What She Loved, And A Few Things She Did Not
Sharon Squire left this mortal coil on Friday, May 6, 2022 at 12:43 p.m., her hand in her son’s hand. She had a form of interstitial lung disease for many years, and the emergency room doctor believes a touch of pneumonia was probably the straw that broke her. She was laid to rest at Laurel Grove Cemetery on Wednesday, May 18.
Sharon was born on Jan. 24, 1938, in Sandusky, Ohio, second of four children to Doctor Paul Norman Squire and Marjorie Sherrard Squire. From early on she was a voracious reader, which became magnified with her first job as a clerk in a local bookstore. Her lifelong love for beauty in all forms was rooted in the influences of many, including her high school art teacher Frank “Pink" Smith and her high school French teacher Miss Ellen Lehman, who planted her forever love for all things french. Time with her father peering through his microscope gave her her love of science and the natural world, as well as her constant exploration of the woods and shoreline of her native home on the shore of Lake Erie. Her mother taught her about elegance and kindness, and of the importance of having a sense of humor. Her father, who founded the Harlequins Community Theatre in 1940 (which is today the longest running theatre group in Ohio) influenced her love of theatre, as well as time spent visiting her Aunt Katherine Squire and Uncle George Mitchell in Grandview On The Hudson, New York, who were both actors of stage and screen. These were the people whose influences she carried with her to the end.
Sharon attended Antioch College in Ohio, Bard College in New York, and finally UC Berkeley where she completed her degree in Early Childhood Development, minoring in Drama and Art. She also attended the San Francisco Art Institute. She taught pre-school for the City Of San Francisco for 30 years, one of a few fully credentialed pre-school teachers in the system. She maintained a perfect balance between work, making art, and tending to her garden.
She fell in love with San Francisco while visiting her sister Paula in 1960. It was the way light played with the clouds and fell upon the City, as well as the way the City vibrated a kind of poetry, that she knew she was home. She lived in San Francisco from 1960 to 2000, before moving to her second forever city of Port Townsend, Washington.
I have started to write this obituary a dozen times this month and I keep getting overwhelmed by the quiet totality of the talented, kind, beautiful, empathetic, creative, quirky and funny woman my mom was. All my thoughts seem to want to be funneled into some kind of list. So, here are some things she loved, and a few that she did not.
She loved animals more than people. She loved her cats Moses, Freebox, George, Dante, Pip, Slate (who taught her not all creatures will always love you back), Thomas, Seymour, Lilou and Bart. She loved her dogs Kaska, Nellie, and Jacques. She loved driving her motorcycle through the streets and up and over the hills of San Francisco, often with her son on the back. She loved her books. She loved to write, to journal, to explore her inner world and to process with words and art. She left behind thousands of typed pages of journaling and memoir and observations. She loved being in therapy. She loved to garden. She loved her garden. She was a green thumb extraordinaire. She loved to "rescue" plants from the nurseries’ "hospital" and plant them about the yard. She loved being a plant thief, taking cuttings from random plants and shrubs while walking about, and had a nearly perfect success rate of making them grow and thrive. She loved making art. She was a painter, a printmaker, a shadow box maker, a water colorist, a scientific illustrator, a doodler, and a master of cultivating beauty. She loved thunder and lightning. She loved the Silverwater Cafe’s Tuscan steak salad. She loved white wine and sometimes martinis and always making her friends laugh while drinking and talking into the night. She loved France. She loved the French language. She loved French wine and French cooking and Jacques Pepin. She loved antiques and just about anything old. She loved taxidermy and finding dead birds and giving them a second life. She loved her independence and yearned for lost loves of the past. She loved Bach and baroque music, the Beatles and Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon's "Graceland," Lyle Lovett's "Joshua Judges Ruth," Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall," of which she taught her pre-school kids the lyrics to "Another Brick In The Wall Part 2" … "Teacher, leave them kids alone!” She loved Lemon Meringue Pie. She loved British detective dramas. She loved watching golf on TV — a hand-me-down habit she got from her mom, who never got to see Tiger Woods, which made mom a little sad. She loved eggplant.
She despised chewing gum and spitting. She hated arrogance and loud people. She hated the wind blowing in her face. She did not care for the German language and harsh sounding vowels. She did not like her middle name.
To celebrate Sharon’s life, there will be a retrospective art show covering nearly 60 years of work, at the Squire Compound on Sunday, Aug. 28, from noon to 3 p.m. There will be snacks and refreshments. All are welcome to attend; 212 22nd St., Port Townsend (enter through the front gate in the middle of the hedge).