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Born: Nov 04, 1939

Date of Passing: Aug 06, 2020

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1939 - 2020

On August 6, 2020, Sharon passed away peacefully at the Riverview Health Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Six years earlier, Sharon had been diagnosed with lung cancer, which was successfully removed, and subsequent examinations showed no return of the tumour. Over the past few months, deep hernia-like back pain had been aggravating Sharon. After several medical tests, it was confirmed that cancer had metastasized through the bones in her body. Due to Covid-19, her son, Cameron James, was unable to travel from Japan to be with Sharon, but her daughter-in-law Carol Clearsky was with Sharon before being admitted to Riverview, and by her side, on the day she took her last breath. On July 30, 2020, Carol took Sharon to Riverview for the medical team to find a new pain care plan for her. The idea was to find the medication that would help relieve the pain so she could go home again. But events took a turn for the worse and at 11:34 a.m. a week later, with Carol and Faith by her side, Sharon took her last, peaceful breath and departed our world.
Sharon was born in Stonewall, Manitoba, to Frank Johnstone and Helen Louise (nee Lamb) Leavens on November 4, 1939. Sharon's brother, Daniel Louis Leavens, was born on May 28, 1944. They both grew up on Leila Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sharon went to Centennial School, Edmund Partridge Junior High School, and graduated from West Kildonan Collegiate in Winnipeg.
The mother of her future husband, James (Jim) Stanley Switzer, had a house just up the street from where Sharon lived. So when Jim completed school and returned to Winnipeg from his grandparents' farm in the Brookdale, Manitoba area, Sharon met him and decided to give Jim a chance by going on a blind date with him in 1955. Six years later, in 1961, they tied the knot. When Sharon was six months pregnant with Cameron, she and Jim were invited on their best friends' George and Noelle's honeymoon. The "bicycle-built-for-two-double-date-honeymoon" story is still talked about to this day and gives us all a great big smile. Even at that young age Sharon (and Jim) were cementing bonds of friendship that went above and beyond your average friendship.
Sharon graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital Nursing Faculty with a R.N. in nursing in May 1960. She spent her life dedicating her skills and self tirelessly to healing the sick and bringing hope to their families. In 1965 Cameron James was born, and in 1967 his little brother Bruce Daniel came roaring into the world. Sharon initially stayed at home to raise her sons before returning to work at the Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation (now known as CancerCare Manitoba) in Winnipeg as a chemotherapy nurse, tirelessly giving of herself to treat those "living with cancer." Her sons, Cameron and Bruce often remembered their dad cooking dinner for them because their mom was engaged with saving lives. They never regretted it not even for one moment. Sharon loved to come home to a hot meal, prepared by her dedicated husband. She was always so happy when he put the plate in front of her at the kitchen table.
While the kids were growing up, Sharon spent many a memorable summer travelling out west with the family, eventually spending the summer holidays at Falcon Lake in Manitoba, then out at Booster Lake, Manitoba, where the family built a cottage. During those times, the bonds of friendship she had forged while young continued to strengthen, and all of Sharon and Jim's friends and their children became one big, happy family. To this day, they all remain close, thanks in a significant part to Sharon's loving, dedicated, friendly and extremely outgoing nature. Sharon was never the one to turn anyone away and always welcomed everyone into their home, making them feel like a close family member.
After Sharon's retirement, she and Jim often travelled on exotic cruises to various ports of call around the globe, even as far away as Japan, where her son, Cameron, has been living since 1989. The photos they took together, the friends they met from different countries, and the bonds they made will forever bring joy to everyone.
Sharon was involved heavily in canvassing to support cancer research, never failing to spend the extra time to stop and talk to the people in the neighbourhood, to see how they were doing, and inquire into their health and happiness. She played an essential role in the Neighbourhood Watch programs, doing her part to ensure that the families in the area were as safe as they could be. Sharon was dedicated to everyone in her life, and that dedication enriched the lives of many, especially those of her children. Another perfect example of this is the special friendship that Sharon and Mel (Cameron and Lorne's Junior High School math teacher) developed over the past few years. They had known each other for decades through the Neighbourhood Watch programs. Sharon was close to everyone who came into her life!
Sharon was predeceased by her loving husband Jim in February 2017, their son Bruce Daniel in July 2016, her parents, Frank and Helen Leavens, Sharon's brother Danny Leavens, her sister-in-law Marion Leavens-Laforge (nee Myseniuk), and Marion's husband Robert (Bob) Laforge.
Everyone in her life will lovingly remember Sharon. Her son Cameron, son Lorne and his wife Carol and their son Conor Clearsky, daughter-in-law Tanya Gidge, sister-in-law Margaret and her husband Garland Garton, sister-in-law Faith and her husband Ray Pacholuk, sister-in-law Trudy Winterton, cousins, Lynn Leavens, Marjorie Lamb, Joyce Lamb, Murray Lamb, Doug Lamb, Patricia Holloway, numerous nephews and nieces on Jim's side of the family and countless lifelong friends are just a few examples of the amazingly close bonds she co-developed with everyone in all walks of life.
Cremation and interment have taken place. Due to the current Covid-19 situation and social-distancing requirements, the funeral will be private. A small gathering of family and friends in celebration of Sharon's life will be held at Glen Eden Funeral Home & Cemetery, 4477 Main Street, with Reverend Deacon Helen Hunter presiding. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions in place, the event will need to be by invitation only.
In place of flowers, those who desire may choose to make a memorial gift to CancerCare Manitoba, or a charity of their choice.

