A Life's Remembrance of Sharon Horwell
Sharon Lee Banja Horwell was born on February 2, 1945 in Easton, Pennsylvania, as the daughter of Gloria Lorraine Roberts Banja and the late Emil Banja. Her life was committed to inspiring, giving, and caring for her family and her community. On October 13, 2019, she left this world at the age of 74, yet her eternal influence survives through all the lives she inspired.
She graduated from Easton High School and attended college at Penn State University. She elected to serve 4 years in the U.S. Army as a laboratory technician. Her fondest military memories were in Landstuhl, Germany at the Landstuhl Medical Center, traveling around Europe, and skiing in the Alps. As a phlebotomist, her greatest pride was being called upon to do the hardest blood draws, which she completed on the first time, every time. She then worked in Philadelphia, PA, where she met her future husband, William Robinson Horwell, Jr. They married on December 10, 1972. About a year later and upon Sharon's insistence for him to travel southwest to find a future family home, William drove to Oklahoma. After arriving in Oklahoma, he called Sharon. She immediately started singing the musical theme song "Oklahoma" and loaded up her car for this new adventure. They bought a 40-acre hobby farm in Henryetta for their future endeavors, where they raised their daughters, Rodanthee Banja Horwell and Sonya Banja Horwell.
She positively influenced countless lives through her ingenuity, passion, and dedication. An avid reader and amazing listener, she frequently gave the most thoughtful gifts to her friends and family. Her love of animals fostered educational initiatives within her community. Local kindergarten classes and Girl Scouts, as well as family friends, visited the Banja-Horwell farm consisting of cows, sheep, horses, pigs, chickens, roosters, guineas, turkeys, geese, ducks, and quail. She served as a Girl Scout leader for 6 years for troop #99. Through the Girl Scouts, she coordinated numerous slumber parties and copious expansive scientific and cultural endeavors including horseback riding lessons, science museum field trips, and astronomy sightings. Her oldest niece elected to be a science teacher because of Sharon's enthusiasm and inspiration.
After her daughters grew older, she returned to work as a microbiologist. She was nicknamed the "hummingbird," because she moved with great speed throughout the various lab workstations. She was determined to research the most intriguing, complex cases. By actively engaging the medical providers to seek the patients' clinical conditions, she provided greater context to every lab specimen.
Most notably, her drive and motivation fostered her daughters' desires to enter the medical field; one became a clinical nurse specialist and the other became a physician. Her unique military experiences inspired her youngest daughter to become an Army officer. She also engaged her grandchildren at all opportunities.
She is survived by her mother, Gloria Banja; her husband, William Horwell; her daughters, Rodanthee Banja Goodell (and husband, Kendal) and Sonya Horwell Heidt (and husband, William); and her four glorious grandchildren, Braden, Makenna, Jaxon, and William.
Viewing will be on Wednesday, October 16, from 5-8 pm at Integrity Funeral Service.
Memorial services will be held on Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 6:00 PM with Mike Dewitt, officiating. Services are under the direction of Integrity Funeral Service.
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