Sharon M. Nagai-Phelps, 61, of Monmouth, IL, passed away at 1:52 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at the Richard L. Owens Hospice Home, Peoria, IL.
She was born on July 14, 1958 in Melrose Park, IL, the daughter of Masayuki and Phyllis Chiyoko (Nojiri) Nagai. Sharon was raised and educated in Melrose Park, IL and graduated from West Leyden High School in 1976. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1980 and later her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1989.
Sharon married Timothy D. Phelps on July 18, 1981 at the McKinley Presbyterian Church in Champaign, IL; he survives.
Sharon was extremely passionate and dedicated to the children and families of FamilyCore in Peoria, IL where she worked the last 19 years as Program Director for Counseling and Adoption. She was the heart and soul of FamilyCore and was a role model to all she worked with. She touched the lives of many children and families in her career and advocated for each one of them to have the tools they needed to be strengthened and equipped for life. She had a gift of care and compassion for anyone she met and was able to make each person feel as though they were the most special person in the world. She was dedicated to her profession of Social Work and upheld the highest levels of service, ethics and quality. She was a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Alpha Delta Mu National Social Worker Honor Society, was named Social Worker of the Year in 2005, and volunteered for Cane Corso Rescue.
Sharon was driven to be excellent in all she did and succeeded at a variety of pursuits. At various times in her life she was student, musician, office manager, tractor operator, cow midwife, dog mom, counselor, program director, consultant, antique tractor club hostess, driver dispatcher, calligrapher, cross stitcher, parts runner, and much more. She and her husband enjoyed traveling together on very rare vacations, more often with the excuse of a professional conference or family visit. She was an avid Trekkie and loved movies in which the underdog ultimately triumphed. If ever there was a person with no enemies it would be Sharon, her good-hearted nature will be forever missed, her passing leaves a big hole in the world.
Surviving Sharon is her husband, Timothy Phelps of Monmouth, IL; her mother, Phyllis Nagai of Willow Springs, IL; her sister, Sandra (Kim) Rebenstorf of Smyrna, GA; brother-in-law, Kirk (Linda) Phelps of Saint Ansgar, IA; sister-in-law, Ann Phelps of Monmouth, IL; nephew, Garet Phelps and niece, Sarah Phelps both of Saint Ansgar, IA; dogs Vinny and Mika; cat Clyde.
She was preceded in death by her father, and brother, Alan Kenny Nagai; dogs Gristle, Worf, Asher, Tasha.
Funeral Services will be at 10:30 a.m., Monday, March 16, 2020 at Faith United Presbyterian Church, Monmouth, IL. Visitation will be from 3:00-6:00 p.m., Sunday, March 15, 2020 at McGuire & Davies Funeral Home and Crematory, Monmouth, IL. Cremation rites will be accorded following the service. Burial of her ashes will be in Monmouth Cemetery at a later date. Memorials can be made to FamilyCore social services or Cane Corso Rescue.
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