In Memory

Rhoana Atkinson (Shaw)

Rhoana Atkinson (Shaw)

Rhoana Estella Atkinson Shaw

On Monday, December 14, 2020, Rhoana Estella Atkinson Shaw passed away due to complications from heart disease and kidney failure. Rhoana was born June 12, 1948 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Loyal and Mildred Atkinson. Rhoana grew up with a profound love of music, participating in school and church choirs from her time in elementary school. She also learned to master both the piano and the organ. She developed an intrinsic love for spending time with family as a child from living on the same street as much of her extended family. Rhoana attended Hillside Junior High and Highland High School (both in Salt Lake). While in school, she continued to develop her musical and dance talents as part of the Glee and Pep Clubs, while also participating in sports such as golf and skiing. After completing high school, Rhoana enrolled at the University of Utah. She would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a minor in English. She joined the LDS Lambda Delta Sigma Sorority and made life-long friends at the socials. After her freshman year, she was fortunate enough to be able to spend a dream summer in Hawaii in 1967 performing clerical work during the week and basking in the sunbathed beaches during the evenings and weekends. She would speak of this summer in whimsical, nostalgic terms for the remainder of her life while always dreaming of returning (she did return once in the 1980s). Upon returning to the state of Utah, she resumed her studies and enjoyed the quick fortune of meeting her Anatomy tutor and soon-to-be-husband Harold. They were married in the LDS Salt Lake Temple on June 18, 1969. She graduated from college in the spring of the following year (1970) and gave birth to her first child, a daughter Noel, that December. Her second child, David, would soon follow in May of 1972. After her children arrived, Rhoana synthesized her three main passions of family, music, and religious devotion. She was a dedicated mother while running her own piano studio out of her home in Sandy and participating in her local LDS congregations as an organist, choir director, and other roles. In 1980, her husband Harold finished his master’s degree in education and found a new, but challenging job as a high school principal in the silver mining town of Eureka, Utah. His career advancements would result in further moves to Richfield, Utah in 1987 and West Jordan, Utah in 1993 where they had a dream home built in which they would both reside until just before both of their deaths. Although she experienced health challenges in her later years, she loved traveling around the country and the world as much as possible. She also loved knitting, scrapbooking, gardening, and creating fun family traditions. 2020 would prove a tragic year for Rhoana, as she was preceded in death by kidney failure by her son, David, in June and her husband, Harold, in October. While she was frank in her assessment that the year was the worst of her life, she remained as cheery as could be expected until the very end. She is survived by her daughter Noel Schone (Ryan), daughter-in-law Kathy Shaw, younger brother Bruce Atkinson (Chris), and grandchildren Steven, Michael, Heather, Alex, Ellie, Emily, Alex, Adam, and Mila. She will be deeply missed.






go to bottom 
  Post Comment

12/20/20 10:43 AM #1    

Marcia Feinauer (Vogeler)


I remember all the good times we had together in pepclub.  Rhoana's bubbly cheerful personality will be grestly missed!

A more detailed obituary can be found at:

12/20/20 04:51 PM #2    

Kathy Cracroft (Wilhelmsen)

Marcia, I'm glad you included the link to the extended obituary for Rhoana.  It is a loving tribute, and many photos are included as well.  

It was just over two weeks ago that I got Rhoana's Christmas card and happily wrote back to her, looking forward to a visit.  So many fond memories from junior high and high school.  When we were about 14, I joined Rhoana and her family on a trip to Sun Valley.  We had such a grand time slathering up in baby oil and lying by the pool in the sun all day.  That night we were two cooked lobsters!  It hurt too much to even try to sleep, and so we just sat up and gabbed and giggled all night.  We had such fun times in Pep Club. And such musical ability!  I could sit on the piano bench next to her for hours, watching her hands work magic over the keys and asking her to play "just one more" favorite song.  I remember "boy" drama and Rhoana's gentle, kind heart and helping each other get through some of that.  I learned so much from her about dress and fashion too.  She was dear and grand in every way.


12/21/20 10:39 AM #3    

Marsha Draper (Fryer)

I knew Rhoana at Highland, mostly through the different choir groups, but I became dearly acquainted with her the summer of 1967 when a group of us went on an adventurous trip to Honolulu, HI, to live for the summer.  There were six of us that roomed together, and luckily, we all got along quite well.  Probably one of the reasons was because Rhoana was such a kind, sweet, peacemaker.  I believe that was one of the personality traits she was blessed with.  She always had such a soft, kind smile on her lips, and offered help every single day.  I know that after that trip, her life was followed with kindness and cheerfulness each day, it was just her way of living.  I'm so happy I had that summer with Rhoana, and the opportunity to know her better.  She was a blessing and made my life better, and was an example to me!  RIP, dear friend.

12/22/20 12:51 AM #4    

Sandra McCann (Poulsen)

Indeed, the warmth and kindness that Rhoana shared with us at Highland made every day a little better.  It was touching reading the lovely tribute to her, envisioning her moving from place to place and lifting the spirits of others she met along the way.  We are all better for having known her.  We can only begin to imagine what a joyous Christmas season she must be having!  Who knows?  Maybe Rhoana and Scott Donaldson are pulling some pranks up there in the clouds.

12/23/20 03:29 PM #5    

Cordell Bott

I will miss Rhoana.  It seems like I've known her forever, at least since second grade.  As teenagers we studied piano with the same teacher and always competed with each other at our annual recitals.  I met up with her and her husband when they lived in Eureka, of all places.  One of my patients who lived there had me speak at his funeral and Rhoana's husband was the bishop presiding over the service.  We enjoyed a nice visit at the last reunion and talked about our music careers.  She was always the sweetest, kindess personality.

12/23/20 08:09 PM #6    

Laurel Parker (Rohlfing)

Rhoana and I go way back to elementary school.  Her mom, Mildred, organized a group of in a sextette, including Rhoana, me, Loa Lund, Sally Slagle, Marj McEwan and Christy Margetts.  We had the opportunity to sing in a variety of places, including an assembly at Hillside Jr. High and a travelling assembly to Roosevelt(?) Jr. High.  We even made dresses alike!  We were delighted when she was able to join us in pep club.  That put all of us friends back together again!  Rhoana was always happy to accompany us in whatever activity we schemed up.  I lost track of Rhoana after high school.  I married early, and everyone else seemed to go their separate ways.  I will always consider Rhoana a dear friend.  She endeared herself to everyone!

go to top 
  Post Comment