05 November 2008
BERKELEY — Sharon Laverne Harvey, a much-loved colleague to many in the Office of Undergraduate Advising in the College of Letters and Science and a dedicated adviser of many years, died Oct. 20 after a two-year struggle with cancer. She was 54.
Sharon was born in San Francisco, grew up in Stockton, and graduated from UC Davis with a major in political science. She was a lifetime member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. A few years after graduating from college she moved to the Bay Area and made Hayward her permanent home.
Sharon came to Letters and Science in 1979 as a senior clerk. In 1982 she became a graduation adviser and in 1988 began her long career as an L&S adviser. In 2006, when she was diagnosed with cancer, Sharon retired from the university. She had worked in Letters and Science for 27 years.
As a college adviser, Sharon encouraged countless students from all backgrounds to achieve their highest academic goals and to persevere in the face of any obstacle or hardship. Her office wall was filled with pictures and thank-you notes from students she had advised and helped in her many years of service; she was given an Award of Appreciation in 2002 by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity on campus. With her caring, empathy, and compassion for students and co-workers, Sharon was a constant source of inspiration to everyone who knew her.
Sharon had a radiant smile and a warm heart. She looked for the best in everyone. She also had a terrific, mischievous sense of humor. She could be very candid and direct when she felt it was necessary, but she always tempered her candor with respect for other people’s points of view. Sharon’s willingness to speak her mind while maintaining her generosity of spirit, and her ability to quickly get to the heart of a matter under discussion in staff meetings, earned her the respect and affection of her colleagues.
Sharon responded to her illness with courage, spirit, and grace, drawing on her devout religious faith and her remarkable, unshakeable optimism. She conveyed that optimism to fellow members of the Palma Ceia Baptist Church in Hayward through her involvement in numerous church activities in which she provided support and encouragement to others, including other cancer patients. During several visits she made to Letters and Science after she became ill, Sharon was an inspiration to all her old colleagues. She looked wonderful, radiating joy at being alive and displaying immense courage in the face of great difficulty.
Throughout her ordeal, Sharon enjoyed the unstinting support of her family, her pastor and congregation, and many dear friends. She lived considerably longer than doctors predicted at the time of her diagnosis. She shared many precious hours with her family and friends. She lived to celebrate her younger son Darrin’s graduation from high school in June and his entrance into college at Cal State East Bay this fall.
Sharon is survived by her husband, DeWayne Sr.; her two sons, DeWayne Jr. and Darrin; her mother, Johnnie Mae Brown; her father, Louis Coulbertson; her sisters, Cynthia James Cain, Tanya Coulbertson, and Tina Coulbertson; five nieces and two nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
— Chris McCarthy