Dora Sharko, 1908 - 2007
FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, November 29 2007

During this past month we have posted a series of stories about the fading community of Crooked River, east of Tisdale on highway #3 as it began with a photo essay I did of the beauty of fall in what once was a thriving sawmill town. Ray Strachan who grew up as a boy in the community sent me some pictures of the mill and people from the 1940s which we posted. Then Joe Ives sent along some fearful images of a fire that raged through Crooked River in particular destroying a general store. Not surprisingly Ray linked the pictures he had with the fire by pointing out an event that had taken place in one of the upstairs parts of one of the burning buildings.

Joe then sent us a poignant image of a train wreck a mile and a half from Crooked River at Murphy's Siding. The round house, water tower, coal dock and foreman's house are all gone and it is now the approximate site of the Pioneer Inland Terminal. Today in Ensign we have some present day pictures of the terminal and the stark cold beauty of the area.

Ken Styan a true history buff here in Tisdale has been following these stories and noted the passing of Dora Sharko who died this week at age 99. She was the operator of the store in Crooked River that burned and when that event happened she and her family moved to Saskatoon. Her husband Paul, had been the coal dock foreman out at Murphy's Siding. Below is the Star Phoenix obituary written by Joy Claypool. Paul and Dora Sharko had a son and daughter. Their son, Lloyd, a good friend of Ray Strachan, married Violet and Joy is their daughter, grand daughter of the Crooked River store keeper.

Ken Styan had passed on the obituary to Ray and to it Ray recounted his vivid memories of Dora. Ray's piece follows the obituary at the bottom of this page.

I checked Google for references to Murphy's Siding and sure enough model railroader Scott Gibbs of Saskatoon married a woman who's father also was foreman of the Murphy Siding coal dock. Ray Strachan informs me that Scott Gibbs is the telegraph operator who married Pauline Sharko, sister of Lloyd and daughter of Dora and Paul. Scott's web site has an interesting paragraph that talks about the promise of Murphy's Siding.

The pictures shown on this page were take of Crooked River this afternoon from the east looking toward the west along and across, the Crooked River.


SHARKO _Dora Sharko (Haidey), our dear mother-in-law, grandmother and great grandmother passed away Thursday, November 18, 2007, at the age of 99 years (just four months short of her 100th birthday).

In addition to being a mother of two, Dora ran a small general store in Crooked River Saskatchewan, until fire destroyed it.

Following this, Dora and her husband Paul, moved to Saskatoon in the 1960's.

Dora was always a very joyful, lively lady. She had enormous energy and a gentle, kind spirit. She worked very hard in her life. While still a young mother, Dora overcame some serious health issues and went on to have a very full, active life.

We will remember her as being a lady with great style who dressed beautifully and always wore heels! Dora was a skilled seamstress, very successful gardener and an amazing cook especially her Ukrainian dishes. Friends say that the borscht that she taught me to make, is the very best they have ever tasted. She enjoyed bowling and playing cards, crocheting, painting, and puzzle building. But first and foremost she loved the company of friends and family.

Dora was one of those people who made your days just a little bit sweeter because she was a part of your life. Some of her happiest times were having her good neighbours in for a cup of coffee and piece of cake. In the summer, Dora always had a bag of cucumbers or swiss chard, or bowl of tomatoes to send home with those that dropped in. And she had many, many dear friends on Albert Avenue in Saskatoon where she lived for over 30 years.

Dora enjoyed NHL Hockey (Toronto Maple Leafs) and baseball, especially watching the Toronto Blue Jays. My husband, Dallas, enjoyed talking baseball with her and marveled at how she knew specific details about the team's record and players' averages, even into her 90's.

My mother Violet (her daughter-in-law) and Dora were very close and enjoyed late night talks on the phone, shopping together, attending church, trips out for supper or just sneaking out for a maple walnut sundae at the Dairy Queen. I was blessed to have had the best grandmother a little girl could ever hope for.

I will always remember the nights when I was little going out into the garden with grandma and a flashlight to pick a cucumber and a few strawberries. And no matter how late we arrived at grandma's for a weekend visit she would always bake a cake with me even at 11 o'clock at night! She sewed the best dresses, entertained me with great fairy tales and taught me all about gardening, flowers (her favorite flower was the pansy because she thought they have very pretty `faces'), and cooking.

We spent summers together at the pool and going shopping downtown. When I got my driver's license the first place I drove on my own was to grandma's house. Most recently my own two little boys Austin and Wyatt, had the privilege to know her and to experience her great kindness and love. In the few years that they had with her she made an impression on them her excitement to see them and to give them hugs and kisses. And as was her way, she would have some tasty food or interesting item to share with them.

Thank you to Judy and the staff at Judy's Care Home who cared for Dora and were her latest friends. (Judy, Dora really liked it when you called her D). And most recently our appreciation to the staff of St. Joseph's for all you have done. And finally thank you grandma you will live in our hearts forever. I John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

With love, Violet Sharko, Joy, Dallas, Austin and Wyatt Claypool

Published in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix on 11/26/2007.

She was a wonderful lady. Her husband Paul was the coal dock foreman at Murphys Siding which was just 1 1/2 miles west of Crooked River. They had a daughter Pauline and a son Lloyd.

Lloyd and I started grade 1 together in Crooked River in 1939. We were good friends and I stayed with them on over nighters many times when we were kids.

What the lady says was so true, she was a wonderful cook and very friendly. Its funny, one thing that has stuck with me ever since, is that, when she was making something with eggs, she would always crack them into a separate bowl, take a spoon and take out that white gob . She refered to them as the cockroaches. Believe it, or not, I still do that. I cannot stand to leave them in if the eggs when they are required to be broken open raw.

When Paul retired from the CN they bought the store in Crooked River. Pauline married a telegraph operator and LLoyd became one. I hired on before him and I worked mostly on the Prince Albert Division while he worked on the Saskatoon Division and we sort of lost contact with each other over the years. Poor guy passed away shortly after retiring.

I had heard that Paul and Lloyd had both passed away and often wondered if Mrs. Sharko was still alive. Never dreamt that she would live to 99.

Ray Strachan

Timothy W. Shire

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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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