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Sons honor mother’s memory with gifts to girls

SOUTH POINT — Christmas was Sharon Classing’s favorite holiday. The mother of three was always buying Christmas presents for neighbors’ children or her sons’ bus drivers.

Her sons recalled that when they were children, Sharon tried to make Christmas a fun game for them.

One year, in an effort to keep her children from snooping to find out what they were getting for Christmas, she wrote numbers on the gift tags instead of names. The plan might have worked had she not lost the index card she used to keep track of each boy’s number.

“That morning was like a free-for-all,” her son Steve Classing remembered, laughing. “That was one of my favorite Christmases.”

So when their mother passed away December 9 after a battle with cancer, her sons did not have to look long for a way of honoring her.

The Classings set up a website asking others to donate a gift for a girl under the age of 13 and record it on the site. They chose to ask people to buy for girl because, being a mother of three boys, Sharon had always longed for a little girl.

“Everyone told her I was going to be a girl,” Michael Classing of Columbus, Sharon’s youngest son, said. “I think it was really about the frilly dresses and the girly things that a mom and daughter would do.”

So far the website has recorded about 50 donations. Some are going to local children in Ironton, South Point and Ashland. Others are being given to children from as far away as Russia, India and France.

“I kind of am (surprised),” Steve Classing, who lives in Dublin and thought of the idea to start the website, said. “My only thing was that I wanted to get all the ages covered because she didn’t get a chance to see a girl grow up.”

At present the website does not have a newborn girl listed.

“I was definitely surprised and I was kind of touched too,” he said. “I think it’s neat that people are doing it.”

Steve has even received emails from people who are giving presents but do not want to record it on the website.

Sharon’s husband Fred Classing said she would be pleased with how her sons are honoring her.

“She would be tickled,” he said, adding that she would be happy that the site pleases God.

But Sharon never wanted anything to be about her. Michael recalled a time when she was undergoing chemotherapy. Someone from her church who was also battling cancer called and asked her how she was doing. True to form, Sharon quickly answered that she was fine and question how the other person was doing.

“It’s that selflessness that we’re trying to honor,” Michael Classing said.

David Classing, the oldest of the three sons, remembers that his mother had a big heart.

“She was always doing for people,” he said. “She made sure people got meals and helped out anyone that was in need.

“She actually lived out the Christian faith instead of just saying she was. She actually lived it.”

Steve recalled a time when her doctor had to remind her that she was going to pass away. Sharon woke up and had forgotten the doctor had already discussed with her that she would not make it out of the hospital. She asked the doctor what his next course of action would be and when she could go home. The doctor gently told her that she would not get to go home.

“What I remember was the look on her face was not panic, it was not fear, she just said ‘Oh, ok,’” he said. “I don’t think that people without Christ can do that. She knew that she was going to be in heaven and that’s what she talked about.”

Steve recalled that Sharon, who grew up in Ironton and later moved to South Point had a private faith but one that she lived.

“She wasn’t a wear-her-faith-on her-sleeve type of person,” he said of the church secretary. “She lived it out just by serving people and serving the church.”

For more information, visit http://sharonclassingchristmas.com/