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Sharon Lee Penness


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Sharon Lee Penness, age 76, of Stanwood, passed away September 7, 2020 at home under the care of her family and Spectrum Health Hospice.

The daughter of Leeson L. Soubliere & Anita Hetrick, she was born on August 10, 1944, in Detroit.

sunflower 173x300 She was called away as the lone sunflower was blooming in the backyard. She had nursed it through the hot summer, and in September it finally showed its yellow face and stretched toward heaven, as if pointing out to her a course for travel. Then Sharon Lee Penness, on the final journey that all must take, was gone.

She loved flowers as she did all of nature — birds, animals, and especially horses. But she loved nothing as much as her own children, Michael and Sara, who had lost their beloved dad, Frederick Marvin Penness, in 1979 when barely out of their toddler years. In the children’s words, Sharon became “a rock” for the family — nurturing, guiding, supporting, instructing. Raised in Michigan, she provided for her family in many ways — as a test driver for General Motors, an arts and crafts instructor, an antique retailer, an online buyer/seller.  She sought a new life for the children in Florida, working at the renowned Angelus charity, but returned to Michigan to resettle in the countryside near Big Rapids. Her example: self-reliance, strength of will, faith in God. For decades, she was both mother and father as the children thrived in sports, progressed in school, and learned the lifelong lessons of character and integrity. The children fully recognize their mother’s never-ending devotion.

“Thank you for being the most amazing mom a son could ever have,” Michael wrote in an online tribute.

Sara wrote: “You made so many sacrifices to make sure Mike and I were happy and felt loved and safe.”

Sharon’s home displayed many artifacts that defined her tastes and creativity — antiques, primitives, her own oil paintings and watercolors, five generations of family photos, numerous books, toys, and sundries of interest to her Internet followers.

The yard displayed her love for gardening. Near the sunflower were rhododendrons, cosmos, roses and other favorites. She loved cutting the lawn on her green and yellow tractor.

Her final challenge was long and often painful, against a relentless adversary. For years she was strong and resolute. She was freed from the battle on September 7, 2020. In the final hours she turned and stretched out her arms to loved ones. Those who had gone before welcomed her, and those who must remain bid her farewell. In her heart she bore each a yellow sunflower.

To send a message of sympathy, sign Sharon’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements were entrusted to Christiansen’s Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Greenville, (616) 754-5638.


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8 Condolences

  1. Cindy on September 10, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    What a beautiful tribute. She was an amazing mother and woman. Love to both Sara and Mike.

  2. Theresa on September 10, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    Such a beautiful lady, inside and out. She was kind, warm, and inspirational. What a wonderful mother to Sara and Mike. And what a legacy she leaves in the world! Rest In Peace.

  3. Susan Penness Lajavic on September 11, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Dearest Sharon, May your life continue on, both in Heaven and on this Earth, through Sara, Michael and Mikey. You and Fred left quite a legacy behind. Your love of family was very evident for all who knew you. Rest In Peace beautiful girl! God bless you and your children.

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