Sharon Kay Carlson Orvis, 79, passed away peacefully on August 2, 2022 in West Des Moines, Iowa. She was born February 19, 1943, in Roseau, Minnesota to Pete and Lena Carlson.
Sharon grew up on the farm as one of nine children and developed both a love and appreciation for nature, as well as an unshakeable can-do attitude. She loved skating, learning at school and helping to care for her cousins. On September 30, 1961 Sharon was united in marriage to John A. Orvis.
Sharon moved many times during her life and approached each change with optimism and spirit. She found close friends wherever she went in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa but caring and supporting her family was her core focus. She became mother to her eldest son, Todd and to the four girls who followed: Jill, Tina, Sarah and Dawn. She was often the first family member up each morning and the last one to go to bed. She worked as a life partner with John to ensure her children had a supportive and loving home. Sharon became a talented cook, seamstress, Lutheran Pioneers leader, Sunday school teacher, baton / dance / sports mom. She loved to learn new skills such as quilting, working with stained glass, and refinishing furniture. She also took classes to learn about new developments such as computers and microwaves. Sharon loved to garden vegetables and flowers. She also was often seen with a camera to take pictures of her family and the beauty she saw around her.
Sharon cherished being a grandmother and was happiest when she was able to be involved in the lives of her grandchildren. She gave her time and energy to make sure they felt loved. She spent hours finding the best books and clothes for each grandchild to help him or her learn and grow. She loved making them pancake breakfasts, reading with them and spending time with them outdoors.
John and Sharon retired to southern Iowa to land with woods, prairie and water. Together they learned about the land and how to help it flourish. They learned how to harvest hickory nuts, wild berries, grow grapes and make maple syrup. They studied the native birds, wildlife and plants and how to help them thrive. Sharon was a founding member of the Southern Iowa Oak Savanna Alliance (SIOSA), an organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of Iowa’s oak savanna and prairie ecosystem. John and Sharon were named as the tree farmers of the year in 2007 for their efforts in this area.
Sharon developed Alzheimer’s disease and for over ten years, she fought to hold onto her memories and abilities. Her quiet strength, bright smiles and loving spirit shined through despite all the challenges. Sharon continued to cherish her family and to see beauty all around her.
Sharon is survived by her daughters, Jill Orvis, Tina (Todd) Gordinier, Sarah (Dave) Rost, and Dawn Orvis; grandchildren, Ethan, Zoey, Katie, John, Colton, Maura, and Dalton; great-grandchildren, Brody, Leviathan, Persephone, Magnus; siblings, Clayton (Barbara) Carlson and Carol Carlson; as well as other loving family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; sisters, Norma (Stanley) Anderson, Gwen (Clarence) Nelson; brothers, Ernest, Dennis (Helen), Lowell and Allan; sons, Todd and Chad.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, August 8, 2022 at 11am at Moe Lutheran church in Roseau Minnesota. Visitation will be the one hour prior to the service. A luncheon will be served at the church following services with interment at Pine Grove Cemetery afterwards. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be directed to Sharon’s tribute page through the Alzheimer’s Association in her loving memory.
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