Sharon A. Standriff, 65, a retired Toledo Public Schools payroll director who was treasurer of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association scholarship committee and who, in 1975, was the first and only woman umpire in Toledo, died of cancer yesterday in her South Toledo home.
She had heart surgery and several rounds of treatment since learning she had cancer about three years go.
"She just looked at life as a gift and lived every day to its fullest," her son Mark said.
Last week, a special Lourdes College graduation ceremony was held in her home. She'd gone to Lourdes so she could become a teacher. Illness kept her from finishing a final project. She was an A student, the project was waived, and she was granted a bachelor's degree.
Mrs. Standriff was treasurer the last decade of the Old Newsboys committee that annually awards eight $5,000 scholarships. She kept the books and she made sure that students had their paperwork - invoices and the like - in order.
Mrs. Standriff's husband, Robert, is executive secretary and a past president of the organization. She was involved, even behind the scenes, for decades, said Ron Shnider, a past president of the Old Newsboys.
"She was one of the first women to really take an active role in the organization," Mr. Shnider said. "She was a regular at a lot of our events, assisting wherever she could."
Mrs. Standriff was a 30-year employee of the Toledo schools, retiring in 2001 as payroll director. She began as a substitute teacher, became a school bus driver, and then took an accounting position. She was promoted further and, after she left, was a consultant for the district.
When her husband, then a teacher, was courtside announcer for Scott High School basketball games, she shot game films from the stands. She decided to become a baseball umpire in the early 1970s after her husband and an umpire argued over a rule during a softball game. By mid-decade she was on the field, often the only umpire at Colt and Pee Wee league games.
"It was tremendously gratifying," her son said.
Mrs. Standriff was a neighborhood activist in the 1970s and spoke often before Toledo City Council against a proposed widening of Glendale Avenue.
In recent years, she sang with the River Raisin Sweet Adelines and took the bass part in the barbershop-style chorus.
"She was strong and generous," her son said. "She was very noble about everything - her work with people; in giving us great life lessons. There was a nobility about her that was very special."
She attended a papal Mass in November during a visit to Italy, and her family has a photo of her five feet away from Pope Benedict XVI
"It was the trip of a lifetime for her," her son said.
Born Sharon Ann Mack, family and friends called her "Sam," after her initials. She was a graduate of St. Ursula Academy.
Surviving are her husband, Robert, whom she married Aug. 13, 1965; sons, Mark, Scott, and Kevin Standriff; daughter, Kyle Standriff; mother, Theresa Mack; sister, Chartel "Chuckles" Peterson, and six grandchildren.
The body will be in the Coyle Funeral Home after 2 p.m. Monday, with a Scripture service at 7 p.m. Monday in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church, of which she was a member.
The family suggests tributes to the Sharon A. and Robert A. Standriff Scholarship Fund of the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association.