Almanac Online - Lasting Memories - Sharon Lynn Defty's memorial

Sharon Lynn Defty
July 26, 1939-Dec. 18, 2018
Woodside, CA

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Sharon Lynn Defty was born in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 26, 1939, to Henry Watson and Ann Ryland Defty. She moved with her two siblings, Peter and Michael, to Los Gatos in 1940 and then to Atherton in 1947, where she attended Las Lomitas Elementary School. The origin of thinking instilled in her in those early years led to a lifetime of Sharon following her passions.

As a child and teen, Sharon was an active member of the 4-H and loved her cows, ducks and horses that she raised at the family farm in Atherton.

Sharon attended Menlo-Atherton High school for two years and then finished her high school years in Switzerland at Brillamont. She attended the University of Arizona for two years before moving to Paris, where she worked as a model, secretary and CIA spy prior to the Vietnam War. She returned to California with the intention of moving to Washington, D.C., to attend further training for the CIA, but instead took a job with Pan American Airlines, where she put to use her fluency in French as an international ticketing agent.

On a blind date in San Francisco, she met Edward Barry with whom she wed six months later. The couple moved to Massachusetts where Ed had grown up. They eventually settled in Manchester-by-the-Sea. They raised two children, Petica and Gregory, as Sharon continued to expand her resume. Sharon was instrumental in the start of the still thriving Magic Years Cooperative Nursery School. She developed a lifelong passion for remodeling homes while continuing to work as a travel agent and became a certified massage therapist, as well as creating a handmade line of girls bathing suits sold in a boutique on Newbury Street in Boston. She also rediscovered her love for horses and bred prize-winning Arabians. Sharon and Ed divorced, but shared a lifelong connection through their children.

When her children were older, Sharon decided to complete her undergraduate degree, and matriculated at Harvard School for Continuing Education where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Sharon then taught ESL at MIT’s women league, where she encouraged many young women to excel in English as a gateway to their own freedom and power. Sharon’s home was always open to international visitors and she hosted lots of happy gatherings.

In 2005 Sharon followed her heart back to California and married Alan Bagley. The couple enjoyed travel, art and music, and Sharon sang for the Stanford Choir and became an instructor for toddlers’ music classes. Sharon remodeled a small cottage in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where she enjoyed walking the beach with family and friends. After divorcing, Sharon enjoyed the remainder of her life with Ulrich Aldag, her many close and richly varied friends, her son, brother, nephews and her daughter’s family in Lake Tahoe.

Sharon will be remembered as someone who took the time to listen and learn everyone's story. She had a deep and genuine curiosity for the world around her and the people she met. Life was an adventure Sharon lived each day to the fullest.

Sharon passed away on Dec. 18 after a six-year battle with Lewis Bodies Dementia, which she bravely faced and fought. She is survived by her children; her brother, Michael Defty of Novato; four nephews; her son-in-law, Michael; and grandsons Ryland and Westan Lubin.

Tags: arts/media, teacher/educator

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