Sharon Elaine Whitney

27 June, 194515 January, 2021

Sharon Elaine (Stankus) Whitney, 75, of Mission Viejo, CA passed Friday, January 15, 2021 with heart failure due to sepsis. After a five-month bravely fought battle with overall health decline, she is finally at peace.

Sharon was born on June 27, 1945 to Herman Joseph Stankus and Violet Margaret (Wilding) Stankus in North Apollo, PA. She graduated from Santa Ana Valley High School in 1963.

First married to Michael Thomas Gavin in 1964, they moved to Granite City, IL, where Sharon became the proud mom of her two daughters, Karen Eileen (Gavin) van Gool and Kelley Ann (Gavin) Aranda. Sharon was the most devoted, loving, fun, and selfless mom, sacrificing for her girls, but never once making them feel like they were living less than their best lives. In 1975 Sharon and her girls moved to Tustin, CA to be closer to her parents and their extended family who had settled in Orange County, CA.

In her first employment after high school Sharon worked in Granite City, IL at Sears Roebuck and as a Telephone Operator at Pacific Telephone and Telegraph. She enjoyed a few years as a Homemaker, but then went to school to became a licensed hairdresser. For years, even after her salon work ended, Sharon enjoyed doing hair for family and friends. When she moved to California she began working as an Administrative Assistant and continued in that line of work for about 20 years until she stopped working at the age of 49.

In 1978 she met the love of her life, Albert “Hank” Colton Whitney II while working together at Smith Tool in Irvine, CA. They married July 30, 1982 at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel on the Vegas Strip and honeymooned in Hawaii. Karen and Kelley were extremely happy to welcome Hank to the family. Hank and Sharon had 38 wonderful years together. They enjoyed flying in Hank’s airplane, going to car shows with the Corvette, watching car races from the stands, attending special events for dear friends and family, and participating in every single activity they could with their grandchildren.

To know Sharon is to know that nothing stopped her. Even with physical limitations, she lived her life to the fullest. She loved her family and friends deeply. Her love language was to find or make that special gift that she chose just for you. Things we all know: She loved Christmas, and if it didn’t move, it got a bow. She was a collector – of everything. She loved all children and delighted in creating treat bags for Halloween every year. She loved to dance. Elvis was her King. She took unbelievable, loving care of her mom. She would do anything for her grandchildren. She would not leave the house without her hair and makeup done and was always dressed her best. She loved to shop. She was fiercely sentimental. Her hot chocolate had to be made just right. She loved to cook. She had so much fun with her Twinges gals. She explored many hobbies and interests. She disliked conflict and liked to make the peace. She was proud of her daughters, but really proud of her grandchildren. Her smile was the very best. It was beautiful. It beamed from within. It was genuine and full of love. She would want “you’ns” to remember her with that smile.

Sharon was predeceased by her loving parents Herm and Vi and her stepmother Darlene. She is survived by her husband Albert (Hank) Colton Whitney II, daughters Karen van Gool (Paul) & Kelley Aranda, grandchildren Thomas, Megan, Olivia and Charles, brother Richard Stankus, and large extension of family & friends. Sharon’s dear friends were family to her. Ellen Goodwin of Santa Ana, CA was like a sister. Dottie and Jimmy McFetridge of North Ireland and Oceanside, CA have watched over Sharon since she was a teenager. Sharon dearly loved Lynn My and Dennis Tran, who grew up knowing her as “grandma.” We could never name all who were special to her and who she carried in her heart every day. We are extremely grateful for your care, concern, thoughts, and prayers.

In lieu of flowers, honor Sharon by doing something nice for yourself, because that’s the way Sharon would have wanted it.

A Celebration of Sharon's life will be held at Fairhaven Memorial Service, Outdoor Gazebo , 27856 Center Drive, Mission Viejo, Ca 92692 on Saturday 27th February 2021 commencing at 10 am.


  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, 27 February , 2021


Sharon Elaine Whitney

have a memory or condolence to add?

