Editor’s note: As our dear friend Jennie Franks so eloquently points out, Sharon Shuteran moved through our world – the world – with a loose-limbed elegance, embodying as she did, the very essence of the yoga principles of sthira/sukha: alertness without effort; relaxed without dullness. Sharon was universally liked – except perhaps by those culpable few who came before her bench. And even they would have to say she was fair. We heard the news of Sharon’s untimely death while on the East Coast processing a loss of our own. The message? Life’s short. Eat dessert first. Preferably one of Sharon’s chocolate confections. And after you read Jennie’s thoughts, add your voice to hers through Comments.
There are certain things we in Telluride take for granted: the snow in winter, the thaw of the backcountry, which brings Bridal Veil to life each spring, the summer monsoons, and the glorious display of our aspens in the fall. We expect those things as we expect the alpenglow at sunset on a clear summer’s night. And without a second thought, I always expected Sharon Shuteran to be here.
So the news of Sharon’s death is not just difficult to register. It’s incomprehensible. Along with so many people in the community, I know something in Telluride has shifted. Her absence marks a profound change that radically alters our town. With a heavy heart, I cried as I sat down and thought about Sharon Shuteran.
I can’t claim Sharon as a close confidante. Truth be known, she was closer to my daughter. In fact, she liked to think of herself as Lucy’s second mother. Then again, Sharon had many “sons” and “daughters” whom she laid similar claim to – in addition to being an amazing mother to her own Eliot and stepchildren Mat and Kyra. She cared greatly about children. I didn’t know for the longest time Sharon traveled whenever she could to far-flung places to volunteer in the aid of young people.
You too may not have known that, because Sharon was quiet about the things she did. She gave her time to causes and community without fanfare. Every festival, art opening, music and theatre event, Sharon supported us all, performers and artists alike, with her bright smile and intelligent warm eyes. She had a way about her that made a person feel slightly better as a human being than before an encounter. That incredible gift was in reality the simple matter of Sharon’s light reflecting on you for a moment. Always unselfish, always available to give her time and her wonderful cakes, it was easy to take someone like Sharon for granted because she was always here with us.
And now she’s not.
Sharon has left an amazing legacy. By example, a legacy of love, community service, fair judgment, curiosity and caring about the world outside this box canyon. She went about doing the things that she did with quiet strength, humility and grace. And Telluride will never quite be the same without her ubiquitous presence, waving, smiling, cheering us all on.
Thank you, Sharon for choosing Telluride as your home and us as your community of friends. We know you had friends all over the world and many choices.
Thank you for being here.