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Ernest Rees
November 30, 1953 -- November 02, 2022

Ernest Shawn Rees, our treasured father and husband, passed away on November 2, 2022. Born November 30, 1953 to Ernest (Ernie) and Lorna Rees, Shawn was popular and beloved from the very beginning. His mother pampered her baby boy, and he went on to excel at sports, theater and general mischief throughout his young adulthood. Shawn attended the University of Utah at the urging of a high school teacher. While he was the first to admit that he didn’t take his studies nearly as seriously as he ought to have, he completed his degree with a double-major and acquired a job in the fast-emerging telecommunications industry. Shawn’s creativity and inherent sociability made him a natural success in the marketing department, and he made a number of lifelong friends during his time at PrimeCo Communications and GTE. He adopted a love of competitive cycling, which he shared with his older brother, Michael. Throughout his life, Shawn adored music, playing the bass guitar and listening to all genres of music, from Queen, Neil Diamond, The Barenaked Ladies to musical theater. He often serenaded his family with hymns and renditions of West Side Story.

 

In 1986 and 1988, respectively, Shawn welcomed two baby girls, Amy and Morgan. They were immediately the lights of his life, and anyone who knew him heard about how proud he was of his two girls. He loved coaching soccer (at least one of his kids was even good at it) and talking with them about anything and everything in their lives or in the world. He encouraged them to ask questions, and was never afraid to admit that he didn’t have all the answers. After he left the working world following his diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease in the late 1990s, his bond with his daughters only grew as he dedicated his time to being a stay-at-home parent, complete with rides, school events, more soccer coaching, homework help, many last minute trips to craft stores to help make an emergency poster, and a whole lot of Starbucks dates staying up late talking with his girls.

 

Shawn discovered another of his great passions after his departure from work: art. He was rarely seen without a sketchbook, pen or pencil, and was known to stay up until the wee hours of the morning painting or drawing. He often gifted strangers and friends alike with sketches he had made while sitting at a restaurant, park or soccer game.

 

In 2007, Shawn started dating the love of his life, Jan Hardy. They were married in 2010, and Shawn added two more beloved children to his life, Matthew and Elizabeth. Shawn and Jan shared a deeply loving relationship that spread throughout their extended family, who gathered for holidays and family get-togethers from then on. Jan and Shawn loved their eight grandchildren and often required a long nap to recuperate after they visited!.

 

Shawn’s remarkable friendliness, sincerity and humor endeared him to all–he made friends wherever he went. Whether striking up a conversation over one of his sketches, or simply exchanging a 1000-watt smile and a joke with the server, Shawn was always a favorite of the many people he interacted with. He could talk to anyone about anything, and his insights, wisdom, humor and, of course, his many pithy sayings are just a few of the things we loved about him. His sharp wit could leave you laughing until your sides hurt. Shawn believed that real men wore Carhart overalls AND bow ties and leather-soled dress shoes, got pedicures (both professional and the much quirkier, applied-by-your-kids version), did laundry and ironed their

own dress shirts. He firmly believed that no human being should be discriminated against, and never tolerated any kind of racism, sexism, homophobia or other hatred in speech or action.

 

Shawn’s life and love enriched the lives of all who knew him. He loved his family and friends fiercely and above all else. Shawn was a man of deep Christian faith and was a long time member of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church. He believed in a God that did not discriminate; who loved everyone and accepted all into his Kingdom. Shawn’s positivity in the face of his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease inspired many, and characterized the determination and joy with which he lived his life. He rarely complained, and would often say, “On my worst day, life is still too good to be true.”

 

Shawn is dearly missed by his many friends and family, who will hold him in our hearts forever. Please join us in celebrating his life at 11:00 AM on November 12 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Shawn’s cherished church home of over 30 years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the capital fund at St. Martin’s or to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Condolences

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