Sharon Lee (Young) Batha, aged 85, of Los Angeles, California, passed away suddenly on Monday, January 15, 2024.
Sharon, a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, will be forever cherished by her four children: Dean, Wendy, Robert, and Christopher; her grandchildren Angelina and Breeanne; and her great-grandchild, Adeline.
Born on a beautiful Southern California fall day, Sharon Lee was a proud third-generation Californian. She cherished memories of growing up in the San Fernando Valley with her parents, Dorothy and John Young, and her younger brother, Robert (Bob) Young. Sharon often recalled the long hours spent outdoors, mostly barefoot, setting up lemonade stands, growing vegetables and fruit, back when the San Fernando Valley was mostly farmlands and small communities. She graduated from Van Nuys High School, focusing for many years on studying dance and art.
After graduation, she married Donald Batha, whom she met at a bowling alley. She recalled Don’s co-worker, Al, approaching her with the line, “There is someone who wants to meet you” and the rest is history. Sharon and Don raised their four children in Northridge, California. In addition to being a mother of four children close in age, Sharon worked for the phone company after the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. Sharon was known for being an amazing hostess and cook, frequently hosting friends and neighbors over at their house. During these years, she enjoyed painting, crafts, candle-making, and decorating.
Sharon grew up in the vibrant cultural and transformative decades of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.
A gifted storyteller and witness to history, she could transport her listeners to a bygone era filled with innocence, growth, and the simple pleasures of life. She had a wonderful ability to infuse emotion into her stories. She could radiate warmth and humor to make one feel as if they were there. To her grandchildren, her stories of being at Disneyland on opening day were a highlight. She was a cherished matriarch and keeper of family history and wisdom.
After separating, Sharon continued working in a field she was passionate about. A food stylist, and recipe writer for many years, Sharon's success in the field coupled with her creative spirit inspired her to start her own catering and party planning company that served the “who’s-who” of Los Angeles. In her retirement years, Sharon continued working. She spent many years taking care of children for an exclusive agency, where she was highly in demand by prominent Los Angeles families looking for a special someone to care for their children. Sharon possessed a natural gift for connecting with children and captivated them with her magical and whimsical approach. Her imagination knew no limits.
A woman of true grace and resilience, Sharon faced life’s challenges with a determined spirit and unwavering optimism. She was a beacon of peace and comfort to her family members and friends. She will be remembered as someone who despite the chaos of life, was able to preserve a sense of enduring love, support, hope, and acceptance.
Sharon was a lifelong student and teacher. Up until her final days, Sharon spent hours writing and researching, whether she was broadening her knowledge or educating others. Sharon’s intellectual curiosity extended to her interest in politics, a subject she wrote extensively on for many years. She wrote daily correspondence and had in-depth discussions on a wide range of topics, such as health, religion, science, art, dance, music, and history. Sharon was a true patriot. She often told stories of her involvement in politics during her early days in marriage and was a member of The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
In her final years, Sharon lived in Chatsworth, California, near the iconic Stoney Point Chatsworth Hills with her son, Chris, who helped with her care, and her two sweet Siamese cats, Jasmine and Sweet Pea.
Sharon’s final resting place will be under the shade of a tree in Oakwood Memorial Park, near the beautiful rock formations of the Chatsworth Hills she loved so much, next to the California landmark, Chatsworth Pioneer Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her name to Purrmaid Café and Adoption Center, a feline sanctuary. Donate HERE
Below are some tributes from her family members.
From her eldest son, Dean:
“Long before I even went to school, since before I can remember, Mom would read to me every day. She would read Dr. Seuss, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Aesop's Fables, as well as classic English children's stories like Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding-hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Humpty Dumpty, and Sleeping Beauty. I can recall, from about the age of three, sitting next to her as she read, looking at pictures and following along as she traced the words with her finger. I would interrupt her a lot and ask, "mommy, what's that word?" By the time I entered first-grade, I was already reading two grades ahead of the other kids. My reading comprehension skills were always ahead of my peers right up until college. Mom gave me the greatest gift a parent can give a child; she taught me to read.”
From her daughter, Wendy:
“There are a million memories I have of Mom through the years.
