Sharon Marie Cruikshank was born on November 19,1952 in Chicago, Illinois, at Lewis Memorial Maternity Hospital to the union of Naomi and Carlos Nelson. She attended Ray Elementary on Chicago’s south side and later graduated from Ascension, Harvey, after her parents moved to Markham, IL. Graduating from Thornton, THS, she briefly attended Eastern Illinois University. Returning to Chicago, Sharon married John Mitchell and from that union two children, Essence LaTanya, and Rahsaan Ari were born.
Sharon pursued her degree achieving a BA in Elementary Education from Northeastern Illinois University and was soon employed by Harvey District #152 to teach elementary education at Sandburg School, under the leadership of Supt. Charles Bowen.This career path lead to other changes in her life and Sharon moved to Markham to be close to her work and family. A friendship was rekindled with William Cruikshank, III, and the two were married on October 24,1981. From this union a son, Todd William, was born.
The family moved to Park Forest where all three children attended and graduated from Rich East High School. Sharon nourished and supported her family while her husband attended medical school. Continuing her career after the relocation, Sharon began working in Matteson District #162 at Arcadia School, Olympia Fields, while pursuing graduate studies. She completed Masters of Education Degree at National Louis University and was afforded the opportunity to become a media specialist.To say she enjoyed teaching is an understatement-it was her passion. To see a child begin to grasp new concepts or learn a new skill brought pure joy to Sharon. She worked to prepare students for the yearly spelling competition, and encouraged children to excel in their studies while loving all of the children as her own. Working with new teachers, showing them different ways to encourage learning was a special treat, Sharon often said.
It was soon revealed Sharon held another deep seated passion, writing, and was encouraged to allow it to flourish. She soon began to publish her writings: “Come On Sam”, “The Fall”, and “Butterfly and her Friends - A Story of Friendship” were all illustrated by her close friend Sharon Bartley and published. “Little Spider’s Journey” and “Little Spider Makes a Web…Finally” were illustrated by her nephew, Demarus Rogers, who was living in United Arab Emirates at the time. Without the help of niece Kimeon and Demarus, the books would not have been published.
Sharon became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., considering this a great joy and privilege. She enjoyed travel, vegetable and flower gardening, sewing, cooking, and reading, reading, reading. The great loves of her life were her husband, her children, her granddaughters, and her grand puppies. She loved sandy beaches, sunsets, long walks, new ideas, quiet moments to think, butterflies, hummingbirds, and the smiles of children.
Sharon peacefully transitioned in her home surrounded by her husband and children on April 2, 2021. She leaves to cherish her memory mother Naomi, step-father Cleophus (Bill) Sanders, (since deceased); husband William, children Essence, Rahsaan, and Todd (Sydney); granddaughters Nia, and Willow; siblings Karen, Linda (Raheem), Carlos (Tanya), Carla, Aurora, Elizabeth, Ernestina, Raquel, and special sister Rasheedah; step-mother Aurora; sisters-in-law Renee (Clifton), and Cheryl; and a host of wonderful aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. There are many lifelong friends- and former co-workers who were like sisters.
Words cannot convey the brilliant light shown by this gentle and radiant flower called Sharon, nor fully describe the grace, class, and love given to all who spent time exposed to her. To our rose, Sharon, we bid a fond adieu.
In lieu of flowers or cards, donations to your local library in memory of Sharon would be appreciated.
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