Sharon Gibson ’69

14 March 2019

Class: 1969

Deceased: March 5, 2019

Palermo, Sharon Gibson, a long-time resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, died on Tuesday, the 5th of March, 2019, at Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre. Born in 1947 in Philadelphia, Sharon received her Bachelor of Arts from Boston University and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Mount Saint Vincent University. She was a beloved educator of young children and a renowned children’s and young adult book author. Her works, The Lie That Had to Be, Chestnuts for the Brave, I Am Hilda Burrows, and Winter, Winter, Cold and Snow have been enjoyed by multitudes of families. She was a Chair of the Nova Scotia Writers’ Federation as well as an Honorary Life Member, and was on the Board of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. Sharon enjoyed reading, writing, photography, nature, and spending time at the cottage she and her husband treasured in Freeport, on the Bay of Fundy. She is survived by her husband, Francesco Palermo, her sons, Adam of Boston and Mark of Halifax, her daughter-in-law, Rebecca, and her grandson, Nicholas, as well as her sisters, Joyce Crandall of Salt Lake City, and Kathleen Gibson of Houston, and her brother, Darryl Gibson of Pennsylvania.““““““““““““““““““““““““““““Sharon and I became friends when we were both freshmen on the same floor in Gridley, and we remained so – even at a distance – until she died. She stayed at Carleton for that year, and then graduated from Boston University. After graduation, Sharon invited me to live with her while I went to graduate school at Simmons College. We lived together for 2 years – first in a minuscule apartment near Simmons, and then with 2 other friends in a larger apartment. We formed a women’s group, and raised each other’s consciences relentlessly. Then Sharon married Frank and moved to Canada. I moved to Italy. So we never again lived in the same place. We visited. We wrote. I still have her letters. About 20 years ago Sharon was in a car accident. Her resulting spinal injury made her quadriplegic, and it was amazing to watch her adapt to such a traumatic disability. She had already published several books, but did not regain the manual dexterity to write and edit a large manuscript. However, she still had some use of her hands, so she photographed, drove, traveled (even to Italy), kept in touch with her friends through email and Facebook, and loved her children and grandchildren. Frank is an architect, and while she was still in the hospital, he began to redesign their home to be accessible, involving her in every decision. They had been planning to build a summer home before her accident, and Frank persuaded her to help him design a second accessible home on a hill overlooking the Bay of Fundy. I’ve visited, and it was stunning. She could see whales from their living room, and at night there were more stars than I’ve ever seen. She tried painting. I have a watercolor. Frank became an expert consultant in designing accessible living spaces. There is an article about their house: http://eastcoastliving.ca/2010/11/in-depth-barrier-free-beauty/ Sharon remained funny, and passionate, and principled, and stubborn, and occasionally bossy. She could talk about what she had lost factually and without self-pity. About 2 weeks before she died I sent her Joan Henjum’s bio from the Carleton reunion book. Joan was her roommate, and she was sorry to have lost touch. But she wrote back to lecture me that my bio was completely inadequate in describing my rich, full life, and that I should rewrite it from scratch. Vintage Sharon. I didn’t. Her life was rich and full to the end. I will miss her voice…Marian Bremer ’69

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  • 2019-05-16 14:28:28
    Andrew Korsak

    According to her Canadian Linked-In Profile, Sharon attended Carleton during the period 1965-1966 before evidently transferring to Boston University. She is pictured in the 1966 and 1967 Algols as residing in Gridley Hall.

  • 2019-06-01 14:00:50
    Marian Bremer

    Sharon and I became friends when we were both freshmen on the same floor in Gridley, and we remained so - even at a distance - until she died. She stayed at Carleton for that year, and then graduated from Boston University. After graduation, Sharon invited me to live with her while I went to graduate school at Simmons College. We lived together for 2 years - first in a minuscule apartment near Simmons, and then with 2 other friends in a larger apartment. We formed a women's group, and raised each other's consciences relentlessly. Then Sharon married Frank and moved to Canada. I moved to Italy. So we never again lived in the same place. We visited. We wrote. I still have her letters. About 20 years ago Sharon was in a car accident. Her resulting spinal injury made her quadriplegic, and it was amazing to watch her adapt to such a traumatic disability. She had already published several books, but did not regain the manual dexterity to write and edit a large manuscript. However, she still had some use of her hands, so she photographed, drove, traveled (even to Italy), kept in touch with her friends through email and facebook, and loved her children and grandchildren. Frank is an architect, and while she was still in the hospital, he began to redesign their home to be accessible, involving her in every decision. They had been planning to build a summer home before her accident, and Frank persuaded her to help him design a second accessible home on a hill overlooking the Bay of Fundy. I've visited, and it was stunning. She could see whales from their living room, and at night there were more stars than I've ever seen. She tried painting. I have a watercolor. Frank became an expert consultant in designing accessible living spaces. There is an article about their house: http://eastcoastliving.ca/2010/11/in-depth-barrier-free-beauty/ Sharon remained funny, and passionate, and principled, and stubborn, and occasionally bossy. She could talk about what she had lost factually and without self-pity. About 2 weeks before she died I sent her Joan Henjum's bio from the Carleton reunion book. Joan was her roommate, and she was sorry to have lost touch. But she wrote back to lecture me that my bio was completely inadequate in describing my rich, full life, and that I should rewrite it from scratch. Vintage Sharon. I didn't. Her life was rich and full to the end. I will miss her voice.

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