Sunday, May 4, 2014


Tuesday, August 07, 2012 9:43 PM
I am reading this wonderful site on Sharon's Birthday. I am still in shock. She called me last fall to say the house was sold and she was going to CA to be by the beach. We talked quite a while and she never discussed her health. Last week I sent a Birthday Card to SLC and asked to have it forwarded, today I got the card back, no forwarding address. So I thought I would try to find a CA address and sadly found this site. Laura you did a great job. Sharon and I met in a little 2 room school in TX in 1949. We both moved over the summer and lost touch until 1963 when I read Ora Pate Stewart was signing her books near my home. I was a single Mom and a few years later flew with my 2 children to visit the Nielson family for a week. What a fun and crazy time that was. We have been close all these years even if far apart. Sharon always teased that I never forgot her Birthday but she was always late with mine.. Well dear friend I'm sending these wishes up to you right now !! I hope one of you will contact me -
Much love to all of you lucky family & friends of Sharon.
Lori :London (Villa Rica, GA)

Our hearts go out to you. Please accept our warmest condolences.
Job 14:14 - 15
Landa (Sacramento, CA)

I wanted to take a moment and express my condolences to the Nielson and Stewart families for the loss of Sharon. I had the privilege of being part of Ray and Sharon's family for the early part of my adult life and have been fortunate to remain connected through my daughter Jessica Nielson over the years. When Sharon moved down to California last year I wanted Sharon to know that if she needed anything and her family was not available to please contact me as I was only 40 minutes away from her. My goal was to hopefully be able to give back to her for all the love and support she gave to me as a very young mother. I was so happy when I heard from Sharon and was able to reconnect with her during such a difficult time of her illness. What struck me most about Sharon was her never ending positive attitude about life and those in and around her life. I admired her strength through debilitating pain and her unending desire to continue to serve others even when she was the one who needed to be served.

Sharon expressed to me her pride in all of her children, grandchildren, friends and siblings and it was amazing to see the long list of visitors who came to see her in her final months. Sharon was truly blessed with great wealth when it came to family and friends.

I will never forget the times we shared together both in the past (friday lunches with Aunt Addie) and in the present (long conversations overlooking the ocean on Cliff Drive) and I know she has transcended to a better place with the knowledge that her life was full, blessed and rich with love. I will truly miss her but thank her for all that she did for me. She was a shining example of Christ in the way that she lived.

With Love, Lisa
Lisa Wilson (formerly Lisa Ballard/Nielson (Fullerton, CA)

Sharon is not gone...she is and always be a part of who we are. She and I shared a sister-like bond. Our tea parties were the most fun, only unlike Sharon I also loved cheap chocolate. She lived her life richly and fully. She was grace and elegance in the truest sense. How blessed you are to have had her as a mom and how blessed we all have been to be a small part of life.
. A sister - 

My Big Sister has left us to live in the Eternities. But she was Never going to Die and I was still surprised that she did!

When we were children, Mom frequently dressed us in similar dresses, different sizes. My dress would quickly become stained and torn. It was always with Great Excitement when I could wear the dress that Sharon had outgrown. There was never a stain or a rip on her dresses. That was a Great Pleasure for me. I adored her then; she was older, wiser, very funny and awe inspiring!

Then there was the night when she and I stayed up late; I was about 9, and we fixed our hair in the bathroom mirror. Such intimacy, such excitement to be so Accepted by my Adored Big Sister. I remember a sisterly advice she gave me when I was 15 and finally wearing a, gulp, a bra. "Always keep your straps straightened out. It will be more comfortable!" She would sometimes impart to me of her 'Great Big Sister Wisdom.' And, I loved that!

She and I always liked chocolate but Big Sister introduced me to CHOCOLATE as I had never tasted before! (Get thee hence Hersheys and Mars Bars!) Forever thence forth it was only the Best Chocolate, recommended to me by my Big Sister that ever entered my lips!

In may ways we were Much Alike and we also had our Own Personalities that stood our differently from each other.

I will miss her. Love to you, her children, Aunt Janet Geary
Janet Geary (Huntington, UT)

Sunday, April 29, 2012 10:10 PM
Dear Nielson Family,

Just tonight we heard the news of our next-door neighbor's passing. We've lived next to Sharon and Ray since 2005, and we were deeply touched by their kindness, including the ritual pot-roast dinner invitation, followed by a card trivia game to get to know your neighbor.

