Sunday memorial for Dr. Aparna Sharma

Dr. Aparna Sharma will be remembered Sunday, March 10, at a public service to be held at Marwen, 833 North Orleans. The service will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless had the privilege of working with Dr. Sharma for five years while she served as heath and human services program officer at Crown Family Philanthropies, and previously, as program officer for the Chicago Foundation for Women. 

“Aparna was knowledgeable and cared about the issues that impact people who are homeless and at-risk. Our homeless leaders and the staff appreciated the time that she spent talking with us about our work. Aparna was a very caring person, and she is missed,” said Executive Director Ed Shurna.

Dr. Sharma’s extensive volunteer work included the Asian Giving Circle at the Chicago Community Trust, and 11 years as a leader of the South Asian Progressive Action Collective.

“It is difficult to encapsulate in a few sentences what Aparna meant to us. She was a mentor and loving friend. She was the reason many of us stayed in SAPAC for so long. Aparna was truly remarkable and one of the kindest souls we ever had the honor of knowing. Her warmth, energy, and laughter were infectious,” the collective wrote, in a touching tribute on its website.

Dr. Sharma is also mourned at Loyola University Chicago, where she studied and worked for nine years. After she earned a Ph.D in Applied Social Psychology in 2006, she joined the staff as a senior researcher at its Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL).

“She created and led numerous collaborative research projects while at CURL, and was a fierce advocate for immigrants, communities of color, women and girls, people with disabilities, young people, and other underserved, underrepresented, or marginalized communities,” Loyola wrote on its online website. “Her legacy stretched widely across the University community, as she helped to teach and mentor many of the students that came through CURL.”

“Aparna was a staunch feminist, who cared about immigrant rights and equity for all,” wrote K. Sujata, president and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women. “She was a true advocate, strong and fierce, not afraid of being true to the principles she held dear. Aparna’s passing leaves a void that is immeasurable.”

Dr. Sharma, 37, died on Feb. 9. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are requested to the American Cancer Society or the Canadian Cancer Society.

– Anne Bowhay