Lois Jean Taylor (Sharkey), age 92, of Fountain Hills, AZ and formerly AuTrain, MI died peacefully in her home on Saturday, October 21, 2023, surrounded by her daughters, family members and God’s love. Lois was born to Edward and Beatrice Sharkey on May 10, 1931 in Munising, MI, where she attended Sacred Heart School and graduated from William G. Mather High School.
Lois was a devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt and grandmother who held many fond memories of growing up in Munising as part of the “Sharkey Gang.” She often said there was no better town than Munising to have grown up in because everyone genuinely cared for each other. She also recalled with great affection the years she spent working as a young woman for Mrs. Potter at her then well-known restaurant in town.
On July 25, 1959, Lois married Ralph “Red” Taylor and together they lovingly built their first home from the ground up in AuTrain, MI, which later became the site of many holiday gatherings for family and friends. In 1967, Lois and Red moved their young family to Illinois and settled in the town of Crystal Lake, where they raised their two daughters for nearly 20 years and enjoyed their travel through Asia, the Hawaiian Islands, the Caribbean and many other destinations.
Always a stylish lady, Lois will be remembered for wearing pencil skirts and pearls with two toddlers at her knee. She put her fashion sense to work in the early-1970s when she became a franchise operator of Claire’s Boutique, the popular jewelry and accessory retail chain. Lois received numerous accolades and awards for sales, and her shop was frequently one of the top-grossing stores for the Northern Illinois region. As she bustled around her boutique, Lois could frequently be heard telling customers “There’s no outfit that can’t be made better by a scarf or necklace!”
In the mid-1980s, Lois and Red retired back to AuTrain, Michigan where they restored and renovated their beloved train depot into a residential home. A historical building dating back to the early 1900’s, the depot is now run as a vacation rental by Lois’ two nieces – an unexpected turn of events that ensured the structure would remain in the loving hands of family, bringing Lois great joy.
In early retirement, Lois filled her days grooming exquisite gardens, coordinating church fundraisers, traveling to her Arizona winter home, and hosting her Florida-based daughter and grandchildren every summer for a fun- and love-filled U.P. vacation. Lois was a member of the Yard and Garden Club of AuTrain, the Red Hat Society of Munising, and a devotee to the Altar Society of Saint Therese Mission Church in AuTrain.
In her latter years, Lois permanently moved to Arizona, where she resided in the beautiful town of Fountain Hills. She was an active widow and community grandparent, volunteering at book fairs, Little League concession sales, church events, her condo village landscaping committee, and numerous other philanthropic activities. She rarely missed a ball game of her three Arizona-based grandsons, and was affectionately known as “Grandma Taylor” by many who came to know her in the small town of Fountain Hills.
Lois is survived by her daughters, Patty Taylor from Inverness, FL and Kelly (Rick) Boyer of Fountain Hills, AZ; five grandchildren - Shannon Hoey of Tontitown, AK, Si Taylor of Inverness, FL, and George, Adam and Grant Boyer of Fountain Hills, AZ; three sisters - Pat Wester of Marquette, MI, JoAnn Cromell of Munising, MI, and Judy (Butch) Patience of Harvey, MI; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph Taylor; her parents, Edward and Beatrice Sharkey; her siblings, Clarice Sharkey, George Sharkey and Robert Sharkey; and brothers and sister-in-law, Mike Cromell, Dick Wester and Ann Sharkey.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated in the summer of 2024 in Munising, MI. Interment will be at the Maple Grove Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org.