Our kids loved visiting Kayobe and Charlie, jumping on the tramp when they could sneak through the hole in the fence, and enjoy the never-ending stash of candy that Sharon would give them.

We'll never forget Sharon's zest for life, her strength to endure the most painful, and while she knew Ray's days were numbered, she remained strong, stoic and realistic about her love's final days.

I feel honored to have known such a strong woman, who showed life what she was made of, instead of the other way around. She will be sorely missed. My daughter and I will be collecting her and Ray's tulip bulbs and planting them at our house in their memory so their memories can live on forever. Sharon would have wanted that.
Lesli Sommerdorf (Holladay, UT)
Sunday, April 29, 2012 9:28 PM
Icalled Sharon my "unique friend" and we had many things in common...not talent but husbands. When we walked in the early morning hours we discussed how similar our husbands were...they never had the latest style of clothes and they both wore clothes that we thought were worn out. Our men were honest, dedicated to the Lord and would always be there for us...and they loved playing basketball together for many, many years.
After one of Sharons illness I saw the love in Rays eyes for his sweetheart.You Nielson children were given parents who shared the most important gifts...a testimony of a loving Heavenly Father and thier love for each other.
I shall miss my "unique friend". Sharon and Ray will always will always be in my heart.
BethAlene Bodily (SLC)

Saturday, April 28, 2012 1:13 PM
Sharon and Ray were two of the first people we met when we moved to this ward....29 years ago! Sharon knew that our children had the "candy deal" at home -- that is, they could only eat candy on Halloween and Christmas. Sharon, I think, felt sorry for the boys, and at the end of each school year she opened the doors of the store just for them. They could choose one piece of candy from The Chocolate Soldier for free. They have loved her since, and send their love and appreciation to her family.
It was a blessing to have Sharon with us as for such a long time, but it was also a tender mercy that she is now with Ray. There is much laughter in heaven today.
Lynn and DeAnna DeBry (Holladay, UT)

Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:08 PM
We love Ray and Sharon so much. They have been such a huge part of our lives the past 20 years. We really feel like family and they always made us feel like family. Such love and charity that came from the Nielson home was incredible. Sharon would do anything for anyone and did for so many people. Our lives are richer because of Sharon. We will miss her deeply. Love you hard Sharon!!!
Randy and Debbie Aagaard (Holladay, UT)

Friday, April 27, 2012 12:16 PM
Loved your mom. Appreciated her non-traditional approach to so many things and her fearlessness. She was all about embracing life, newcomers and strays (like us) at her home. So characteristic of her to go to California for one last adventure, on her own terms. Thanks for sharing the pictures and her music. Very inspiring.
Jeff Collett (Holladay, UT)

Friday, April 27, 2012 12:06 PM
Interesting that on the day she passed, a number of us in the neighborhood were exchanging information about her current whereabouts and condition. Funny how we're moved to thoughts of someone as they're going out or coming in.

August 24, 2011, Ali Vierig's wedding at Millcreek Inn. Sharon had come directly from the airport and was glowing about how wonderful the beach was. Soon after that her house was sold, everything packed, and the neighborhood had a farewell party for her. Her way of saying goodbye. No big fuss, just slip off into the sunset.

