She was born Sept. 21, 1943 in Lakeland, Fla., the daughter of Samuel Russell and the late Mary (McKnight) Russell.
During her high school years, Sharon displayed an extraordinary artistic ability. Her watercolor copy of a Winslow Homer painting won first prize at the Champaign County Fair.
She graduated from Urbana High School in 1961. In 1962 she married her high school sweetheart, John Taylor Davidson, III, of London. She proceeded to spend her life dedicated to enriching everyone she encountered, through her painting, her music, her writing, her incredible spirit and generosity.
Sharon is survived by her son, Dr. Derek Davidson (Karen), currently teaching at Carnegie Mellon University; and her son Kyle Davidson, CWO (Noel), just returned from his tour of duty in Iraq. She is also survived by her granddaughter, Mary Owens; her step-granddaughter, Rachel; her brother, Robert Michael Russell (Teresa); her sister, Dr. Shelley Russell (Steve); her brother, Dr. Timothy McKnight Russell (Mary); her aunt and uncle Janet and Kim Yost; her niece, Glory Russell-Parks; her nephews, Chad Russell and Sam Russell.
She is also survived by her father, Samuel Michael Russell, and Jock Davidson, her husband of 46 years. Early in life, Sharon realized she perceived the world in a singular manner, and learned to cultivate her unique artistic sensibility, generating over the years a considerable body of work in a wide variety of media. She worked for a time as the senior layout artist for Sample’s Department Store in Akron. She also did a large series of paintings for restaurants in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, and was commissioned over the years for sculptural pieces in porcelain. But this resumé of Sharon’s professional activity cannot begin to encompass the sweep and richness of her artistic output. She sculpted statuettes, chess boards, dolls, bookends and banks for friends and family. She made portraits, holiday cards, comic strips, plaques, decorations. She worked with equal facility in ceramic, porcelain, oil, watercolor, soap, pastels, encils, markers, foil.
She was a musician and songwriter, and wrote scores of songs over the course of her lifetime. As much as humanly possible, Sharon made her life — in particular, her giving to other lives — a work of art.
Every gesture large and small, whether the making of a birthday gift or holiday dinner or offering to a sick neighbor, she made into an opportunity to create a masterpiece. She was an artist in everything she did, and embraced the world with a voracious love for all its natural and artistic beauty.
Following Sharon’s wishes, her body will be cremated. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 at VERNON FUNERAL HOME, Urbana. A memorial service will follow at 5.
The family asks that donations be sent to the local Humane Society (or visit the Humane Society of the United States website:www.humanesociety.org/donate/.) Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.vernonfh.com.