Willoughby, Ohio – Sharon Marie Knotek, 71, died unexpectedly at her home. She was born July 12, 1952, in Seven Hills, Ohio, the daughter of Donald and Stella Diajean (nee Lyzwa) Knotek.
Sharon graduated from Nazareth Academy High School, Class of 1970. She then attended John Carroll University (JCU), earning Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Education degree, and a License in Social Work (LSW) there before beginning a life in service to others, working quietly and steadfastly her entire life for the betterment of others by serving in a variety of educational roles, exemplifying the JCU motto, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, For the Greater Glory of God.
She taught in Cleveland City Schools and worked for the Geauga County School system for many years in a variety of roles, including the role of Director of Operations, before retiring in 2020 as the Director of Special Education.
She was active in social, fraternal, and educational organizations and pursuits, most notably the Ohio Educational Service Center Association. As a project coordinator with the county’s educational center, she played a role in securing grant funding for Geauga Academy, an alternative school established in 1999 as a place where students slipping through the cracks at conventional high schools are given a chance to reclaim their education. She also participated in the partnership for success for the Geauga Family First Council – a collaborative, interagency organization designed to meet the diverse needs of families living within Geauga County through a unified system of services.
She will be remembered fondly for her sense of humor, fierce sense of independence, and the quiet but profound influence she had on so many of those she loved. She took the time to host sleepovers in her dorm at JCU for her little sister, exposing her to new worlds. She took her nieces and nephews to the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Zoo, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Playhouse Square. She attended every school graduation and sporting event she could throughout the years and took them to see every new Harry Potter. Her life mattered, and profoundly influenced others in ways she will never know, leaving the world a better place than she found it 71 years ago.
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by a brother, Donnie. Surviving relatives are her sister, Stacey A. (Knotek) Novak, and her husband, of Virginia; brother, Dale Knotek, and his wife, of Ohio; three nephews, Steven M. Knotek, of North Carolina and his wife, Jonathan Knotek, of Ohio, and Patrick J. Novak, of Virginia and his wife; two nieces, Caitlin L. Novak, of Virginia, and Lauren Knotek, of Ohio; and two great nephews, Ryan Knotek and Christopher Novak.
A private service will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Orwell, OH. Those who wish to remember Sharon in a special way may make gifts in her memory to the Ohio Coalition for the education of children with disabilities,firstname.lastname@example.org. 844.382.5452