A great and generous woman! Her memory will live in my heart.
Linda Collett (Holladay, UT)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 4:20 PM
Dear Robert, Rayanne, Alan, Shannon, David, and Laura.
I loved your mom and dad so much. They have done so much to touch the lives of our family. We were the recipients of so many dinner parties at their home. Brad and Ray and so many great visits together and kept everyone laughing with their wittiness.
I was so happy that I was able to go to Laguna Beach with BethAlene and Rayanne and share three delightful days with her. We walked the beach together and she took us to some of her favorite places for pastries and food. We could sit in her place and enjoy the beautiful ocean scenery right from her window. She tried to make us stay a few more days. I wish we would have. She was sick but still got up and made the most of her days. She had made so many friends there. When we went to one place they told her they had made Crème Brulee for her and another place had a pastry in a box waiting for her to come for Valentine’s Day.
I remember when she had the Chocolate Soldier and the fun chocolate parties. She asked me to help serve and keep the chocolate plates full for samples and she told me I could eat as much as I wanted. That is the first time I ever got sick eating chocolate (because I ate so much). I wanted to taste everything.
She was always getting me to play my flute in her music guild programs. I didn’t want to but you couldn’t say no to Sharon but then I was so happy after the event that I was included in such a beautiful musical event.
Everyone will always remember the Easter Egg Hunts. They lasted about 10 minutes and you had to be there on time or it was over. Everyone was so excited to find the money egg.
I am happy that she is now with Ray to share eternity and she is free from all the pain that she has put up with for so many years. May the comforting spirit of Jesus Christ be with all of you!! (I'm sorry this is so long)
Falene Loveland (Holladay, UT)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 2:15 PM
Hi Nielson cousins! I am sorry Aunt Sharon is gone from here, but happy for her to be with Uncle Ray, happy for her to be out of pain! I have always thought of Aunt Sharon as my most interesting relative! I thought she was so funny to nickname all her sons Lucille or other girl names. My favorite memories of her are of the Pack Reunions she and your dad hosted at your home for years. They were always the BEST! The fun games set up all over the yard, snow cone machine, who could guess the number of jelly beans in the jar in the window sill....Aunt Sharon could turn something ordinary into something wonderful and interesting! I will never forget the races, where she would make the men empty the change out of their pockets for prizes. I was always in the same age category as Allen the jackrabbit, so I never had a chance to win first because he was so much faster! One year when I was about 10-12 I made it to the big pine at the other end of the yard, turned around and was running across the sidewalk and back onto the lawn and I tripped and fell. The race was over, and I was so embarrassed and sad. I looked up, and Aunt Sharon was focused on ME (the quiet little mousy girl who tried to never call attention to myself) and she said, "Get up and finish!" I got up and finished. pleased that she had noticed. I have thought about that race many times during my life and her encouragement to finish. And always there were the famous goodie bags to take home, always anticipated! I also remember having dinner with your family at Grandma and Grandpa Nielson's home in Provo. She would sneak Grandpa a treat he wasn't supposed to have, and she would rub his sore kind! Aunt Sharon IS wonderful...I wonder what great things she is working on right now in the next life!?
Chris Wilcox (Orem, UT)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:38 PM
Dear Nielsen family,

Your mom was always one of my favorites. What a generous, smart lady. It makes me so happy to think of her in heaven with a perfect body, and together with Ray once again. This is a beautiful website. Thanks for sharing the memories.
Sara Bagley Zentner (Nashville, TN)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:25 AM
I only knew Sharon for a short time but she was so kind and loving to me in that time that I cried when she moved to California. Sharon found out that I didn't have a car during the day and she often expressed her concern for me. She took me and my children to the movies and stopped by on her morning walk a couple of times to check on me. She gave me a note on my birthday that I kept on my fridge because it was so uplifting.
I am so blessed to have known her. I am sorry that her family has had to say goodbye to her for a time. I hope to see her someday in heaven and thank her again for the love she gave to me and my family.
Erin Wells (Holladay, UT)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:02 AM
We are so sad to hear Sharon left so soon. Our first sunday at our new ward Sharon approached and invited us to dinner. I will never forget her generous hospitality because Sharon is someone you either love or hate. She had a big heart and we were so blessed to have known her. She will surely be missed. She is probably having dinner with her love of her life and awaiting all the newcomers. We love you Sharon!
Noah Moala & Family (Holladay, UT)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:19 AM
Sharon touched my life as a teenager. She reached out and cared enough to make a difference in my life. She has always stood out to me as one to love unconditionaly. She was an amazing woman and an example that I looked up to. Know of our thoughts and prayers with your family at this time.
Michelle Mason (Katy, TX)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 12:13 AM
"Love you hard!" These words were often scrawled at the end of a note of encouragement, or one of Sharon's creative endeavors. When you were in Sharon's circle of light you really had a forever friend. My husband Raymond & I met Sharon and Ray ("Himself" as she called him) when we bought "Mafia House" in the Olympus neighborhood Sharon loved with all her heart and soul. We've never laughed so hard as on the Valentine night she and Ray were our dinner guests and related the story of their courtship, engagement, and ring. They were both great story tellers with brilliant wit. A dinner invitation to their home on Olympus Drive was always an experience to remember and treasure. The guests were diverse and interesting, and Sharon made sure everyone participated in some way. She would set the table with her beautiful china, crystal, and flowers and often followed themes. Some nights she reenacted famous dinner parties in history. We'll never forget her menu when she recreated a Washington DC White House dinner party serving all the courses in her cozy dining room where she reigned as the perfect hostess. Sharon and I were Visiting Teaching companions for a few years. On our monthly visits, she always took along REAL quality chocolate and unfailing wisdom. She faced all challenges in her life straight on with tremendous faith and often humor. Sharon helped get me through the despair of breast cancer and the death of our only daughter Vanessa who was the same age as her beloved Laura. She and Ray were Christ like examples by taking on other people's burdens and helping in any way they could including taking people into their home for short or long stays. Sharon brought home hungry refugees from Bosnia she met at the Cottonwood mall, students from Spain for a few years, her much loved grandkids, or various family members and friends. Her unconditional love was amazing to behold. Sharon was a musical genius, well-traveled and well-read with a wonderful mind balanced by her heart of gold. Sharon and Ray were "salt of the earth" good people. Oh how so many of us will miss them, but they will never be forgotten. If we follow their example this world will be a better place. As Sharon recently walked down the beach and into eternity on her own terms, I am comforted to know she is indeed my eternal friend and someday I'll see her smile and hear her laugh again. I send my love and condolences to her treasured children and grandchildren. She loves you so much. How fortunate you are to have this one of a kind fabulous woman for your mother and grandmother. Sincerely, Linda Lowe
Linda Lowe (Salt Lake City/St. George, UT)

