Sharon Adair Cinelli

September 23, 1934July 26, 2020
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On July 26, 2020, Sharon Adair Cinelli passed away peacefully in her Olathe home, surrounded by family. She died at age 85 following a valiant 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Sharon was born on September 23, 1934 in Kansas City, MO to Carroll and Dorothy (Kasper) Adair and grew up as the couple’s only child. She was the valedictorian of her East High School class of 1952. Sharon earned a BA in Education from University of Missouri – Columbia in 1956 and went on to complete an MA in Education from Central Missouri State University. Sharon taught kindergarten for more than 34 years, most notably at Red Bridge Elementary in the Center School District.

Sharon married Al Cinelli on June 16, 1989, and shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Over more than two years, with a never-ending positive attitude and Al always by her side, she won her battle against cancer, and it changed her life.

As a cancer survivor, Sharon spent the next 30+ years creating a life of her own making. While still in the midst of her fight against cancer, she retired from teaching, started a daily exercise routine that she maintained until the last year of her life, and she became a devout Catholic, bringing Al back to the church in the process. She also began molding Al’s family into an incredibly tightknit group that spanned three generations; she made his family, her family. Socially, Sharon’s grew many deep friendships, built over competitive, but always fun, bridge games, or because of a mutual love for theater and the arts. Sharon and Al were also frequent attendees at Theater League, Broadway Across America and New Dinner Theatre productions.

When she and Al met, she quickly discovered she shared his love of travel. Together, the two traversed the world, taking annual vacation-tours across Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and more. When asked, Sharon would share stories of her most favorite trip, to the Holy Land and Rome in 2000 which was led by four Catholic Priests. Closer to home, the two enjoyed spending weeks at a time at their vacation home on South Padre Island, TX. Padre was also where the family gathered for most of their biennial family reunions. These reunions on the beaches of Texas were Sharon’s idea, and they were instrumental in forging deep connections within her family.

Always an organized soul, Sharon had a long history of holding leadership positions in volunteer organizations. While at Mizzou, she was the president of her sorority, Delta Gamma. She met Al through the Kansas City singles group, “Fine Arts Singles”; even as they dated seriously, she became the group’s president. When the group members all found themselves married (including her and Al), she helped start the group, “Fine Arts Alumni,” which continues to this day. For more than 20 years, Sharon gave back to other cancer patients by volunteering at the Richard & Annette Bloch Family Foundation Cancer Hotline.

In quieter moments on most afternoons, Sharon loved to curl up with her book of the week and a cup of tea. While not a lifelong voracious reader, you would have never known otherwise: after her retirement from teaching, she averaged at least one book per week (and at least one cup of tea per afternoon!), and she always had another book on tap and an opinion on the one she just finished.

Sharon was preceded in death by her mother and father, Dorothy and Carroll Adair. She is survived by her husband Al, and their family that includes son, Al (and Alyson Buckman); daughter, Cheryl Cinelli-Palermo (and Ron Palermo); son, John (and Karen); and daughter, Janet Cinelli (and Eric Ryan). She also leaves behind five Cinelli grandchildren, Jack (and Caley), Benjamin, Patrick, Matthew and Samantha, her cousin, Cathie Ramsey (Bob), her brother in law, Francis Cinelli and a host of Cinelli nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the many wonderful friends who were so generous with their visits during the last weeks of Sharon’s illness. These times with friends were not only so valuable to Sharon, they also meant the world to her family.

A Drive-thru Visitation will be held from 5:00pm to 7:00pm on Friday, July 31 at Mt. Moriah, Newcomer & Freeman Funeral Home (south Portico), 10507 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00am on Saturday, August 1 at Church of the Nativity, 3800 West 119th Street, Leawood, KS. Entombment will follow in Mount Moriah Cemetery.

In the summer of 2021, her family will invite friends from near and far to gather in Kansas City for a celebration of her life. Later in the summer of 2021, her family will gather more privately on South Padre Island, TX to share a glass of wine in her honor.

If you would like to make a donation in her name, the family would like to suggest the following organizations, Delta Gamma Foundation, Nativity Church, University of Missouri – Columbia School of Education, or Richard & Annette Bloch Family Foundation.


  • Carroll Adair, Father (deceased)
  • Dorthy (Kasper) Adair, Mother (deceased)
  • Al Cinelli, Husband of 31
  • Al Cinelli (Alyson Buckman), Son
  • Cheryl Cinelli-Palermo (Ron Palermo), Daughter
  • John Cinelli (Karen Cinelli), Son
  • Janet Cinelli (Eric Ryan), Daughter
  • Jack (Caley), Benjamin, Patrick, Matthew & Samantha, Grandchildren
  • Cathie Ramsey (Bob), Cousin
  • Francis Cinelli, Brother-in-law

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  • Visitation

    Friday, July 31, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, August 1, 2020

  • Committal Service

    Saturday, August 1, 2020


Sharon Adair Cinelli

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Frank Picarello

August 4, 2020

I only had the opportunity to meet Sharon once on a visit for work. Sharon, Al, myself and JD Helms had a wonderful dinner together. It was if we knew each other for a long time. Sharon was personable, warm and took an interest in me as a person. What a wonderful woman with class and a zeal for people that few have. I was immediately at home and comfortable. I know that Sharon was loved by her family and admired by many. I was honored to have met her and know she's in a better place looking out for us all.