Cynthia Futrell-Kilgore

27 February 2021

My heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the Whitney family. Sharon loved her family so much and enjoyed talking about them and I enjoyed listening to her because she beamed as she spoke of them. Sharon was a dear friend to me. We worked very close together at Boeing in Huntington Beach back in 1990-1996. She was very talented and very crafty and made me some of the most beautiful Christmas arrangements. Although I returned to St. Louis in 1996, Sharon and I remained in contact. We never missed sending each other birthday and Christmas cards. She kept me in touch with her family through notes in my cards and sending me photos. (BTW, I still have every card she has ever given me.) Sadly, last October was the first time I did not receive a birthday card from Sharon since 1990. Then came Christmas with no photo of the family and I knew this was not like her. I will truly miss Sharon and our "across the miles" friendship. Take care Whitney family and continue to reminisce on the good memories you shared with her. I know I will. Thank you for allowing me to share my favorite memories of Sharon. Rest in Peace My Dear Friend.

Giulietta Wychgel

26 February 2021

To Hank,

I was blessed to meet both Hank and Sharon at Smith Tool.
Sharon had a big heart and wonderful sweet personality.

I will always remember their love for each other and the teasing back and forth between them, when working with them, so cute, so much love.
I will miss her, May she Rest In Peace.

My prayers are with you Hank and your family.

My best,

Kathy Matthews

26 February 2021

To Hank, Karen, Kelly and families,
Wishing you strength, peace and comfort in knowing Sharon fiercely loved you all! (Hank she absolutely treasured you)
I'm honored to remember my most precious friend-she will forever leave fingerprints on my heart and soul.

Love Kathy & Sean

Ted Metz

26 February 2021

To our close friend Hank and your Family, May today be a beautiful celebration of Sharon‘s life. May it be a memory that will stay within your heart forever for her suffering is gone and she is in eternal peace.
As years go by, old friendship is the dearest kind of all, for old friends share rich memories that are precious to recall and through the years we realize how deeply we depend on the comfort and the pleasure of lasting lifetime friends.
With our deepest sympathy love,
Betty Ann & Ted

Jim and Darene Stankus

25 February 2021

Our dear cousin, may your soul rest in peace in the Kingdom of Heaven.
To the family of Sharon - Hank, her daughters, and grandchildren, we send our love, thoughts, and prayers. You were all the center of her heart and life. May you now celebrate her life with joy in your heart, beautiful stories to be shared, and every time you look up in the sky - smile and tell her "hello" she will always be with you. God Bless....
Jim and Darene Stankus

Sue Ray

24 February 2021

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Sharon's passing. We became friends through our ladies Twinges luncheon group. Sharon was a kind soul who I and certainly many others will miss.

Tina Le

22 February 2021

To Hank

Sharon will always be in our heart.
She loved you so much, she always wanted the BEST for you and family. She was an amazing woman and will be sorely missed
May she rest in peace
I am in loss of words because this time is the most difficult one for you and your family, I will be there whenever you need me.
Please stay strong

Tina/Minh Tran

Kelly Sawyer

20 February 2021

We are neighbors to Hank and Sharon and have been for many years. They have seen our children grow up. With that said, you become accustomed to one another and there is comfort in knowing you have kind people right up the street. Over the years and many times I walk past their house, stopping for a brief hello, and getting the latest updates. It really hurt my heart when I happened to be walking by and Hank shared with me that he lost his love. I could see the pain on his face. To be married that long and lose your best friend and know that she leaves behind kids and grandkids puts a whole in the heart. Our prayers are with you all, that the loving memories you have, help to ease the pain. With much love, Tim + Kelly + Shelby + Kaz (The Sawyer Family) God Bless each of you.

Ellen Goodwin

28 January 2021

Hank, Karen, Kelley and family - my heartfelt condolences to all of you. I know you will miss Sharon very much. She was such a special lady and I will never forget her beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. She was my best friend for around 45 years and I will truly miss her.

Peter Davies

26 January 2021

To Hank; Karen; Kelly & family with our most sincere condolences for the loss of Sharon. Wonderful memories of a special lady who was always ready there when you needed a good friend.
Peter Davies & Dawn Chodrick
Grand Lake; Oklahoma

From the Family