of LaPier’s Flowers & Gifts in Corunna and for years she could be found with her sewing machine at the shop, making dozens of costumes a year for the annual ice show.
All that while working 45 years as a full-time border services employee.
“I retired the day I found out I was going to be a grandmother,” she explained. “Thomas and Addison are my best, best buddies.”
Sharon is also very committed to Knox Moore Presbyterian Church where she was recently named an elder.
She’s a lay minister, responsible for filling in at the pulpit as needed. She is the clerk of presbytery for Lambton West/Middlesex, and does grief counselling.
“I use my gift of speaking. You have to be willing to work very hard at your faith and study the bible,” she said.
She’s always been a public speaker and worked alongside the OPP delivering anti-drug messages in local elementary schools for 10 years.
“Mom’s dedication to youth has always been her driving force,” said daughter Marianne. “She wants to make sure all kids are treated equally and that all kids have opportunity.
“I know I’m biased, but she’s a great lady.”
If you want to nominate someone for The Journal’s Exceptional Person of the Week, contact [email protected]