Lillian M. Sharkey, a World War II veteran and devoted volunteer at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Melville, died Thursday.
She was 100 years old.
She was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served as a nurse during WWII in the Navy WAVES, or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. She had been working as a bank teller but joined the Navy as the war went on. After basic training in the Bronx, she received her nursing training at Walter Reed General Hospital and then served at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California, caring for wounded service members. She was honorably discharged on June 7, 1946.
After the war, she returned to Brooklyn, where she had been born on March 29, 1922, and worked as a nurse for a private doctor, later meeting her future husband, John Sharkey, a fellow veteran, at the VA Hospital in Brooklyn. After moving to Melville in 1972, she became active in several ministries at St. Elizabeth’s, including the food pantry and preparing children with disabilities to receive their sacraments.
She had been honored by Suffolk County Legislator Tom Donnelly in June, who thanked her for her service in person in June, and also recognized in a virtual Veterans Appreciation Day at the Suffolk County Legislature. ““Lillian Sharkey served at a time when it was out of the ordinary for women to be in the military. It was incredible to hear her compelling stories and memories. A true trailblazer, she is an inspiration for all service people, both male and female, who came after her,” Donnelly said at the time. “I am humbled and grateful to have met Lillian Sharkey and it was a privilege to honor her.”
She was predeceased by her husband, John, and leaves her son John (Nancy), grandchildren John (Andrea) and Christina (Thomas Brooke) and great-grandson, Aiden. She is the sister of Bernadette (Charles Fox) and the late Charles, Catherine and Eugene.
Her family will be receiving visitors, Sunday from 2 P.M.-4 P.M. & 7 P.M. – 9 P.M. at AL Jacobsen Funeral Home, 1380 New York Avenue, Huntington Station. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday at 9:30 A.M. at Saint Elizabeth of Hungary R.C. Church, 175 Wolf Hill Road, Melville, NY 11747. Interment will follow at Calverton National Cemetery, Wading River, NY 11792.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be considered to the:
Saint Elizabeth’s Outreach Program
175 Wolf Hill Rd
Melville, NY 11747