Obituaries » Sharon M. Buursma

Sharon M. Buursma

July 7, 1943 - August 9, 2020

The family is planning a private service and anticipates a larger service when it is safe for us to all be together again. Sharon left us with the following thoughts: “My career and my life have been about bringing the best of health care, business and education together to create a work environment where patients and staff are valued and clinicians can practice as they are taught. I can never repay the Michigan State College of Nursing enough for the education that I received and the doors that that education opened for me throughout my life. But, imagine the possibilities if we each gave something back. Just imagine the difference that we would make! Just imagine!” To make a lasting gift in Sharon’s memory you are invited to remember in her name the following organizations: The Michigan State University College of Nursing, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Chapter of the American Heart Association, or Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, c/o the funeral home.

Age 77, passed away on Sunday, August 9, 2020. Sharon was born on July 7, 1943, in Douglas, MI, the daughter of Orrin Lawrence and Marion Elizabeth (Kish) Ensfield Jr. Sharon embarked on a nursing profession because she wanted to make a positive difference in the world and nursing was the most interesting and exciting way to do so. She obtained her Bachelor of Science from the College of Nursing at Michigan State University in 1965, where she graduated with honors. She received a Master of Business Administration with Distinction from Grand Valley State University in 1990. She started her career as an ICU nurse, a public health nurse and became President and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Western Michigan. In 1996 she became the Executive Vice President at Spectrum Health. Her guidance was present in organizations such as United Way, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, and Women’s Coalition for Legislative Action. She also served on the Board of Trustees for Davenport College and the Grand Valley University Foundation, Porter Hills Board and Foundation, the Advisory Boards for Kirkhof School of Nursing, and the Master’s in Management Program at Aquinas College, as well as Co-Chairperson of the Fundraising Committee for Gilda’s Club. She was instrumental in helping the Grand Rapids Chapter of the American Heart Association develop the GO RED FOR WOMEN movement. During her career, Sharon was honored with such awards as the Hugo Lupinski Public Health Services Award, Outstanding Women in Health Care from the Michigan Woman’s Foundation, and the YWCA Women of Achievement Gallery Award. Special honors for Sharon included receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from Davenport University, being recognized as Top Fifty Women of Influence in Western Michigan, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University, the Outstanding Educator Award from The College of Education at Michigan State University, and the Business Person of the Year Award from Michigan State University. She also served on the boards of many national, state and local boards of directors for health care, business and educational organizations. As a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, she served there as treasurer and as Chair of the Finance Ministry. Sharon is survived by her step-children, Jill (Tony) Chan of Portage, Andrew (Peggy) Buursma of Ada; grandchildren, Nicholas and Thomas Buursma and Ryan and Karilyn Chan; brothers, Larry (Rose Pharres) Ensfield of Shelbyville and Craig (Janice) Ensfield of Milan; nieces and nephews, Brett (Kathryn) Ensfield, Amanda (Chris) Haverdink, Craig Ensfield Jr. and Carl (Lisa) Ensfield; uncle, Carl (Sally) Kish; cousins, Arnold (Carolyn) Ensfield and Dr. Robert (Kay) Ensfield.