Dear Laura,

I just want to tell you how much we are enjoying your website with the beautiful photos and Sharon's wonderful music. It is a joy to listen to the music and seeing your family in pictures is almost as good as seeing you in person.

Love to you all,

Janet Backman
Janet Backman (Salt Lake City, UT)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:08 PM
Sharon has been huge part of this ward. She was a welcoming committee for anyone who moved into the neighborhood, and most of us have been invited to her home for dinner. She truly was an example of the Master's teachings to love one another and serve one another. We have felt the loss of her love and her talent ever since she left us to go to California.

When my husband, Bob, was on his mission in Dayton, Ohio, he first became acquainted with the Stewart family. Sharon was only five years old then. Your Grandpa was a Major in the Air Force stationed at Wright Patterson Airfield in Dayton. Every Sunday the Stewarts had the missionaries to dinner, and how they loved being with that family. Your mom continued that tradition of generosity and kindness here in the ward.

We want all of you children to know that we loved her and are so sorry for all she suffered and that she had to leave us all so soon. Bob and I send our heartfelt love and condolences to you all. She was so proud of all of you and loved to tell us about your accomplishments. How well we remember each one of you, Robert, Rayanne, Alan, Shannon, David, and Laura. You are dear to us, and we hope you will return as often as you can so we can give you a hug.
Janet Backman (Salt Lake City, UT)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:18 PM
Dear Nielson Family - There has been such a void in our neighborhood since Sharon moved to California. I walk by where your home was the gathering place for so many wonderful memories, and I see your mom working in the yard, or watching the birds in your trees. Your mother is larger than life - such genius and yet, so down to earth. So gifted and yet, appreciative of the gifts of others. I truly miss her. You are all so blessed to be the offspring of two individuals who really lived and loved. Our love to you - don't be strangers - Cathy Stringham
Cathy Stringham (Holladay, UT)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:42 AM Sharon made life and for those around her so fun and exciting! She & Ray made me feel like a member of the family and loved from the moment I met them and joined their family. Sharon was always there for me physically and/or emotionally. She always had nice and encouraging things to say and seemed to know when I needed to hear them. We love Sharon very much and will miss having her here with us. It is comforting to know she has gone on to a better place and will reunite with Ray & her loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of her family.
 Denise Nielson (Blaine, WA) - See more at: 

Monday, April 23, 2012 6:46 PM
I was so sad to hear that Sharon has passed. What a wonderful sweetheart she was. My family stayed at her house a couple of times growing up. I will never forget those times. Her vibrant personality always made me happy and want to be more like her. I sure love her. I am so glad that we can see her again someday. The family reunions at her house were a lot of fun. She will be very missed.
Laura Swenson (Logan, UT)

