Sharon Trusty was born in Oregonia, Ohio, the only daughter in a family of five children. After a move to Arkansas, Sharon married John Trusty with only $500, an as-yet-unpaid-for Ford Comet, and the American Dream to help them over the rough spots.
They had three daughters, and as their financial situation improved, Sharon decided to expend most of her energy as a full-time wife and mother. She began using her time as a volunteer and political supporter, and she was elected as a delegate to three National Nominating Conventions and worked many campaigns. Sharon was the first woman elected to the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, and she served on the Arkansas Museum Grants Board. Besides her state and local activism, Sharon immersed herself in her spiritual life. The Trustys taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and sponsored various youth programs.
Sharon’s proverbial charmed life – the loving husband, the close-knit family, the successful business, the civic, political, and social activities, the attainment of the American Dream – came to a shattering end on July 23, 1994, when John died suddenly of a heart attack at forty-nine.
Sharon found herself catapulted into an alien world in which she was grief-stricken, immobilized, and utterly at a loss as to how to continue living. Luckily, she found a decision partner in Barry Corkern, a certified financial planner who assisted her in sorting through the financial and economic repercussions of John’s death. Along with her faith and her family, Barry helped Sharon begin living without John, and together Sharon and Barry authored Widowed: Beginning Again Personally and Financially.
"The spectrum of readers is wider than one book can possibly cover. Hopefully, there will be some help for all who find themselves in a similar situation," says Sharon. "Loss is inevitable for everyone, regardless of one’s educational, intellectual, or socioeconomic level."
Since John’s death, Sharon has resumed her commitment to community and state politics and become active in business. She was a co-founder and the first president of the Arkansas River Valley Investment Club and a member of the Russellville Chamber of Commerce, and she ran for Arkansas State Senate in 1996. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Simmons First Bank in Russellville, and former Governor Mike Huckabee appointed her to the Arkansas State Board of Workforce Education.
Although he admits being born north of the Mason-Dixon line, Barry Corkern readily christens himself both a Southerner and a country boy. He moved from Colorado to Missouri and then to Louisiana during elementary school, and spent most of his formative years helping out on the farm, milking cows, harvesting gardens and bucking hay.
"The full complement of farm life was a great teacher of proper work ethic," said Barry. His family moved to Northwest Arkansas in the ‘60s, where Barry "discovered the Beatles, remembers the Kennedy assassination and started dating." He also began attending the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville with law school in mind, only to discern that, in the ‘60s, anything concerned with "making big money was not cool." He began selling insurance instead and honed the work ethic he learned on the farms of his childhood. He was promoted to sales manager within two years, and he moved to Little Rock, where his group was in the top fifteen percent of the company for two of five years of his management.
Insurance couldn’t keep its hold on Barry, however, and he began working with a family-owned financial planning firm in 1980, and by 1982 he owned his own firm. Barry M. Corkern and Company marks its 30th anniversary as an independent, fee-based wealth management practice in 2012. With longer experience in fee-based wealth management than any other Arkansas wealth manager, Barry Corkern, CFP®, AIFA® provides expert, timely and strategic information to a select group of clients with complex financial needs.
Barry has testified in more than 50 cases in federal, state and circuit court as an expert on financial management. His Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst certification authorizes him perform fiduciary audits for trusts, qualified plans, endowments and foundations.
He has been designated as one of the best 200 financial planners in the United States by Money Magazine and his firm was rated 54th in a list of the 150 top wealth managers in the United States in Bloomberg Wealth Manager magazine. Additionally, Wealth Manager magazine has rated Barry M. Corkern and Company in the top 250 for the past five years.
He is co-author of Widowed: Beginning Again Personally and Financially with Sharon Trusty. Widowed attempts to identify and provide advice for dealing with the emotional and financial ramifications of a spouse’s death. Barry provides the financial aspect of the book, detailing his role as Sharon’s decision partner’ after the death of her husband John.