The window of Heaven was opened at Baptist Health Hospital in North Little Rock, 5:30AM Saturday, April 17, and our mother went to see Jesus Christ, her Lord and Savior. “He’ll never leave me or forsake me. I believe that with all my heart,” was her last complete sentence before she left that morning. Sharon Yvonne Oliver was born in Abilene, Texas, on February 19, 1940, to Lillian (Shoemaker) and adoptive father Elmo Grantham, and grew up in Lubbock. She was the oldest of six kids and knew how to work hard from an early age. Although the Great Depression was over when she was born, the news hadn’t trickled down to her part of Texas, so she learned early how to save, not be wasteful, and to make do, a skill she carried with her all her life. She finished the 8th grade before she had to quit school to help at home. Although she didn’t finish high school, she continued her education the rest of her life. One Sunday when she was a teenager the minister announced at the church she attended that there was a need for Sunday School helpers. After church she volunteered because she thought it would be fun and she liked crafts. They accepted and that began her lifelong joy of working with children. She left home at 18 and suffered many heartbreaks and disappointments. In 1972 with four young children, she chose to move to Arkansas because she’d heard there were a lot of trees here, living first in Searcy County, then in 1980 moving to Searcy. It was here where God came into her heart, joined her to Mt Zion Christian Fellowship Church, and forever changed her life. When she turned 81 this year she bragged that now she had been here over half of her life. She loved the Lord and when she gave her heart to Him, she never looked back! Our mother was a homemaker, self-taught seamstress, artist, crafter extraordinaire, and collector of thimbles. She loved to garden, feed the hummingbirds, and watch the squirrels play. And she loved songbirds, chickens, and Nellie, but hated starlings, constantly shooing them out of her birdfeeders. She always wanted to be outdoors, fishing, camping, or sitting on the porch doing crossword puzzles. She made the best fried chicken, loved Jell-O, and was known for making her kids, grandkids, and babysat kids eat foods they didn’t really wanna. At her house, if she put it on the table, you had to try it. She possessed a wealth of knowledge about plants, vegetable gardens, and how to preserve foods. She knew a lot about raising kids and was very helpful to young mothers with her solicited and unsolicited advice, and tried to give all the moms a handmade blanket for their newborns. She served in Mexico on the mission field for a few years, first in Saltillo and then near Guadalajara. She loved her time there and never forgot the children from the orphanage where she worked. Sharon loved kids and kids loved her. She had four children, eight grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, and was “Grandma Sharon” to oodles of adopted grandkids. She began teaching Sunday School at Mt Zion in 1990. After much prayer she decided in August 2016 to retire from her class, one of the hardest choices she said she ever had to make. She was a volunteer at Center Hill School beginning in the mid 1990’s, working with the students in Spanish and art classes. Her last class was her final week before leaving us, enjoying being in class with the kids one more time. Sharon is survived by her sister Pat Lokey, and brothers Gary and Donnie Grantham, her son, Daryl (Brenda) Bennett, daughters Deann (Richard) Lawson, Latricia (Brad) Davis, and Amy Faulkner; grandchildren Jessica Escobedo, Crystal Seekins, Danica O’Dell, Caleb Lawson, Deric Pinales, Myrna Pineda, Elijah Bennett, Gregory Bennett, her great-grandchildren, and many lifelong friends, brothers and sisters in Christ. She was preceded in death by two brothers, Kenny and Harold, and by her son-inlaw Jerry Faulkner, Jr. The funeral service will be at Mt Zion Christian Fellowship, 285 Morris School Rd, Searcy AR, Wednesday, April 21 at 2pm. Elijah Bennett, Gregory Bennett, Caleb Lawson, Brad Davis, Ronnie Myers, and Luis Pineda will serve as pallbearers. Arrangements entrusted to Searcy McEuen Funeral Home, Bro Robert Turman officiating.
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