Monday, April 23, 2012 2:48 PM Mom made life beautiful and fun. She did things her way and by her own set of rules. Once in a while she would pull me out of school just to go see a movie and get a treat, which made me feel really special. She taught me a life long love for learning, music, nature, and God. She taught me by example to love people like Jesus did, opening her home and her heart to people of all walks of life. She taught me who I was and expected me to live up to it. I could talk to her about anything or nothing at all. She just felt good to be around. I will surely miss my mom and the excitement she brought to life.
 Laura Christensen (Richfield, UT) - See more 


Sharon Lynn Stewart Nielson 1936-2012

Can you hear the celebrating in heaven? Our cherished mom, nana, sister, and friend passed away peacefully in her apartment overlooking the ocean in Laguna Beach, California, April 20, 2012.
After being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer she sold her Utah home and moved to the beach to spend her last few months on earth. She was 75 years old.
Sharon was born August, 7, 1936 in Washington D.C. to Colonel Robert W. and Ora Pate Stewart. She was the first of seven children. Between her mother's writing and speaking career and her father's Air Force duties, Sharon had an exciting childhood traveling all over the country.  At an early age she showed a rare gift for music. Sitting down at the piano, she could play any melody that came to her. She accompanied her mom's speaking tours, performing concerts all over the country. At age eight she published her first song, "God Made the World."
Sharon would go on to compose and publish many more pieces throughout her life. Her greatest satisfaction came in helping other musicians realize their dreams. She organized and was President of "Composer's Guild" for 25 years which at its peak boasted 880 members in 11 countries. She taught composition for a time at University of Utah and helped organize the songbook "Sing With Me" for LDS primary children. Her lifelong dream came true when the Boston Philharmonic performed her music.
After graduating from East High, she attended BYU, where she met Ray P. Nielson. They raised their family in Holladay, Utah and had six children despite doctors telling Sharon she wouldn't be able to have any. Sharon and Ray were lifelong members of the LDS church and taught their children a love of God by example. They opened their home to foreign students, refugees, displaced relatives, and the homeless, sharing and helping in any way they could.
In addition to music, Sharon had a passion for chocolate, and only the gourmet kind. She made the world's best truffles and fudge. For several  years she and Ray owned and operated "The Chocolate Soldier" in Holladay and a tour business, "Utah Unique."
Sharon found great joy in bringing people together. She threw parties for friends and neighbors complete with themes and prizes. No one left her house without a "goodie."  Not a Sunday went by that she didn't have a family over for pot roast dinner. She hosted a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt for decades as well as a scripture study group. Sharon organized and hosted multiple family reunions. She kept her neighborhood connected with her quirky newsletters for many years. All this shee did despite numerous health challenges throughout her life.
Sharon will be dearly missed by all. A force of nature, she had a wild sense of humor and an unmatched enthusiasm for life. As one friend so aptly described, "she was a musical genius, well-traveled, well-read, with a wonderful mind balanced by her heart of gold."
In a final act of service, Sharon wished to donate her earthly remains to Research for Life.
An open house in her honor will be held Saturday, May 12, 7:00-9:00 p.m. 2419 E. Olympus Dr. SLC, UT
Sharon leaves behind five siblings: Robert, David (Lucy), Allen (Cirila), Janet (Edward) Geary, Wendell (Sonia), six children: Rayanne, Allen (Molly), Robert (Denise), Shannon, David, Laura (Brandon) Christensen, 20 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
She joins her husband, Ray, her parents, and a sister, Glenda who preceded her in death.


Sharon Lynn Stewart Nielson  August 7, 1936 to April 20, 2012

Born: Washington D.C.
Died: Laguna Beach, California

Gourmet chocolate, fresh flowers, symphonies, museums, movies, mountains, beach, books. These are the things that brought daily happiness. A dynamic and gifted individual, she was a quiz kid, a concert pianist, a beauty queen, race car driver, chess and fencing champion, composer, and mother. She knew how to have a good time whether it was throwing a party complete with theme, games, prizes and goodies, or just sitting outside in the sun with a god book. She had a great sense of humor, a wild imagination, and  a thirst for adventure. She enjoyed all the beautiful things of the world and literally stopped to smell the roses.