Many of my favorites are from my childhood. Mom always made sure that we had super fun Birthday parties, amazing easter baskets and magical Christmases. She was the mom that always went a step beyond making one of her Pineapple Upside Down cakes for the PTA bake sale, Inviting each of our elementary school teachers to coffee & cake every year just before the holidays, and driving us kids to all the places we needed to go in her White 1965 Buick Riviera, with light blue interior. (She loved that car!)
Mom was always very creative with anything she did. A gifted artist, she painted in acrylics for many years. I can still envision our Northridge dining room full of finished works, primarily still life scenes often with big bold flowers dominating the canvas.
Whether painting, paper flower making, candle making or creating delicious meals and desserts, she always put her own creative touch on everything. Even her handwriting is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
She encouraged creativity in us kids too. We were never without crayons, colored pens and pencils, paints, brushes, scissors, glue, glitter and lots of paper on which to express ourselves. Our big cupboard in the kitchen was always well stocked with supplies. And our big kitchen table did double duty as an art studio most days.
Thank you Mom for always encouraging my artistic expression as a little girl. It is a gift I continue to cherish and have tried to pass to my own daughters and will give to my own granddaughter as well.”
From her youngest son, Chris:
“My Mother’s Love By The Decades.
First, Thank You Mom for birthing me. Could not have been easy, especially after having three before me.
The Magical Time.
Thank You Mom for all the great Easters, 4th of Julys, Halloweens, Thanksgivings and most of all the Christmases. Norman Rockwell All The Way.
And thank you for attending my school play of Charlotte’s Web.
I still remember your pride filled smile watching me.
The Struggle Time.
Thank You Mom for being a strong woman and single mother during that difficult time in yours and my life. My teenage years could sometimes be really tough for both of us.
And just letting me become who I am.
The Transitional Time.
Thank You Mom for being there whenever I needed you and stepping back when I needed you to so I could go it alone.
And Thank You for helping me find my way back from a dark time in 95 and 96.
The Quiet Time.
Thank You Mom for just taking the time to listen whenever I needed it.
The Giving Back Time.
Thank You Mom for taking me in when the bottom fell out.
What began as a lifeboat situation eventually grew into a son caring for and being there for you when you needed it.
The End Time.
When the whole world turned ugly and upside down you made sure we were secure in the home.
I knew you were in constant pain and discomfort and watched how you struggled to keep yourself going day after day.
And now your long journey has come to its end.
Your Work Is Done.
Your Time To Rest Is Now.
I Love You Now And Always
Your Youngest Son
Her granddaughters Breeanne and Angelina remember her as Nanny. Breeanne shares these memories from her and Angelina’s childhood:
“My grandmother, who we always just called Nanny, was a very beautiful and special person. She liked to remind me that after my parents, she was the first person to hold me after I was born. We shared the same green eyes & middle name.
Some of my fondest memories from childhood are from the moments she created. She had a way of making everything magical. When we would have to help her with chores, she would call herself “Nanny Fluff & Fold” and make it into a Mary Poppins-esque experience. On long drives, she would pretend her car was alive & make a voice from the front seat pretending it was her white Jeep talking to me. She would help me set up elaborate tea parties and when we did something bad or even just for fun, she would chase us around the house pretending to be a dinosaur.
Going to her house was always really special. We had our special things at Nanny’s house. I remember the containers of art supplies and books she had for us and how they felt sacred. She would trust us with the things we couldn’t get away with at home, like markers that weren’t the washable kind. In my memories, we never made a mess at her house, though I suspect that’s not actually true, she just had a way of making everything seem sparkly. She had me convinced that her cat, Bonnie, was the owner and operator of a nearby bakery called Bonnie’s Cookies. Bonnie the cat was always very busy in action, in the back, so we couldn’t visit, we would just need to see her back at home.
When I was older, she would take me along to work with her where she would take care of other people’s children. She was magic to them too. The kids were so enamored with her and never wanted to go to sleep when she was there. I would stay with her for days at a time as a teenager. I’d watch movies in bed with her and go with her on errands.
She gave me advice through difficult times and always gave her opinion freely. She would say “Now you may not like it…” and when that was said first, I usually didn’t.
We are devastated and will miss her so much. We are so thankful for her.”