Sharon “Neesie” Denise McDonald Nelson (Iya Ayotola Bolade Abimbola) transitioned from this earthly life peacefully on Sunday, October 13, 2019 and into the spiritual realm to be with her father, Jimmie Lee McDonald and younger sister, Edna Mariam McDonald and all the ancestors.
Educated in Durham County Schools, Sharon graduated from Northern High School in 1985. She went on to receive her Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Durham Technical Community College in 2004.
As an early childhood educator for over thirty years, Sharon was passionate about education and deeply committed to improving the life of every child she touched. She was known for telling her nieces and nephews to “use your words” when they were toddlers. She taught them how to use their imagination and that there were no boundaries to how creative they could be in life. Sharon’s love for children led her to become a foster parent later adopting her son when he was only a year old in 1998.
Faith, love and helping others was a big part of Neesie’s life as a child of two ministers. Oftentimes, this included helping the homeless, singing with her family at nursing homes and revivals, as well as visiting the sick and shut-in of the community. As an adult, in 1997, she donated one of her kidneys to Mariam, her younger sister. When she became a Yoruba Priestess in October 2015, she continued to helps others, especially those living on the margins of society.
While married for a brief time, Sharon and her husband Joseph, though separated, remained friends and talked on the phone from time to time about life.
Sharon loved being around family, friends and meeting strangers who became friends. Her infectious gift of laughter helped others forget about their own problems. Even with her own struggles in life, she was still able to bring light, love and happiness to others during their hardest moments.
Sharon will be remembered for her joy of making people laugh and her love of conversation. Those left to cherish her memory are: her son, Rayshaun Wilson McDonald of Burlington, NC; her husband,Joseph James Nelson of Maryville, TN; her mother, Mary Ann McDonald of Okmulgee, OK; four sisters, Twilla CasSandra McDonald of Durham, NC; Jacquelyn (Michael) Marlene Stinson of Okmulgee, OK; Patricia Mathell McDonald of Lewisville, TX; and April McDonald of Graham, NC; a brother and sister-in-law, Titus (Tanica) Philemon McDonald of Middlesex, NC; four nephews, Michael Ray Stinson Jr., Christopher Dwight Schrock, Gregory (Janiqua) Wayne Schrock, and Lerontae Dowdy of Benson, NC; three nieces, Dorothy Faith Marley Stinson, Jaraelyn Faith Monaye Stinson, and Ariel Christina Royster-Farrow; two great-nieces Aniyah Wanique Schrock, Vanessa Ann Reed and two great-nephews Jaxon Wayne Schrock and Josiah Wyatt Schrock; her spiritual godmother, Iya Efuntola A. Abimbola of Sanford, NC as well as a host of cousins, aunts, uncles, other relatives and dear friends.
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