Sharon Gayle Thompson Broadwater, 72, biology professor who had a zest for life and knowledge

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Sharon Gayle Thompson Broadwater
Sharon Gayle Thompson Broadwater

Sharon Gayle Thompson Broadwater, 72, passed away peacefully in Williamsburg Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Sharon was born in Middlesboro, Ky., on Nov. 26, 1944, to Herbert and Mildred (Hendrickson) Thompson.

Sharon loved learning and was an outstanding student. She attended Berea College and the University of Kentucky, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1966. That same year she married John Broadwater, whom she had been dating since high school.

After college, Sharon and John lived in various locations, including a two-year assignment in the Marshall Islands of Micronesia, where they both became avid scuba divers. Sharon taught middle school and high school science in several locations until 1978, when the family moved to Williamsburg, where she entered graduate school at the College of William & Mary. In 1984, she received her Ph.D. and began teaching science in WJCC schools. In 1988, Sharon joined the faculty at William and Mary, where she remained until her retirement in 2007 as associate professor of biology.

Sharon had a zest for life and knowledge. She studied all aspects of biology as well as more esoteric subjects such as chaos theory and human perception.

However, the real focus of her attention and love was her family. She was devoted to her husband, two daughters, and, eventually, her four grandsons.

Sharon is survived by her husband, John, of Williamsburg, Va.; daughters, Jennifer Noelle Miller, and her husband, Todd, and their sons, Noah, Lucas and Gabriel, of Williamsburg, Va., and April Renee Clark, and her husband, Rob, and their son, Ayres, of Knoxville, Tenn.; brother, Gary Thompson of Ringling, Okla.; brother, Michael Thompson of Cedar Hill, Texas; and sister, Elizabeth Pickering of Duncanville, Texas.

Sharon’s life will be celebrated at a memorial and reception to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Nelsen Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188. Friends are encouraged to visit www.nelsencares.com to share memories and condolences.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to the “Sharon Broadwater Memorial Fund,” c/o Alzheimer’s Association (1-800-272-3900), 213A McLaws Circle, Williamsburg, VA 23185.