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HomeObituarySHARON “MOORE” ANDERSON (March 30, 1938 – November 13, 2023)

SHARON “MOORE” ANDERSON (March 30, 1938 – November 13, 2023)

On 1938 of March 30, in Duluth, Minnesota, a STAR was BORN!

Sharon was the first-born child of Chester and Constance Morris. Television was in its infancy, so beyond books, games, or the radio, families had to “make their own fun.”  Her parents often hosted jam sessions in their small home, where everyone gathered around Sharon at the family’s precious piano. She’d taken lessons but quickly progressed to playing by ear. She played a few more instruments over the years, including the harp, guitar, ukulele, and many attempts to learn the banjo, a throwback to her family’s WV hill-billy roots.

One oft-told story featured teenaged Sharon tickling the ivories with her left hand while she threw in some trombone using her mouth and right hand, while working the brass slide with her right foot. That was only possible, she claimed, because of her “petite” size of 12 feet.  She was never shy about being the center of attention.

She played and sang with multiple musical groups at Denfeld High while beginning to work professionally at age 15 throughout the region. Long-suffering dad Chet had to drive and chaperone her for every gig since she was underage. By the time she’d graduated, she was also traveling to play at USO shows.

It was a case of perfect timing; her looks and talents peaked at the same time that piano bars were the rage, sprouting up everywhere. She played decade-long stints at the Highland, the Bellows, and the Radisson’s Whaleback Room, where she’d developed a group of amateur singers who followed her wherever she played and showed up every night. She was a stunning beauty: curious, intelligent, compassionate, and very charismatic. While she always claimed she “couldn’t sing,” she had a low, throaty voice, reminiscent of Julie London or Peggy Lee. And now, she had her own entourage!

During the same years she worked in the Duluth clubs, she became involved with the Duluth Playhouse and served as its Musical Director for many musicals, including the Playhouse’s 50th Anniversary musical review, which sold out every night of its run.

At the Bellows one night, she met the love of her life, Bruce Anderson, who later was elected Lake County’s first County Attorney.  Early on in their courtship, he proposed they go on a “camping trip.” Sharon was not exactly the outdoorsy type and was fretting nervously until Bruce pulled up in a totally tricked-out Winnebago, complete with steaks in the freezer and electric blankets on the bed. Now here was a man who truly understood her! They married in 1981, and their children easily blended into a natural family. She did prefer living in a city, so her long-running joke was that Two Harbors was like “Living in the toe of a wet, gray, sweat sock.”

Throughout the 90s, she continued to commute to play at clubs and hotels throughout the Twin Cities. She became involved with the singing group the Klondike Kates, a well-known and much-loved part of the St. Paul Winter Carnival. They played gigs all around the state, including large venues like the Landmark Center. More importantly, the unique personalities and bodacious stage presences of “the gals” led to life-long, treasured friends and memories. This partnership was very close to her heart. When she finally moved back home, she took a two-year-long class in Building Construction because ‘she thought it’d be fun.’ For this, she actually had to get up and be functional in the Morning!  BEFORE noon!

She then broadened her performance into the realm of stand-up comedy. Within a year of her first nervous open mic, she’d landed a spot onstage at Dudley Riggs (the premiere comedy club at that time) and even got to meet Lily Tomlin after one performance. Until the very end, she was still jotting down funny things in one of her ubiquitous comedy notebooks. Sharon was prouder of those later years doing comedy then the half-century she spent singing and playing.

Sharon was quick-witted, always ready to let fly with a wry one-liner. Her humor leaned heavily towards the sarcastic and the risqué. While her public knew her as an elegant, multi-talented performer, dressed to the nines and extremely at ease with anyone in any situation, those who got beneath her surface were sometimes surprised by the extent of her compassionate, nurturing qualities. That private side was always in effect when she was dealing with her family, as well as any animal she encountered (and quite often adopted into her home). She’d have gone (and frequently DID go) to any lengths to assist her kids, to coddle, and at Christmas, especially, spoil them to death. They in turn were devoted to her and would come running if she’d so much as crook her finger. This is how they’ll remember her and it’s such an interesting contrast to the glamorous, gregarious persona she had when in the public eye.

Sharon is survived by her daughter Kelly (Patrick) Lancette and son Dale (Louann Fox) Martinson of Two Harbors, son Craig Martinson of Minneapolis, and stepson Morgan Anderson of Duluth; sister Judith Leonard of Minneapolis, brother Mark (Tracy Tandy) Morris of San Rafael, CA, and adopted sister Susan (Richard) Abrahamson of Port Ludlow, WA.; granddaughter Ashley Ruiz of Houston, TX; grandson Shea (Amelie) Martinson of Oslo, Norway and granddaughter Sara Anderson of Duluth; great-grandson Luca Ruiz of Houston, TX; niece Jennifer (Kendall Hanley) Leonard and nephew Christopher (Susan Olson) Leonard of Minneapolis.

She was preceded in death by the love of her life, Bruce Anderson (d. 2007), and multiple pets including her favorite feline Dot-ta-Dot, Bichons Tucker, Trouble and Pogo.

Our heartfelt gratitude to Nurse Holly O. (Sharon loved her) and the rest of the St. Luke’s Hospice team, who allowed her to die with dignity, laughter and peace, in her home with her loved ones. Arrangements by Minnesota Cremation Society.

We’re saying goodbye to Sharon with one more audience, as she’d have wanted it. The celebration of Sharon’s unique life–with refreshments–will be held on Sunday, January 7th, 2pm-?   Please come in and mingle anytime and share your tales of Sharon at the Clearwater Event Center, 5135 North Shore Drive (scenic route between Duluth and Two Harbors).

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