Gary Smith

August 1, 2020

Sharon was a lady’s lady, one of the most influential and admired women during my lifetime. She was the life-force of the Cinelli family, and I’m going to miss her. She had an excellent grip on what was important in life and her T-shirt buying sprees during the biannual family gatherings in South Padre were legend! But even better than that collection of posed photos were all the unforgetable candid moments of grandchild fun she made happen under her wing...

Rita Laws

August 1, 2020

I first met Sharon when she came to volunteer at SJMC. We got reacquainted after I retired when I would sub in a Friday Bridge Group. Sharon was a woman of faith who loved her family dearly. She would light up as she spoke of them. I feel blessed to have known her.

Linda Weber

July 31, 2020

I was blessed over 20 years ago to meet Sharon. I don't know that I have ever met a kinder soul. Some of my favorite memories of her are when we traveled to New York City. We enjoyed many of the same things such as live theatre, browsing museums, walking through Central Park and grabbing a pizza slice from one of the many pizza parlors. I feel very honored to have been included in some of Sharon and Al's celebrations ~ milestone birthdays and anniversaries. Sharon was a true lady who always had a kind word and a hug to share. I will miss her. I have dedicated my rosaries to the Cinelli family this week. My hope is that they feel God's loving arms around them.

judy lo

July 31, 2020

Sharon was one of the sweetest, kindest people that I know. She always had a smile on her face, even in these last months while fighting this cancer. And she never wanted to impose on anyone. I am so happy I was able to see Sharon a couple weeks ago. She was such a lovely lady. I will miss her. You are all in our prayers.

Eric Ryan

July 31, 2020

Probably the most special day I had with Sharon, and there were so many wonderful days, was our first day on the Mekong River in Cambodia. Al and Janet stayed on the boat, and Sharon and I, in Sharon's own words, had our "date" together. We were in this small village, announcements and Buddhist prayers blasted out over outdoor speakers throughout the was truly a unique experience. We helped teach an English class to elementary aged children, were blessed by a Buddhist monk, and on that day we went from recently minted relatives to best of friends.

Cassie Braxdale

July 31, 2020

My husband Phil and I met Sharon and Al at our home for bridge and fell in love with both of them. Through the years we enjoyed learning about loving extended family and how to celebrate holidays with gusto through them. We enjoyed sharing the pride we felt for both our children and grandchildren.
I love jewelry and I had so much fun learning how Sharon and her Mother were shopping one day in Macy’s downtown KC and she found and purchased the single diamond ring she wore on her right hand. I don’t think she and I ever played bridge that I didn’t comment on it.
I knew Al and Sharon were going to Japan a couple of years ago and I knew Phil would not go back to the Far East. Sharon promised she would share her pictures with me. She was true to her word. Al and Sharon invited us over one evening to share their trip. It was wonderful. So typical of Al. . . the day they were to go to Mount Fuji it rained. So Al hired a car to take Sharon to the top. Only Al would that for his Sharon.
Al and Sharon were an example of a “couple” in love. They were partners in every sense of the word. I will miss my friend Sharon. She was one of the kindest and most genuine persons I have ever known. She will be so missed by her friends. I pray for her family who must feel so alone. We are all aware she was one of those people with an express ticket to Heaven but she will leave a large empty space behind.

Brad and Anne Johnson

July 30, 2020

We came to know Sharon and Al when we were invited to join a monthly bridge group they were part of. She was joy to be with! Lovely, witty, a terrific player and always kind to her partners. Often she would email something she thought we might find interesting, and it always was. We shall miss her sunny disposition and consider having known her to have been one of God’s blessings.

Barbara Messenger

July 30, 2020

Sometimes God sends you an “angel” when you least expect it. Sharon was all that and more. Unfortunately, I only had two (2) occasions to speak with Sharon during her life’s journey, at Cheryl and Ron’s wedding, then 20-years later at Jack and Caley’s wedding. My take-away from these gatherings was Sharon had a gift to bring the Al Cinelli family joy.

During these encounters’ I noticed, Sharon’s nurturing manner while greeting each family member, quest and distant relative. She made me feel welcomed, even when many years had passed between visits. One only needed to look into Sharon’s eyes and reflective smile to notice her sincerity. Truly, Sharon was an Angel.
As we reflect on Sharon’s life-journey let us be reminded of her kindness, positive conversation and guidance she offered to each of us. Peace.

Respectfully Cousin,
Barbara Soboleski, Messenger

Carole King

July 30, 2020

Aunt Sharon is such an integral part of this family - it's hard to imagine it without her. She was so quiet and unassuming, yet her presence always brought a sense of peace. With Sharon, you knew you were loved and cared about beyond a superficial level. She is a soul that runs deep. My best memories are of her and my mom together, whether in person or on the phone. Their conversations ran the gamut from great spiritual depths to downright silly! My mom used to say that Sharon was the sister she never had - mom was an only child. Of course, one of my sweetest memories is from my son's wedding. Like my mom, Sharon was always happiest when surrounded by family. At the rehearsal dinner, Sharon became ill. She was treated and released from the hospital in the early hours of the morning. And yet, she made sure she and Uncle Al were there together with our famiglia for the wedding! That is the epitome of love. I like to picture her with my mom at the heavenly banquet with a deck of cards and sharing margaritas :)


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