Sharon Marie Napier of Southampton died at Stony Brook University Medical Center on July 18. She was 59.
Born in Southampton on March 19, 1954, to Odessa and the late Theodore Wingfield, Ms. Napier graduated from Southampton High School in 1972 and spent years performing in plays, choirs and concerts. She attended Suffolk County Community College, from which she earned an associate’s degree, and continued her education at Dowling College.
She married the love of her life, Mason Napier, on September 17, 1977. Five days later he enlisted in the U.S. Army and the family moved to Newport News, Virginia. Three years later the family moved to Bremerhaven, West Germany, where her husband was stationed. There she continued to pursue her love of singing, performing gospel throughout the German countryside.
According to survivors, love of family was at the core of all her life choices. As early as 9 years old, Ms. Napier was taking care of her five siblings. “She darn near raised us all,” her brother, Theodore Wingfield, lovingly recalled. Her mother and father would come home from work to a house that was cleaned and a meal prepared.
Ms. Napier made her stage debut at the Apollo Theater during its Amateur Night. In 1974, she was in the cast of “Raisin In The Sun” presented by Suffolk County Community College, where she played Lena Younger as well as the grandmother. In the ’70s she had a gospel group called The Young Harmonettes. She was best known in Voices of Tomorrow, which was a traveling gospel group and included Sharnelle Brown, who played Kimberly Reese on the hit TV show “A Different World.” From 1980 to 1983, she performed a solo act in Bremerhaven, West Germany.
Age never stopped Ms. Napier from pursuing performing, her survivors said. As recently as last year, she was in a production of “The Wiz.” Her sons, successful musicians in their own right, know where their talent originated, according to her family.
Ms. Napier is survived by her husband, Mason Napier Jr.; and three sons, Mason Napier III and wife Chrissy, Aaron Napier and wife Triste, and Andre Napier and wife Michelle. She is also survived by a brother, Theodore Wingfield; four sisters, Maude Gilliam and husband Raymond, Sandra Wingfield and husband Joey, Donessa Walker and husband Michael and Denise Smith-Meacham and husband Lewis; two uncles, Sam Sawyer and Tom Sawyer; nine grandsons, Aaron Jr., Dah’jzin, Ja’Kai, Ki’lyn, Ka’dyn, Lebron, Mason Michael, Tyren and Tyrione; a granddaughter, Chanelle; a sister-in-law, Amanda Anderson; and a goddaughter, Jamia.
A funeral took place on July 22 at Padgett Temple Church of God In Christ in Southampton. Evangelist Loretta Jefferson officiated and Pastor Ernest Cowell delivered the eulogy.
Interment followed at Calverton National Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton.