Sharkey is the daughter of Martha W. (née Ludwig) and Michael R. Sharkey. Her father was of Polish descent and her mother was of Swiss-German ancestry. She worked as a florist before enlisting in the United States Marines, where she met her future husband, fellow Marine John Francis Bongiovi, Sr.
On March 2, 1962, she gave birth to her son, John Francis Bongiovi, Jr., in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. After he gained success during the 1980s with his band Bon Jovi, Sharkey became the president of his fan club. She continues to reside in New Jersey.
- "Jon Bon Jovi: How I became a poster boy for marriage". Independent.ie. 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- "Jon Bon Jovi: New hair, old roots". Telegraph. 2007-12-30. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- Interview at the Wayback Machine (archived June 30, 2007) at Larry King, 16 August 2006
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