Sharon will always be remembered as her “ownself.” I mean, who else would wear cowboy boots to Finland in the winter? She prided herself in being respectful of others and, in turn, was respected by all who knew her. During her last years, she was President of an AKC national breed club and an AKC all-breed member club. She felt proud to have been elected by the members of the Norwegian Lundehund Association of America and the Sir Francis Drake Kennel Club to lead their clubs. There are those who would credit her being a main force that got AKC to recognize the breed she loved so much, but she wasn’t sure that she gained more respect from the members of Sir Francis Drake for her management of a financial problem or for her management of a membership issue.
Sharon’s life was filled with blessings and love, and with curses and pain. She was born with a striking talent for dance, discovered early as a ballerina protégé by companies in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City ( living for some time as a teenager in The Dakota with a fellow ballerina protégé). She loved New York City because it allowed her to discover who she really was., e.g., her granddaughters love wearing her collection of “classic” women’s fashion hats (those who know NYC know what she loved to wear).
She returned to the Pacific Northwest to raise her two daughters, both now in medical careers, and to delight in the birth of three grandchildren who love to laugh. She obtained her Scottish Deerhound in 1989 and, in 1997, found four Norwegian Lundehunds in a small local kennel that wanted to get rid of them. With her partner, Frank Bays (who preceded her in death), this started her involvement with this breed. She was
especially proud to have established and maintained the Cliffhanger name for her Lundehunds, and proud of having exported American bloodlines to Scandinavia to increase the extremely small gene pool in this breed over there. One of those she sent to Europe was Cliffhanger Faust, whose picture is often used to exemplify the breed, and whose genes are now found in a number of excellent representatives of the breed in Europe. She had many friends in Europe, spoke with and of them often, and visited them as she was able to arrange.
In 1995 she was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Syndrome, just as she was graduating from a culinary school program. As she said, demonstrating with knives in each hand, “Who wants a chef with Parkinson’s?” In 2004, she was visiting a Lundy friend in Norway when the son of the friend told her about DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation), in which electrodes are inserted deeply into the brain to reduce tremors. As her primary symptom was a hip tremor than knocked her out of chairs, she immediately flew to the University of California in San Fransisco and essentially badgered the neurology program there to allow her to be one of their earliest research subjects. The electrodes inserted into her brain (and attached to a battery sewn under her skin) stopped the tremors, which had been knocking her out of chairs when they occurred.
She became a heroine for other early onset patients when, at over 50, she was charming, lovely, optimistic, and without tremors. For them she represented hope. Unfortunately the DBS did not release her from constant pain in several parts of her body. She did not complain but, if asked, was always frankly honest about her experiences. She often said, “I do not want to be known as a disabled person. I want to be known as a person who just happens to have Parkinson’s.” And frankly, when she showed her Lundehund in the Non-Sporting group at Westminster in 2013, no one would have guessed that she had Parkinson’s Syndrome and electrodes in her brain. She left us with many accomplishments, some of which are just dreams for the rest of us.
Sharon also loved mushrooms and wandered all around Marin County for years seeking the local (to her) treasures. A friend recalls their shared interest in harvesting, classifying, and cooking these mushrooms. Unfortunately, for her, she contracted an aspergillosis infection (the old fashioned term for this is “Farmer’s Lung”), which was not diagnosed and treated until it was too late to save her life.
Sharon filled and enriched the lives of others. Those of us who knew her will always miss her in our daily lives. The angels have taken her away from the curses and the pain. She lives on in our memories of her blessings and her love for us all.
– Dr. Dale D. Simmons
In Memory of John Davies
Long-time member of Sir Francis Drake
JOHN P. DAVIES died May 18, 2013 at the age of 76. He was preceded in death by his wife of 44 years, Nancy Angeloni of Oakland. Also survived by his daughters Virginia, Elizabeth and Kathryn, her Husband Tom and their daughters Jocelyn and Erica and his loyal dog, “Rocky.” John died peacefully in his home in Newcastle in Placer Co., CA. John attended Loomis Grammar and Placer Union High and was a Navy Veteran. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Heart Association are appreciated.