Sharon Jean (Kujala) Ridlon, born June 16, 1953, to Olaf and Sophie (Sleconich) Kujala. She attended grade school in Alango and graduated from Cook High School in 1971.
Sharon moved to Chicago, worked for two years, returned to Minnesota to work for the state for two years. She then moved back to the Iron Range and went to work for Taconite Engineering, purchased a home in Chisholm and met her future husband, Ray.
The Iron Range slowed down in the 1980s and the mining industry slowed down, then Sharon went to work at Merchants and Miners Bank, short term as a teller, filling for a pregnancy leave. She worked up to full time, and later became a commercial lender. When the bank sold, she decided not to stay with the new owners, and accepted a job as Executive Director of the United Way of Hibbing.
After two years, she was offered a commercial lender position at the Aurora Bank. A couple years later, she was offered the position of Bank President of the New Republic Bank branch in Hibbing, achieving her lifelong goal as a Bank President.
Then her husband, Roy, was hurt at work and disabled, then along came 9/11. Sharon had always wanted to travel, so they sold their home in Cherry, purchased a new RV and set out on their adventure. Heading to south Texas for the winter, and returning to Minnesota for the summers, staying at Little Winnie Resort campground and fishing summers, and back south for the warm Texas winters.
In 2018, Sharon fell ill with cancer. After a tough battle she won the fight, but it returned later with a vengeance and claimed her life on Sept. 25, 2021. She passed away with her loving husband by her side.
Sharon is survived by her loving husband of 43 years, Roy; son, Mike (Shelby); daughter, Michelle (Jim); brother, Steve of Chisholm; sister, Kathy Arola of Cook; numerous nieces and nephews and a special niece, Jeanie Pessenda of Chisholm.
There will be a Celebration of Life for Sharon from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, at Balkan Community Center, north of Chisholm.