In Memory

Sharon Nunnally (Birge)


September 15, 1948 to July 15, 2015

(There is no obituary - however, we are thankful for her family allowing us to share following, which is the text of what the pastor said at her service)

"Bob, Shawna and family, thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about Sharon. I can’t even imagine what you are going through but I am confident that Sharon is in a great place surrounded by other amazing people. Sharon started at Boeing Portland, before it was even Boeing. In 1973 the plant was called Radiation International. She worked as a fill-in nurse for a couple of years before Boeing hired her on as the site nurse full-time, later moved into HR and then was selected as the first full-time Company Administrator for Joint Programs in Portland in early 2000. My earliest memories of Sharon are around the time I was a new first line manager, asking for her and Jim Thompson’s help with training for my crew of machinists. You need to understand, the tools/machines and processes we use are extremely complex, with tolerances and requirements that rival any manufacturing performed in the world. She always asked, what are we trying to solve, what does the customer need? She was objective in her responses, balanced between what the company needed, what would help the employee, ensure the quality of the product, and promote the working together charter of Joint Programs. She had the unique ability to balance this with the absolute foundation of care and concern of our teammates. I was trying to list all of the different processes or programs that Sharon was involved in, but sorry I can’t stand up here and talk for the next 2 hours! , so I will try to paint the landscape of what she did and influenced, starting with high schools and our Tech Prep program. Sharon has been an integral part of a program that has introduced Boeing and the craft of manufacturing to thousands of kids. She’

s touched hundreds as they progressed though the 3 year program at Boeing Portland and helped dozens win a family wage career at Boeing. Sharon was also at the core of our apprentice program, a very unique state sanctioned and recognized program including machinists, facilities mechanics and electricians. We currently have 22 in three apprenticeship programs with nearly a hundred graduates. Another critical connection Sharon filled was to our local schools, high schools, charter schools and Community Colleges. She was Boeing’s Executive Focal to Mount Hood CC for the last seven years and received their Patron Saint award in 2010. I know she was especially honored to receive that award from the school she had attended herself at one point, as did Shawna. Sharon was also keenly interested in helping these schools shape their curriculums so that the students would not only graduate with degrees and knowledge that was important to industry - therefore we would hire them - they also learned soft skills that enabled them to be very successful at work. Sharon was active in supporting the Foundations of both MHCC and PCC, and advocated for Boeing’s support of student scholarships at Mt. Hood for students. Sharon was Boeing Portland’s representative on the Regional Workforce Investment Board. As part of that board, she heard about Summer Works, a program for at-risk youth and in her usual style, worked with the site to reach out to help 3-4 students each summer since 2011 with a summer job opportunity. She was also an avid supporter of our Books & Backpacks drive, Adopt-a-Family efforts during the holidays, volunteered to work for Habitat for Humanity, sorted donations at Schoolhouse Supplies, and any other opportunity to help during her time at Boeing. Sharon and Jim Thompson and now Stacy James built an organization that has always been held up as the model, when people look for an employee training center. I can remember the first time I talked with their "big bosses" from Seattle, my only comment to them was "don’t mess it up - don’t change anything". And I still say that today. Sharon’s organization, processes and results were benchmarked and replicated, or at least attempted to be replicated, at all Manufacturing Business Units in Fabrication, at the Programs, where they assemble the commercial aircraft, and at our suppliers and partners in locations as far away as China. Earlier this month I was mentally going through what I was going to say at Sharon’s retirement potluck and the thought of Legacy came up. What I was going to say then is absolutely true now. Sharon’s legacy in my mind is that she personally touched and shaped thousands of people. She inspired these people to strive to a better place, to lean on and count on others and when others ask for your help, give it with a smile. I personally do not know of anyone who has made a deeper impact and shaped the people and culture of Boeing Portland more than Sharon. This is what the Tech Prep third year and summer interns wrote: The members of the Boeing internship would like to offer our condolences for the untimely passing of Sharon, and recognize that though she is no longer with us, her legacy will live long in the people she has assisted in becoming part of the Boeing family. May the sun never set on the accomplishments of her life. With sincerest condolences, The interns of 2015. Bob and Shawna, I am so sorry and sad for your loss. Personally, I will miss Sharon more than I can verbalize, as a friend and a teammate. The world is dimmer with Sharon gone. Thank you for the honor of allowing me to speak about Sharon, and take care.