February 19, 1936 - April 1, 2020
Sharon Rae Cruz, age 84, a precious, loving mom, grandma and sweet friend, passed away on April 1st, 2020, at home surrounded by her Houston family. Sharon was born on February 19, 1936 in Des Moines, Iowa to George Reid Turner and Florine Electa McDowell. She is survived by her son Richard ‘Ricky’, daughter-in-law Eleonora, grandchildren Jose Alejandro (his wife Andrea and their son Luca – Sharon’s first great grand baby), Gabriel, Monica, and Santiago; daughter Rita, son-in-law Jeff, grandchildren David and Justin; and son Robert ‘Bobby’, daughter-in-law María Isabel, grandchildren Jose Javier and Andrea, cousin Joyce from Vancouver, cousins Rick† (wife Sue) from Iowa, and Ronnie (wife Sandy) from Missouri, and their respective families. After graduating from Roosevelt High School, she studied Music at Drake University. Although she played the violin in the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra, she could also play the piano and the trumpet. Being an only child and having lost her mom when she was only 20, she learned responsibility at a young age when she took on a major role in caring for her dad and running their household. She held many jobs while still in high school and college, including secretary at her church and at Meredith Corporation, a publisher of the well-known Better Homes and Gardens magazines and books. Growing up without siblings also meant that she made some deep and meaningful friendships throughout her life. Her trustworthiness , bubbliness, readiness to give a helping hand, and beautiful smiles were all traits her friends valued. Sharon met her husband-to-be Carlos Cruz from Guatemala while he was a student at Iowa State University. After marriage, she and Carlos moved to Guatemala City, where they raised their three children. She became fluent in Spanish and grew to love the traditions, customs and people of Guatemala. She was thrilled to join a large, close-knit family that welcomed her with open arms. Entertaining and cooking for her new family brought her great joy; her in-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins were especially fond of her homemade pizzas and rhubarb pies. For a few years while in Guatemala, she was a high school teacher to students who won awards of excellence in English and Shorthand. The work she was most proud of was being a mom to her three children to whom she instilled love of music, good manners, work ethic, empathy, faith, kindness, and honesty. Sharing times with her children and their families was what brought her most joy. She adored her grandchildren whom she showered with love and affection. It was a priority for her to attend any graduations, plays or concert performances her grandchildren were part of. Since family was important to Sharon, she made it a point to stay connected with her dad and family in the U.S., as well as her cousin Joyce in Canada. In 1980 Sharon moved to Houston where she was a volunteer for the Runaway Hotline, for which her soothing sweet voice provided advice and comfort to teens in crisis after running away from home. She also had a jewelry design business for which she supplied with many materials from Guatemala; as generous as she was, it was typical of her to give most of her creations away, so her family teased her that although there were many people enjoying her artwork in the form of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, it ended up not being much of a business. In early ‘83, she brought her daddy home from Des Moines to care for him, as he was suffering from Alzheimer’s, and took on this responsibility with much dedication and love, up until he passed away seven and a half years later. The last employed position Sharon held during her 60’s and into her mid-70’s was a devoted child care worker at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, where she put her maternal instinct into high gear caring for babies and where she didn’t mind getting on the floor to play with the toddlers. Although she always had a special place in her heart for animals and babies, she was a people person and had much love to share with everyone. Sharon’s bubbliness, infectious giggles, warmth, concern for others, sweet smiles, and compassionate heart, made you want to be around her. She could be funny, gentle, and strong, all at the same time. It was important for her to actively support starting musicians, such as the family’s dear friend Walter Suhr, band owner and musician who thanked Sharon in his first CD for believing in him and trusting that he would succeed. Sharon’s favorite hobbies included gardening, baking, reading, entertaining at home, playing card games, oil painting, and collecting music on cassette tapes and later on CD’s. When visiting South Padre Island, she loved walking on the beach, watching sunsets, and listening to the variety of local live bands at the different nightclubs. Sharon suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and she spent the last years of her life under the roof and daily care of her devoted daughter Rita. They sang in a choir together, attended the ‘Gatherings’, took neighborhood walks together and spent many years enjoying each other’s company and love. Her sons Ricky, Bobby and her daughter in-laws Eleonora and Maria Isabel, as well as their children also took a part in caring for their mom / grandma during her 4-month stays in Guatemala in 2017 and 2018. Caring for their mom, was an opportunity for her children to show their gratitude for all the love and life lessons she gave them while growing up and beyond. Caring for Sharon while she had Alzheimer’s had its challenging moments, but it was mostly a blessing and a chance to build some precious memories. When she was still verbal, Sharon would often lovingly thank Rita for the care she was receiving. Rita is extremely thankful for her husband to have welcomed her mom Sharon into their home and for her sons David and Justin to have helped with making their grandma happy and cared for. Music was a very big part of her life, as it lifted her spirits and when she could no longer be conversational, music would enable her to sing, dance, and smile. She loved it when everyone was laughing at the dinner table. Alzheimer’s robbed her memories and ability to take care of herself, but she never lost the ability to find joy in music and understand love, hugs, kisses, and humor. Sharon will be sorely missed and though she has passed into life eternal, she will live on in the good deeds she performed in life, and in the hearts and minds of those that cherish her memory. May her sweet soul rest in peace. Due to the coronavirus restrictions, Sharon will be remembered in a private family ceremony and laid to rest in Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery on Monday, April 6th. A memorial funeral mass to celebrate her life with her friends and family will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Alzheimer’s Association or any organization associated with helping veterans, such as the Gary Sinise Foundation or Wounded Warrior Project.
Sharon Rae Cruz, age 84, a precious, loving mom, grandma and sweet friend, passed away on April 1st, 2020, at home surrounded by her Houston family. Sharon was born on February 19, 1936 in Des Moines, Iowa to George Reid Turner and Florine... View Obituary & Service Information
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