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Wells, Sharon Faye Turnbough

Wells, Sharon Faye Turnbough

Born in Kokomo, Indiana on a hot day in July, 1946, Sharon Wells loved continuing that warmth in all her interactions. As Rev. Luke and Esther Turnbough’s first-born child, Sharon had 5 and 6 years respectively on her siblings, Vicki and Mark, and liked it so much, she continued to lead them—and many others!—the rest of her life.

After graduating from Central Missouri State University, Sharon was an English teacher for five years in the Belton, MO school district before life-long asthma called her and husband, Jan, to the warmer climate of Phoenix, AZ, where she thrived. Four years as a computer operator gave her the time to obtain her Masters degree. She then spring-boarded to a position as Coordinator for Public Affairs in the telecommunications industry for ConTel of the West, which became GTE, and which subsequently became Verizon, the employer from which she retired in 2007.

During her long career, Sharon handled all aspects of public affairs including award-winning Editorial and Speech Writing for Executives, Coaching of Community Volunteers, Creating Employee and Management Employee Recognition Programs, and Coordinating Charity Fundraising, for which she won numerous awards. She lobbied for the Telecommunications industry at the federal level, served as Director of the Verizon Foundation, was elected state president of the 4,000-member Independent Telephone Pioneer Association, and headed the Chamber of Commerce of League City, TX for a number of years.

Sharon’s love of spirited leading even brought her to the aid of Southwest Airlines. Coming back to Missouri one Christmas vacation, her flight was forced to circle the airport numerous times, causing one harried flight attendant to wonder on-mic if anyone knew some Christmas carols. Sharon raised her hand and said, not only did she know them, she’d lead them! Entrusted with the mic, she soon transformed a plane full of weary, irritated travelers into increasingly spirited, happy hearts until the plane was finally ready to land with everyone still singing.

Music played a big role throughout her life: singing 5-part harmony with her family in a number of Methodist churches throughout Missouri; playing the piano, organ, or accordion for church and college singing groups (while exhibiting her extraordinary ability to create runs from one end of the piano to the other); and even having the time of her life singing Karaoke with her minister brother in a Colorado bar. (Mark, you knew that’d catch up with you!!!)

Sharon liked it hot—from the ever-changing, eye-popping colors she chose at her regular mani-pedis to her favorite states of residence: Arizona, California, and Texas. She loved the heat—just as long as she could enjoy it from the comfort of her air conditioning, preferably with a big glass of unsweetened ice tea or Dr. Pepper, one of her six beloved squishy-nosed Persian cats curled up by her side, and a Chow dog at her feet. (Lest that homey description mislead you, we’re also setting up a GoFundMe account for the makers of Margarita ingredients, as we hear they suffered significant financial hardship after she had to forgo her favorite drink.)

Staying away from direct heat definitely meant staying away from the stove—she hated cooking! Yet, she collected the recipe for anything she truly loved and made Mom’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Jan’s Chocolate Pie, and Some Unknown Person’s Tortilla Soup to perfection.

But who could forget her one exception to avoiding the heat: her jet-black Corvette Convertible! Even when she ached with sun- and wind-burn, she loved the top down on that ‘Vette! Whether Corvettes or Lincolns or her final red Cadillac, Sharon’s cars all had to be hot, hot, hot!

Sharon delighted family and friends from all walks of life with her fun, creative spirit. She wanted a bigger life, and she was willing to share that which she found, including “chaperoning” her father on a railroad trip through the wilds of Alaska (although even she couldn’t prevent him from making his contribution to the state, as he grinned and leaned out over a bridge rail and spat into the deep-chasmed wilds below). She loved providing her family with fun gifts like a “little black dress” (for a 4-month-old grand niece); a moose hat for a nephew (Matt, you’ll never live it down!); plastic gloves with a frilly, lacy cuff for a niece (to use to change diapers, of course!); and nightly gift visits from The Sandman whenever her nieces and nephew came to visit.

Bows became ribbon extravaganzas in Sharon’s talented hands. She had a gift for making the ordinary extraordinary and loved showing her collections of wind-up toys; pop-up books; one-of-a-kind, belle-of-Kentucky Derby-type hats; and beautiful, multi-faceted, leaded glass bowls.

As a three-time cancer survivor, we thought she’d live forever. Like so many other times in her life, though, she surprised us. Sadly, she made her last trip in that red Cadillac after all, but she remains in our hearts forever.

Her fans throughout her life have included her parents, the Rev. Luke and Esther Turnbough of Edina, MO (deceased), husband, Jan Wells of Cedar Park, TX (deceased); brother, The Rev. Dr. Mark (Barbara) Turnbough of Lee’s Summit, MO; sister Vicki Revel of Lee’s Summit, MO; brother-in-law Randall (Marian) Wells of Las Vegas, NV. Her nieces and nephews: Wendi (Kurtis) Jensen of Columbia, MO; Matt (Jodi) Turnbough of Blue Springs, MO; Abby (Brant) Malan of Glendale, CA; and Kara (Kevin) Jarzynski of Encino, CA. Her grand nieces and grand nephews: Luke and Kampbell Jensen; John, Sophia, and Nora Turnbough; Houser and Baby-To-Come Malan; and Wyler and Elizabeth Jarzynski. Her cousins: Tamara Campbell of Rocheport, MO; Rene (Larry) Bushan of Rolla, MO; Laura (David) Bond of St. James, MO; Carla (Wayne, deceased) Brown of St. Louis, MO; and Kevin (Cindy) Turnbough of Fairbanks, AK. Last (but not least), is the latest inheritor of the arm of her recliner—her cat, Jackson Wells.

A celebration of her life will be held Sunday, June 14, 2020, 4:00 PM, at Lakeland Community Church, 913 NE Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64086. For the health and safety of all, we kindly ask attendees to employ social distancing and to wear masks.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to family endeavors: Never Alone (food for the homeless) and/or Anapra (school for Mexican children of poverty), c/o Lakeland Community Church (address above).

Service Information

A celebration of her life will be held Sunday, June 14, 2020, 4:00 PM, at Lakeland Community Church, 913 NE Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64086. For the health and safety of all, we kindly ask attendees to employ social distancing and to wear masks.

Wells, Sharon Faye Turnbough's Guestbook

Mark I am so sorry for your loss. I know your faith will carry you through. You have a great family. Peace and Blessings from my family to yours.

Doug Walter

So sorry for your loss. Lifting you up in our prayers. Love to all your family. Tom & Betty

Tom and Betty Thieman

Our sympathies on the passing of your sister. What a wonderful (and entertaining!) tribute to her accomplished life. Our love, thoughts and prayers are with you all. Big hugs...Bob and Jan

Bob and Jan Westmoreland

I hear your laugh and words as clesr as day. I love you and will deeply miss you.

Rene’ Bushan

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