Arlington woman brought music to the lives of others

SHARON BUESS fell in love with music as a child, and she helped others develop a passion for it by spending 32 years as a music teacher. She died April 17 at the age of 70. (Photo provided)

SHARON BUESS fell in love with music as a child, and she helped others develop a passion for it by spending 32 years as a music teacher. She died April 17 at the age of 70. (Photo provided)

Staff Writer
What began with a young girl playing around on the family piano grew into a love affair with music that was shared with many others.
At the age of 3 or 4, Sharon Buess was “messing around” on the piano, according to her older sister, and their parents suggested they both take piano lessons at the age of 6 to “pick it up right.”
Sharon Buess fell in love with music, becoming a singer with a trio and a music teacher at county schools. She also performed at area churches.
“It just really appealed to her,” said her sister, Virginia Hunter, “to make people happy and lift their spirits.”
As youngsters, the two sisters would sing at family gatherings and church functions. Their performances were “almost a concert,” recalled Sharon’s husband, David Buess.
“We had a lot of music,” Hunter recalled. “Music was just a given to us.”
Sharon Buess, of Arlington, died April 17 at Bridge Hospice Care in Findlay. She was 70.
When she became ill, David Buess said, several of her former students posted comments on her Facebook page.
David and Sharon met at Mount Blanchard Nazarene Church.
David, at the age of 13, announced to Sharon’s father: “Someday, I’m going to marry your daughter.”
On her 18th birthday, he traveled on his motor scooter on a cold day in February to be with her.
“I was determined,” he recalled of their courtship. “I knew it. I just knew it inside.”
They would manage a long-distance relationship when David, a few years older than her, attended college in Illinois.
Sharon was “very popular” in school, he said. She was homecoming queen of a Mount Blanchard parade and was a member of the National Honor Society.
They married on Aug. 21, 1966, with Sharon wearing a wedding dress she made.
She graduated from Riverdale High School in 1964 before earning a bachelor of music degree in 1968 from Bluffton University.
Her 32-year career as a music teacher included Hardin Northern High School, Riverdale High School and Fellowship Christian School, retiring in 2002 from Arlington School.
David Buess said his wife kept detailed index cards of her students, listing their abilities and areas that needed improvement.
“She wanted to see young people’s talents brought forth,” her sister said. “She didn’t want to forget that a kid needed a little more instruction.”
One name on those index cards was Kelly Ortiz. She became a music teacher, and credits Sharon Buess.
Ortiz was a 2000 graduate of Arlington High School, where Sharon Buess was choir director.
“She was always smiling,” Ortiz said. “She was always caring.”
Ortiz performed piano solos, and Buess had her play piano to accompany other students as they sang.
Ortiz, of Findlay, has been a music teacher for 12 years, the last nine at Pandora-Gilboa schools.
She said that while her own family influenced her career in music, Buess “had a hand” in that path.
“I’m blessed to have had her as a teacher,” Ortiz said.
Other students of Sharon Buess made trips to various music performances.
“A lot of her students went on to state competition,” David Buess said. She would travel with her students to these recitals, despite being prone to travel sickness.
Her husband said his wife did take some family vacations, but she preferred staying home.
He said when he would suggest a travel destination, she would sometimes joke, “Let me know when you’re coming back.”
Her talents extended to giving private music lessons, as well as playing the piano, harpsichord and organ.
During a talent contest at a church, a vocal trio took shape: the Grace Notes Trio. At Bible Fellowship Church near Arlington, the trio of Jean Bash, Laurie Randolph and Buess, as soprano, took to the stage.
For more than 20 years, according to Hunter, that group would sing at area churches and the Hancock County Fair.
Once, they gathered $1,500 to make a record of their work, but the man helping them became ill. And his replacement, according to her family members, had a “hearing disability.”
“He totally messed it up,” David Buess said. “They put their money down and got nothing in return.”
In 2002, she retired as a teacher with Arlington Schools. At the same time she was to become a grandmother, family members said.
“Her heart was so open,” her husband said.
“Her faith and her family were most important to her,” her sister said. “We should have known from the beginning that music was her life.”
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