Sharon Howard Stockwell
1939 – 2021
It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news of the passing of Sharon Howard Stockwell of Santa Barbara, Ca. She was loved and adored by so many around the world for her caring and bubbly attitude and her positive and inspirational nature. A mother and Grandmother, she was also a mother figure and guide to so many making their way through this life and facing its many obstacles. As an accomplished novelist, artist, chef, and gardener, she was a connoisseur of magical food, entertainment, art and architecture. She attended UCSB and acquired a fine arts degree from USC where she met her future husband, Steve Stockwell. She was a proud Delta Gamma sorority sister and stayed close to all her fellow DG’s and the sorority throughout the years, especially, Scotty, Sue, Betsy, Swaff and Mary Jane. She was also part of a rambunctious trio in Montecito who used to paint the town purple known as the “wicked widows” with her buddies Linda and Christina.
Excerpts from her wonderful Book, “From Jefferson’s Table,” describe in autobiographical detail the extraordinary life of a person filled with love and respect for us all and how she always pushed everyone to be their best and that no mountaintop, no matter how high, could not be reached.
The Flower child.
I was born in Santa Barbara, California, the same year that “The Wizard of Oz” was released. I’m the direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson, eight generations removed. The daughter and granddaughter of all these remarkable women who have made their era a joyous and delicious experience no matter how harsh the odds against them. At five years old we lived on an avocado ranch. My Mother, Audrey, was so creative with her culinary skills, we enjoyed avocado dip, avocado cocktails, chilled avocado soup, and even avocado ice cream! We had so much fruit that I was encouraged to go into sales. I picked and bagged great quantities of gorgeous, shiny, green, and black avocados and sold them door to door, five for a dollar, with my red wagon. In those days, children could go neighbor hopping at will without fear. We always had a summertime lemonade stand, baked, and sold cookies, raffle tickets, magazines, shell jewelry that stank horribly because we didn’t bother remove the little critters inside, red popcorn balls wrapped in waxed paper for Christmas and even passed out free nosegays on May Day. We were unconsciously snoopy and knew everyone’s story.
We raised our two beautiful boys near a gorgeous California beach, and in our vintage cottage, we became the consummate cooking family. My sons were proficient with a pasta maker, draping noodles on a wooden dryer rack that stood waiting for the boiling water and hearty sauces that we vigorously concocted from ingredients on hand. All along the way, we hid out under the magical cover of our art. My husband was an architectural designer and powerful oil painter. Always, his loving and gifted sons were there with him to paint around the clock to meet some crazy deadline. Once we and our team of artists lived at Caesars Palace for a month to paint the fantasy architecture and murals for the King Tut and Cleopatra Suites. We went on to do similar projects for famous hotels around the world.
Sherry, also known as Moppy, had planned with her husband Steve, to start a new journey together and experience a historic renovation. She however, lost the love of her life and her Maestro at the precise moment they were to assume ownership of this diamond in the rough. She decided to move forward with this endeavor and at age 60, she would take on the restoration of the Masini Adobe located in Montecito. After years of renovation, the Old Masini, Santa Barbara County landmark number 31, was the place to experience the magical ambiance of the oldest 2 story Adobe in Southern California with its amazing walls that glowed with romance and history. The adobe was Montecito’s oldest venue for regional food and wine events. Visitors and locals alike enjoyed classes and wine tasting dinners in a room almost 200 years old… carefully designed for a world class chef with the warmth of a vintage country kitchen. It was during this time that she cared for and housed many foreign exchange students in the old carriage house on the property. These wonderful students, also known as, “The Carriage Kids”, hailed from all over the world and still held a strong bond with her. She would have Sunday brunches and barbecues where she would encourage all of the students to speak, in English (not their first language), of their weekly adventures and everyone was delighted by the food and especially the art of conversation.
Upon leaving the Great adobe to the next Steward of this architectural jewel, she moved to the Historic Quen Sabe ranch which in its day was one of the largest cactus ranches and botanical wonders of the west coast and hosted many famous visitors like Albert Einstein and Gana Walska, to name a few. It was here that she turned on her literary skills and started to create her Montecito trilogy of books. Starting with The Hill Baron’s Kitchen and onto 2 more books, she created a vivid odyssey based on Art, architecture, and food! She was an encyclopedia of the vintage Spanish architecture and history of Santa Barbara and Montecito as well as a lover of the incredible culinary legacy left by the many master chefs and patrons of the golden age of cooking in this central coast area. She raised over 100 different types of roses and was active in the Santa Barbara Rose society for many years and was also known for the wonderful images of Roses she sent out to everyone for daily inspiration to help cope with life’s bumps in the road and give everyone a secure emotional frame. Her last rose post was a rose named, “Seventh Heaven.” She will be missed by so many for her positive, can-do energy that will be felt like ripples in the pond of life for many years to come. She is survived by many family members who include, her Son Tod, his wife Christine, and their 2 children, Justin and Sienna, her son Charlton, his wife Antoinette, their two children, Saffron and Lachlan, her sister, Kristen Druker, and husband David, their two children, Michael and Mara, and her niece Lisa Stockwell and her two children, Jessica, and Jake. There are so many friends and family members that she loved all around the world and in which her powerful energy will live on as a glowing light of inspiration and caring.
Just remember one of her favorite sayings passed down from her mother “Gaga”,
“When the going gets tough, the tough throw a party.”
Feel free to reach out to Tod Stockwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any details about any memorial celebrations that may take place in the coming months and please treat yourself and others with love and respect and carry on with the celebrations, as that is what she would want all of us to do. She loved all of you!