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Sharon F. Peters, 68

NOV. 11, 1943-DEC. 18, 2011

December 19, 2011
  • Sharon F. Peters
Submitted photo

The Rev. Sharon Fitch Peters, age 68, of Sharpsburg, Md., passed unexpectedly on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011, at her home.

She was born Nov. 11, 1943, in Wellsville, N.Y., to the late Ephraim Schley and Irene May (Holaday) Fitch.

The Fitch family relocated to Valparaiso, Ind., when she was 8 years of age. After graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. from Hanover College, she moved to Washington, D.C., to teach math at a local junior high school.

She met her husband, David, in D.C. and together they raised their three children. She worked part-time for the county school system, teaching students who were hospitalized or homebound for emotional or physical reasons.

While in her 30s, Sharon was called to the ministry and attended Wesley Theological Seminary. During her final year at seminary, Sharon worked at Capitol Hill Presbyterian, participating in the full range of ministerial duties and involvement in neighborhood mission. Just prior to her graduation, she served as a resident chaplain at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. In December of 1984, Sharon was ordained at her home congregation, Northwood Presbyterian Church, in Silver Spring.

Upon completion of her residency, Sharon served as a parish associate at her home congregation and was Interim Director of Pastoral Care at Children’s Hospital Center.

From 1985 until 2007, Sharon served as Chief Executive Officer of the Pathways Schools in Silver Spring. Under her leadership, the school was a pioneer in special education both regionally and nationally. In 2007, she was nominated for the Achievement Initiative for Maryland’s Minority Students Community Excellence Award. She was an inclusion candidate for Who’s Who Among Outstanding Americans and participated in Leadership Montgomery. After retirement, Sharon served as chaplain at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village in Boonsboro and at Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown.

Sharon was a Community Excellence Award Nominee with the Maryland State Department of Education and received an Excellence Award from Crosswood Inc. in Silver Spring. She was a founding member of the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health and worked as an advocate for the arts in education, having received numerous Washington Post and Maryland Arts Council grants.

Sharon’s community involvement included serving on the board of Association of Professional Chaplains and of Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities. Locally, she was a board member of the Sharpsburg Heritage Festival, a member of the Sharpsburg Historical Society and a volunteer with the Lions Club of Sharpsburg.

Sharon is survived by her beloved husband, David H. Peters; her three children, Todd D. Peters and wife, Jennifer, of Germantown, Md., and Laura C. Peters, and Melinda I. Peters and husband, Noah J. Pearcy, all of Richmond, Va.; her two sisters, Claire F. Zimmerman of Bourbonnais, Ill., and Arlene J. Elliott and husband, Wayne, of Valparaiso, Ind.; and her brother, Walter S. Fitch of Anderson, Ind. She is also survived by her loving grandchildren and many other family members.

A funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 10813 Donelson Drive, Williamsport, Md. The Rev. Mark A. Sandell will officiate. Final resting place ceremonies will be held at 3 p.m. following a time of fellowship at the church.

Friends are invited to visit beginning at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011, at Bast-Stauffer Funeral Home, 7606 Old National Pike, Boonsboro, Md., where the family will be present to receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m.

Donations in memory of Sharon may be made to The Pathways Schools, 1106 University Blvd. West, Silver Spring, MD 20902 or to Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village, 8507 Mapleville Road, Boonsboro, MD 21713.

Expressions of sympathy may be offered to the family at www.baststaufferfuneralhome.com.

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