Obituary of Sharon Lee Mahaffey Boivin
A Celebration of Life for Sharon Lee Mahaffey Boivin will be held Saturday, March 14 at 11:00 a.m. at Hooper & Weaver Mortuary. A reception will follow in the Reception Hall at Hooper & Weaver. She passed away February 12 at the age of 78.
Sharon was born February 9, 1942 in Los Angeles, CA to Clifford Lee and Marguerite Elizabeth (Washburn) Mahaffey. The family moved to Nevada County in 1952. Sharon attended local schools and graduated from Nevada Union High School in 1959. She became “Miss 903rd Air Refueling Squadron” at the Grass Valley Junior Chamber of Commerce “Maid of California Contest” at Beale Air Force Base in 1959. She worked for a few years for The Union newspaper as a reporter. In 1966, she was the Goddess of Liberty in the 4th of July parade. On June 16, 1973, Sharon married the love of her life, Joseph Boivin, at the Grass Valley United Methodist Church.
Sharon began her career in land use planning in 1963 when she was hired as a Clerk in the Nevada County Planning Department. After ten years, she was appointed Planning Director. She was instrumental in the development of the County in the early 1970’s when the County was largely unzoned. She and her staff were responsible for establishing zoning throughout the County, preserving established communities and shaping development of the County. She managed the development of Alta Sierra, Lake Wildwood, Lake of the Pines and Tahoe Donner. She strived to ensure that County industries, such as contractor equipment yards and mining operations were adequately located to protect neighborhoods.
Sharon truly loved Nevada County and she was a consummate planner. Her customer service and ability to explain regulations was exemplary. She was always available for questions and assistance from staff planners, local organizations, or anyone who had a land use question. She was a mentor to many, many planners. Learning under Sharon’s tutelage was a gift. She was known for being honest, fair and able to defend the County’s goals and objectives related to growth as well as retaining Nevada County’s history and vision. Sharon retired in December of 1995 from the County Planning Department, but retirement didn’t last long; she went on to serve as a Nevada County Planning Commissioner. She was also on the Steering Committee of the Grass Valley General Plan from 1998 to 1999. She was an extraordinary planner and an important part of Nevada County land use history.
She received the Nevada County Employee of the Year in 1991. In 1996, she was chosen as Woman of the Year by Northern Mines Business and Professional Women. She was a member of the Sierra Club where she received an award for Outstanding Achievement as a Political Activist. In 2008, she received a key to the City of Grass Valley for appreciation and gratitude for her dedication and efforts to help preserve, protect and nourish the city and community. She received an award from the Rural Quality Coalition of Nevada County in 2004 for her dedication of sustainable growth in Western Nevada County. She loved serving the people of Nevada County. She enjoyed horseback riding, was a former member of The Horseman’s, loved interior decorating and gardening. She was a lover of animals. Anyone and everyone who knew her would bring her stray cats and she would get them their shots, spay and neuter them and give them a good home. At one time she had over 30 cats and even had kitty condos!
She is survived by her husband Joe, brother Dennis (Patti) Mahaffey of Nevada City, niece Michele Mahaffey (Chris) Walker of Nevada City, step-daughter Sheila Boivin of Grass Valley, grandson Chuck (Eileen) Turay of Sunrise, Florida,
Great-granddaughters Olivia and Joleigh of Sunrise, Florida, and God Children Matthew and Sarah Olsen of Grass Valley.
She’s preceded in death by her parents and step-son Greg Boivin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Rudiger Foundation, P.O. Box 2174, Nevada City, CA 95959 rufk9.org or to Sierra Roots, P.O. Box 2086, Nevada City, CA 95959 sierraroots.org.
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