Sharon Anne Lux, nee McLaughlin, died peacefully on Wednesday, 28 April 2021, in hospice care at the
Philip Hulitar Center in Providence. Despite pandemic restrictions, her family and friends were able to
visit and spend a good bit of time with her there. Her husband and daughters were with her as she
Besides her husband David and daughters Jessica, Hillary, and Madeleine, Sharon is survived by her
brother Christopher McLaughlin of Jacksonville, Florida, and her Godmother Elvira Averka of South
Boston, Massachusetts. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Sharon was the
daughter of Gerald T. Mclaughlin and Diane (Danute) Frances Averka. She was extremely proud of both
the Irish and the Lithuanian heritage they gave her. No birthday ever passed in her house without
acknowledgment of her cultural heritages.
Anyone seeking to summarize Sharon's life would do well to revisit Cindy Lauper's 1983 anthem to
female empowerment: Girls Just Want to have Fun. Sharon was committed, hard-working, and
passionate in all her interests, but even as she worked to shape a life, a family, and a career, she never
lost her passion for having fun.
In 1976, Sharon received her B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Middlebury College (Phi Beta
Kappa). Sharon’s life took a turn shortly after graduation from Middlebury when she ventured to Ann
Arbor and the University of Michigan School of Library Science. She hated that program and soon
dropped out. Still, all was not lost. To support herself as a graduate student Sharon had taken a part-
time job as a security guard at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. That is where she met her
future husband, David Lux, another of the museum guards. Their relationship was cordial at first and
didn’t click until almost a year later as David prepared to leave for France to carry out his Ph.D. research.
They escaped together to Paris. David spent his days in the Bibliotheque Nationale and Sharon polished
her French reading murder mysteries at the brand new Centre Pompidou – a museum that housed the
only public library in Paris. Their museum and library experiences had a strong impact on them both and
they married to start a family. Jessica arrived in 1980 in Ann Arbor. Hillary in 1983 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Madeleine in 1987, also in Blacksburg.
Sharon was a genuine life-long learner. In 1989 she took an M.A. in Education (Curriculum and
Instruction) at Virginia Tech. Then she took a second master's degree in 1995 at the University of Rhode
Island, an MLIS (Masters in Library and Information Science).
Sharon had an active professional life, even while nurturing a young family. She worked that first phase
of her career at local libraries both in Virginia and Rhode Island. With the completion of her formal
education in Library Science in 1995, however, she began what was effectively a second professional
career as a school media specialist, librarian, and English Language Learning specialist (ELL). In that
constellation of professional interests, she followed a career path that took her first to LaSalle Academy
in Providence; then to the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, China; next back to the Graduate
School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Rhode Island (adjunct); on to St.
Michael’s Country Day School; then to the Fay School in Southborough, Massachusetts; and finally, to
the Bryant Zhuhai Program in Zhuhai, China.
Along her course through that professional career Sharon also compiled an impressive record of
community engagement through service on boards and committees: The Rhode Island Center for the
Book, The Massachusetts School Library Association, the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Library
System, the Steering Committee of the Commonwealth (Mass) E-Book Development Committee, Board
member of the Digital Commonwealth, and the Strategic Planning Committee of the Southborough
(Mass) Public Library.
Even after her a formal retirement in 2017, Sharon remained active professionally as a board member
with both the Rhode Island Library Association and the Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates
(COLA). She was serving out her term as the COLA Board Chair at the time she received her cancer
diagnosis in the fall of 2020. Sharon was a committed advocate for local libraries. Wherever she lived
throughout her entire life, her first act upon arriving in a new town was to sign up for her local library
Sharon built her life on four principles:
- Her commitment to working for the "good" of her family and her community
- A belief in the transformative power of education
- Her passion for sharing the power of media literacy
- Her desire to help others by sharing her own experience, strength, and hope
Sharon was a genuine global citizen. She lived a formative period of her childhood in Japan. As a
Middlebury student in the 1970s, she spent a semester at Leningrad State University in the U.S.S.R. She
also lived for a time in Paris, and in recent years she has traveled extensively, lived, and taught in China.
Sharon lived her passions. She truly exemplified the Greek ideal that seeking the "good" furnishes our
highest human purpose. She paused her education and that second career only to see her three
daughters through their early years. She ensured that they -- along with all her students and library
patrons -- got the best of her advice as an information specialist, librarian, and editor. She never missed
a daughter's performance, recital, or contest. She also attended hundreds of those formative events
supporting her students, sometimes well after they had left her classrooms. At the same time, her
daughters were stunned when they realized that not all their classmates enjoyed a full family sit-down
dinner (with cloth napkins) every day. She always welcomed friends, classmates, and students into her
home and at her dinner table.
Sharon was well aware of how powerful her own educational experience had been. She wanted to share
that power with her students. She was particularly conscious of the need to encourage and support a
student who might be seen as the "odd duck" or as "too shy." Sharon seemed to have a super-power
that could bring out the best in those students. That super-power proved especially potent during both
her stints teaching in China. She has maintained connections with numerous students both from her
time in Wuhan (2009) and her years in Zhuhai (2015-2017).
Beyond the power of education, Sharon's students all became familiar with her passion for media
literacy: "Who is producing this content? Why are they putting it out there? How do they want you to
react?" Just to illustrate her power with this, we can reveal that a former middle school student from
LaSalle from more than fifteen years ago recently contacted her to report that she had "ruined him" for
having any ability to enjoy today’s polarized news: "Who produced this? What do they want me to
believe? Do I believe it?" Sharon was passionate with this message and carefully crafted experiential
learning to drive the message home.
In her desire to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope, Sharon was an active
member of Alcoholics Anonymous for many years. In that regard, she took her turns at making coffee
and doing committee work. She provided sponsorship to others, and she was passionate about sharing
the message. She wanted to help the next alcoholic. In her service supporting recovery she had a
particular concern for women whose addictions had entangled them in the legal system. One of her
most treasured AA commitments was bringing the message into rehab facilities, women's prisons, and
to women trapped in detention facilities awaiting trial. Those women especially piqued her sense of
social justice and what she considered “good.”
Sharon had an active and productive life. Well into her sixties, she could be spotted teaching teens to do
handstands in a swimming pool or doing tumbling tricks on the lawn with toddlers. She loved fun. Most
recently, Sharon was looking forward to getting her new RV on the road for a National Park camping
adventure with her daughters. Sharon certainly sought education. She carried her messages of media
literacy and recovery to the world with real passion. She was modest, but also proud of her
accomplishments and the number of lives she had touched. Beyond all that, however, Sharon was still a
girl who just loved to travel and have fun.
Visiting hours Wednesday morning, May 5, 2021, from 8:30 am to 10:15 am in the Iannotti Funeral Home at MAPLE ROOT, 2000 Nooseneck Hill Rd., (Rte.3) Coventry, with a Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, West Warwick. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to help support your local library would be appreciated. Full obituary iannottifh.com
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