Family and friends may sign a
Book of Condolence at

Glen Eden Funeral Home

Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Sep 19, 2020

Condolences & Memories (7 entries)

  • On behalf of the WGH/HSC Nursing Alumni we extend our sincerest condolences to Sharon's family. Sharon was remembered as being kind, compassionate and a treasured classmate who will be sorely missed. - Posted by: MARIAN Ulyatt (WGH/HSC Nursing Alumni Friendship Convenor) on: Oct 05, 2020

  • We are so sorry to hear Sharon passed away. Sharon was a lovely person and a dear friend. Sharon had a zest for life, she loved talking about her life experiences and was always interested in your family. A kind, honest and genuine person. I will miss our long conversations! Rest In Peace Sharon. - Posted by: Bill and Deb Myseniuk (Friend ) on: Sep 21, 2020

  • Sharon was a dedicated nurse and I had the privilege of working with Sharon many times when our paths crossed while caring for our mutual patients...So sorry for your loss ..She will be missed... - Posted by: Gerry Ogilvie (Nurse Radiation @ cancer care MCC) on: Sep 21, 2020

  • I was honoured to work with Sharon @ MCTRF (now CancerCare Manitoba) in the early 1990s in the CNS/Brain Tumor clinic. She was an exceptional nurse and so dedicated to her patients. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and may all the wonderful memories you have of Sharon comfort you today & always. - Posted by: Venetia Bourriet (Colleague ) on: Sep 19, 2020

  • Sharon and I have been friends for more than 60 years, even though we followed different paths after university. We did manage to keep in touch, but the memories of our time with the young peoples group at the church and just hanging our with our little gang will be with me always. Rest In Peace my friend. - Posted by: Stuart MacPherson (Friend) on: Sep 19, 2020

  • When i met Sharon(and Jim) i immediately understood why their son and my friend Cam was such a wonderful person. Wonderful begets wonderful. And Sharon was/IS wonderful. I don't think i've ever seen her not smiling. Thank you for your presence among us, Sharon... and for making the world a better place. Love and Light, Jen - Posted by: Jeanette Adamo (Forever Friend) on: Sep 19, 2020

  • I grew up on Leila next door to the Leaven's. I have so many wonderful memories of the Leavens family! Jim and Sharon's wedding was one of the highlights of this 11 year old girl's youth. Their wedding photos were taken in our living room! My heart goes out to Cameron and family. Sharon was an incredible woman! - Posted by: Adele Deegan (former neighbour) on: Sep 19, 2020

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