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Sharon A. Kurpen

Sharon A. Kurpen Obituary
Sharon Ann (Turgeon) Kurpen, 75, of Windsor, passed away Thursday, March 19, 2020 surrounded by her family. Born in Westbrook, Maine, daughter of the late Robert Turgeon and Ruth (Green) Shelly, Sharon was raised in Windsor where she attended Windsor schools and, after moving to Enfield in her Senior year, graduated from Enfield High School. Alongside so many boys and girls from Windsor, Sharon worked tobacco, sewing lathes of shade tobacco leaves to be used for wrapping cigars. She graduated from the Hartford Hospital School of Nursing in 1965 and soon began her nursing career as an early pioneer in the field of hemodialysis. Combining her keen scientific acumen, creativity and compassion, Sharon worked tirelessly to help her patients survive the devastation of kidney disease. As medicine advanced, Sharon worked in peritoneal dialysis where she strived to give her patients a better quality of life. Among her many innovations to improve patient care, Sharon created the "Rena Trainer" doll, which she and others used worldwide to educate patients by demonstrating an actual exchange of fluids, but more importantly displaying the process in the abdomen of a natural looking soft-sided doll who wore jeans and carried a Walkman, because she was "on the go". Rena Trainer improved the lives of many patients by assuring them they were capable of doing their peritoneal dialysis exchanges at home. Sharon was known for solving problems and many turned to her privately for advice and solace. Smart, strong and independent, Sharon believed that all women should be educated and individually capable of caring for themselves and their children, emotionally and financially, and that every woman should be able to "drive a stick". Once her daughters received their degrees and were established in their careers, Sharon returned to school to further her formal nursing education and, while continuing to prioritize the care of her patients and her family, in just a short two years earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Hartford in 2000. Sharon retired from Hartford Hospital in 2005, but continued to perform utilization reviews as a medical consultant until recent weeks. Amazingly, during the course of her recent hospital stay, Sharon continued to educate nursing students who gathered at her bedside. Especially in her later years, Sharon had many adventures travelling internationally with her good friend Anne Brady, which whom she shared many, many laughs, and with her life partner Nicholas Riccio. Sharon and Nick especially enjoyed spending time at their homes in Cape Cod, Pawleys Island and at the River House in Windsor. Sharon leaves her daughters Lisa Catarino Riccio and husband Anthony of Avon, Cynthia Langer and husband Robert of Barkhamsted; grandchildren Samantha and Cameron Riccio and Colby, Max, and Owen Langer; a brother and sister in-law Robert and Kathleen Turgeon of Windsor Locks; sisters Gloria Tessier of South Carolina and Michele Frey of Washington D.C.; the father of her children Joseph Catarino; several nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews; many friends; and her life partner Nicholas Riccio. Despite the strength Sharon imbued, her daughters will dearly miss their mother's wisdom, support and unconditional love. They like to remember her relaxing in an Adirondack chair in the Cape Cod late afternoon sunshine, sipping one of Nick's Cosmos, and listening to her favorite rendition of Tupelo Honey by Gene Donaldson, with her family running barefoot in her grassy yard playing cornhole and celebrating Happy Hour. Sharon's family would like to express their deep appreciation for the skill, compassion and tireless efforts of so many caregivers at Hartford Hospital, including Michaela, Michele, Dr. O., Dr. T., Abby, Sam, Carmen, Rosetta, Tim, C.J., and too many others to name. Having served a lifetime of helping others to be well, Sharon would not want anyone to put themselves at risk by attending her services. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Sharon's services will be private but will be streamed live so that others might attend virtually. The Private Family Service will be Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 1:00 PM at the Carmon Windsor Funeral Home. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery. Friends and family may gather at a Celebration of Life at a future date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sharon's name to the Alumnae Association of the Hartford Hospital School of Nursing Scholarship Fund at 80 Seymour Street, Hartford, CT 06102. To view services online, go to http://client.tribucast.com/tcid/43460328 at 1:00 PM on Thursday or at any time in the next 90 days thereafter. For condolences please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Hartford Courant on Mar. 24, 2020
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