Known for her organizational skills and talents as an artist, Sharon Dodge, 67, is busy and doing what she enjoys in retirement.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, her parents moved to Oregon in 1940, where her dad worked as a logger. They moved to Bend, then to Culver in 1948, and she graduated from Culver High School. Her siblings are Bill Brewer, now of Colorado, and Jefferson County Treasurer Bonnie Namenuk.
Right out of high school she worked four year as a secretary to Madras lawyer Sumner Rodriguez, then moved to Portland for two years and did secretarial work for Keane and Hessler law firm, and Arrow Transportation. While working for Rodriguez, she met Culver farmer Jim Dodge, who was several years older than her. "We dated every winter for four years before he asked me to marry him. He was too busy in the summer because he was farming," she laughed.
They were married February 1961 and settled in Culver to farm for the next 34 1/2 years growing diversified crops and cattle. Sharon pitched in to help thrash, drive truck, run the mint still, irrigate, help with the cattle and keep the books.
The Dodges raised two boys, James Jr., now of Arizona, and John, who lives in Virginia. The sons each have two children of their own now.
Sharon used an interest she had always had in art to help get Art Adventure Gallery started in Madras in 1981. She set up the gallery's bookkeeping system and worked there as a volunteer. She also enjoyed researching family history, took a genealogy class from Beth Crow, and became one of the most active members of Juniper Family Finders. She is currently the recording secretary of Family Finders and, as such, does genealogy research for others.
After 50 years of farming, Jim was ready to retire and they sold the ranch in February 1995, but he passed away in September of the same year.
After her husband died, she took some art classes from Camille Green at the art gallery, and launched an art career of her own. Subsequent classes from Robin Gerke, Mac Lange, Marilyn O'Hearn, workshops in Sisters, France, and Taos, New Mexico, developed her talent.
She made popular stained-glass windows for several years, and now focuses on watercolor and silk painting. The United Methodist Church she attends has enjoyed the many silk painting banners she has created for Christmas, Lent, Easter, Mother's Day and other holidays.
Sharon's spacious Madras home is filled with her large floral paintings and the artwork of others, and her favorite place is the light-filled solarium she uses as her art studio. This September she is getting ready for an art show of her own at Sage Frame Galley in Bend, the first Friday of the month.
Her advice for others gleaned through the years includes two things: Don't tell somebody you'll do something for them if you really don't want to. People get trapped into things. Also, don't stay mad. It doesn't benefit you or your body, or anybody else. You can get upset, but don't stay mad."