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.