Sharon Marie Maya
1945 — 2015
Sharon was born in Chicago, Ill. and was raised in Whiting and Munster Indiana. She was the daughter of deceased parents Stanley and Mary Shatuck.
Sharon met her husband at Hammond High School in Hammond, Indiana in January 1961. Her husband John remembers it took six weeks after meeting Sharon to talk her into a date.
Her wealthy boyfriend at the time routinely bought her lobster dinners on dates. Sharon really, really loved lobster so it required some thought on her part to consent.
What won her over was their strong mutual attraction, shared life values and common interests such as their love of Broadway and show music. While Sharon was still dating the old boyfriend, John started picking Sharon up and driving her to school. This gave him and extra 45 minutes with her daily. The old boyfriend found out, confronted Sharon and she made her decision to start dating John.
From the day they met, her husband was enchanted by her sparkling personality and beauty. Despite being 15 and 17, deep love between them grew quickly and their devotion to each other never wavered in the 54 years they were together.
At 21 and 18, John and Sharon were married on Sept. 12, 1964 in Munster, Ind. They planned and financed their own wedding because of objections to the wedding from Sharon’s parents. After the wedding they immediately moved to Bloomington, Ind., where John attended Indiana University.
While in Bloomington, Sharon worked as the receptionist for the Indiana Athletic Department and was the secretary and administration assistant at the Indiana University Presbyterian Chapel.
After John finished his degree, they moved to Columbia, Ill., where John worked as a cartographer and programmer for the defense department. Sharon raised son Douglas and daughter Cathy and routinely hosted other neighborhood children at their home. She was the local mom who took it upon herself to take the children and their friends to movies, theatrical productions, zoos, amusements parks, etc.
Her long history of volunteering also started in Columbia. She was president of the local American Sewing Guild and a county home extension chapter. She was also a board member of the County Mental Health Association and the County Home Extension. Part-time jobs in Illinois included serving as a teaching assistant for special needs children and being a secretary for a psychologist at a mental health facility.
In October of 2000, Sharon and John moved to San Juan Island. Soon after Sharon started the “San Juan Sew and Sew’s.” The group conducted local sewing classes for adults and children.
Through these classes, Sharon realized that she was passionate about teaching. In 2002, Sharon joined the Snohomish County Clothing and Textile Advisers, a group that promotes sewing and sewing education. Through the CTA group, Sharon greatly enhanced her sewing and teaching skills. Sharon also joined and served as a board member of The Rain Shadow Quilting group.
In 2006, she was asked if her local sewing group would help teach fiber arts at the Friday Harbor High School during winter term. Sharon accepted the challenge and the Sew-and-Sew’s helped teach winter term until the program was canceled by the school district in 2009.
After 2009, Sharon’s group began an after-school program at the middle school. The program continued for four years. During this time the group also taught grade school and Island Rec summer sewing programs. In 2012, while receiving chemo, she taught the Island Rec class with a broken leg caused by cancer.
For the past several years Sharon also acted as a mentor for high school girls doing community projects. The projects included making cloth mammogram capes for the local hospital, chemo caps for cancer treatment facilities and blankets and pillow cases for children’s hospitals.
Following the spring semester of 2013, her group lost the use of their room at the middle school. A much smaller room was donated by a local business man.
Sharon and friends continued to teach children and adults until she was sidelined by cancer and cellulitis infections in August, 2014. Even then she continued helping friends at her home and in care facilities until a few days before she died.
During her time on the island, Sharon additionally served as a teen mentor, judged 4H sewing and appeared in a small role in “Fiddler on the Roof.” She also sewed for many shows at the community theater. In 2014, her dog, Bogey, was asked to play the part of Sandy the Dog in Annie. The Maya’s all loved their contribution to the musical during her short respite from medical treatment.
After fighting two cancers and its horrible side-effects for three years, Sharon died May 15.
Many friends and family members were with her for her final few days, including her husband, son Doug, brother Larry, brother-in-law Jim, sisters-in-law Kim and Carolee, niece Jessica, nephew Josh and one very special Australian Shepherd named Bogey.
Sharon will be remembered for her devotion to the local community she loved, her charity work, her warm and vibrant personality and devotion and love for friends and family. Sharon never met a stranger and she had the unique ability to make people she just met feel as though they had been best friends for years.
A ceremony to honor Sharon will be held at the San Juan Community Theatre Sunday, May 31 at 2 p.m. The community is invited.
— Family of Sharon Maya