Friends, dormmates remember Chad Sharon
Assistant News Editor
After learning that someone they knew so well would not be returning to Notre Dame, those who knew Chad Sharon best reflected on his life and time at Notre Dame.
"He was a high achiever but very down to earth. He was just a wonderful person. Nothing ever really got him down," said Danita Altfillisch, a Notre Dame sophomore who attended Merrill High School in Wisconsin with Sharon. "He was class president. He was voted most likely to succeed."
Altfillisch, who worked on many student government projects with Sharon, noted that he always went the extra mile in everything he undertook. "He was very unselfish. He was willing to help others even if it made his life more difficult."
Altfillisch remembered one instance in particular where the state of Wisconsin was considering budget cuts that could affect their high school and she and Sharon worked to prevent those cuts from being approved. "He put together this really ornate Power Point presentation. He put so much time into it."
After disappearing Dec. 12, Sharon's body was discovered Wednesday in the St. Joseph River.
Sharon, who attended Notre Dame on a full-ride scholarship, earned the same Leonard N. Anson Memorial Scholarship that Altfillisch received. The scholarship recognizes an outstanding student from Merrill High School who chooses to attend Notre Dame, Altfillisch said. After she was named as the scholarship's recipent, Altfillisch remembers talking with Sharon about his hope to attend Notre Dame and encouraging him to apply for the Anson scholarship. "I remember when he got it," Altfilisch said. "He called me at school."
Altfillisch said she hadn't yet come to terms with the recent events. "[Chad] was just one of those people that you hate to have these things happen to,' she said.
Tom Gorman, a sophomore at the University, lived across the hall from him in Fisher. Gorman and his roommate Peter Nebel were close friends of Sharon's. "He's just going to be missed," Gorman said. "He was always smiling."
Gorman said that Sharon placed a high priority on his studies and enjoyed working with computers. Like Altfillisch, Gorman noted that Sharon always thought of his section mates before himself. "He was always looking out for other people," said Gorman. Though Gorman said Wednesday's announcement provided some closure to the uncertainty of the past two months, he said he had completely accepted the recent news.
Father Robert Moss, rector of Fisher Hall, said Sharon brought a cheerful smile and caring attitude to the Fisher Hall community and loved being a student at the University. "He was just thrilled about being at Notre Dame."
Moss also recalled the special friendship that Sharon had with Ellie, the Fisher pet dog. "She would spot him about halfway down the corridor and her tail would start wagging," Moss said.
Sister Kathleen Cannon, associate dean of the College of Science and theology professor at Notre Dame, taught Sharon in her introductory theology class. "He was really a fine student," said Cannon. "He was a very thoughtful and sensitive young man."
Cannon noted that Sharon took a very serious attitude toward his studies yet truly enjoyed the opportunity to attend Notre Dame. "[On] the last day of classes he sent me an email to thank me," she said.
Sharon was receiving an A in the theology class, Cannon said, and put dedicated effort into every aspect of her class. "I offered options for extra credit and [Chad] didn't need them but he did them so thoroughly," Cannon recalled.
Cannon also remembered a Web site that Sharon created about the Gospel of Mark for a major assignment in the theology class. "I had talked with him on the last day of classes about how we could keep the theology project open on his website so I could use it for other classes," Cannon said.
Though he did not know Sharon personally, Bill Kirk, assistant vice president for student affairs, was closely involved with the effort to offer every support possible to Sharon's family. Kirk maintained close contact with Steve and Jane Sharon throughout the past two months and talked with the Sharons every day. "They've become friends," Kirk said. "They've been in my thoughts and prayers an awful lot."
All News Stories for Friday, February 14, 2003