Jan. 20, 1944 – Aug. 12, 2018
Sharon A. Brockman, Eden's town assessor for 20 years, and a longtime greenhouse owner in the town, died Sunday at Absolut of Eden Nursing Home after a brief illness. She was 74.
Brockman, who became involved in politics later in life at the urging of friends, was well known and active in the town through her horticultural business, her government position and her involvement in community organizations.
Although focused on plants and vegetables professionally, she parlayed her additional knowledge of buildings and construction – gained through her husband's work in masonry and construction – into a successful second career in public service.
She was still at work on the job through the middle of July, when she became ill, according to her daughter, Brenda Atkinson.
"Everybody in the Town of Eden loved her as an assessor," Atkinson said.
She was also involved in the Democratic Party in both Eden and Erie County, where she knew Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner.
Additionally, she was a member of the Eden Chamber of Commerce for more than 40 years, serving on its board and committees, and as a vice president. Her Brockman's Greenhouse on Route 62 was selected as the Eden Chamber Business of the Year in 2011, the year it closed because she and her husband could no longer run it.
"My mom was very close with a lot of different types of people, so many people. All the vegetable farmers, the dairy farmers. She was very close with all of them," Atkinson said. "If anybody ever needed help, she would find a way to get it for you. If she didn't have the answer, she'd get it for you within a day."
Brockman was also a member of the Eden Garden Study Club, where she served as treasurer for the last four years and chaired its Horticultural Consultant Committee for 10 years. She was also its Conservation & Environmental Protection chairwoman, and its liaison to the Eden Chamber.
"She knew invasive plants, and they always relied on her for information, about what types of plants are good and what types of trees to have," Atkinson said. "She was friends with so many people and involved with so many."
Atkinson said people even came to her with questions about construction, because "she knew so much about building because of my father," Butch Brockman. The couple built their first house on their own, with Butch Brockman as the architect and lead contractor.
"That's why she was perfect as an assessor," Atkinson said. "My mother knew so much about construction from my father that it was nothing to move over to an assessor."
Born Sharon Romano in January 1944 in Buffalo, Brockman was the daughter of Joseph and Irma Romano, and graduated from the Eden Central School District.
Soon after, at age 19, she married her husband, and they began working at the family's greenhouse business, which was owned by her husband's cousin. After a decade, when their cousin could no longer continue, they bought the business from him in 1983, and ran it until 2011. Her husband died two years later.
Besides supplying home-grown flowers and vegetables through her nursery, Brockman helped plant hanging baskets and pots along Main Street in Eden, and participated in the Eden Raider's Response Day for the cleanup and weekly maintenance of Chamber Park. She won numerous awards through the Erie County Fair for her flowers and vegetables. She also was active in "garden therapy" with residents of Eden Heights, and was a 4-H leader for more than 30 years.
Additionally, Brockman was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society of Immaculate Conception Church, which she attended, and participated on its Bereavement Committee. She also volunteered for the Eden-North Collins Food Pantry and the Eden Corn Festival, and was past president of the Thursday Morning Early Morning Bowling Team.
She is survived by Atkinson; her sisters Kathy (Bill) Sanders and Debbie Carnall; her brother, Joseph (Debbie) Romano; and her sister-in-law, Rita Stuhr.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 8791 S. Main St., Eden.