John Garvie Sharp, Jr. was born on March 10, 1930 in Memphis, Tennessee, as the surviving firstborn twin son to John G. Sharp and Mary Williams Sharp. John passed away on Sunday, September 6, 2020 at Hermitage Manor in Owensboro, Kentucky.
John’s early years were spent at the old “Hotel Owensboro” where his father managed the facility. His best friend was Jack, an older boy, an African American who helped him sneak stray pets into the Sharp family living quarters! Consequently, John’s love of animals took shape.
In high school, at Garden City High School on Long Island, New York, John was voted the most handsome in his high school graduating class of 1948. He was also voted the best dancer and was noted in the yearbook as “Southern gentleman,” which was a distinction that guided him his entire life. With his broad shoulders, and distinctive looks, John became an Arrow Shirt model.
John enjoyed a warm friendship with legendary golfer Ben Hogan. Golf, of course, was his game and he attended Washington & Lee University, where he majored in Randolph Macon coeds. As a result, he was not invited back to Washington & Lee, after his freshman year. Back in New York, John began to find himself, with his best Barry Sparling! John and Barry built a boat, and John joined the U. S. Air Force Reserves. In the Reserves, during the Korean War, John served as an assistant to General Arthur McCullough.
John visited the wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Hospital, and it broke his heart. He became an ally and supporter of men and women with disabilities. Later, he received his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Business Administration from Hofstra University, also located on Long Island, New York. John moved on to Texas, the Lone Star State, and it seemed quite appropriate. John became the chief assistant to General Dynamics CEO, Henry Jones in Ft Worth, Texas.
John became a champion of women in the workplace, as his division of General Dynamics employed more than 400 women. During those early years, at General Dynamics, John was known as a “confirmed bachelor” and, consequently, was often called on to travel at a moment’s notice.
In John’s Owensboro home, atop his bookcase, sits F16 replicas, donated to him by Henry Jones. Jones was grateful for John’s work in the production of the airplane by General Dynamics, now Lockheed Martin. By this time, of course, the displaced New Yorker had fallen in love with Texas. He was a true Texan. John was one of those rare souls who survived the Texas heat with little trouble. In fact, he loved it. John joined his oil & gas partner, Jimmy Nash, in forming Pan Petroleum in the early 1980’s. As usual, John learned virtually everything about the business, above and below the ground.
John’s parents relocated from Garden City back to Owensboro in 1965. As they started aging, feeling the responsibility only fully understood by an only child, John decided he would need to join them in Owensboro. John bore that responsibility to his parents with grace and honor. During that time he met a bright young man from Union County, Jimmy Baird, an FFA member who had big dreams. He needed a special mentor and John certainly filled the bill.
That alliance evolved into a prosperous meat producing business, Union County Livestock, Inc. and Jim David Meats. During his 30 year residence in Ft. Worth, John became a 32nd degree Mason, and helped fund the college educations of twelve young men who resided in the Masonic Home. Those young men never learned the identity of their generous donor.
As a child, John Sharp, Jr. had been a stutterer. He heard the snickers of other kids, as he struggled with the speech impediment, and would often read from the dictionary at night. John had to find “his way” to pronounce the words, without stuttering. He was true to himself in every way.
In 1985, John met Sharon Bostick. John loved to tell the story of how Sharon used to ride her bike to work, “while donning a red peasant blouse, shorts, sandals and briefcase” and how she “just happened” to wreck her bicycle right in front of his home. Naturally, John’s “Southern gentleman” charm, his expansive vocabulary, and his dedication to being a “maverick” appealed to his future bride of 30 years, Sharon Bostick Sharp. John and Sharon Sharp were married in Cross Plains, Texas, in 1990, in a ceremony officiated by Brother Michael Hale.
John had an innate ability to see the talents of those who struggled to recognize their own strengths. He listened, he encouraged, but, most of all, he nurtured the best parts of those men and women he knew and loved.
Will John be missed, you ask, what would you think? John Garvie Sharp, Jr. was a prince of a man, in every sense of the word.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon Bostick Sharp; stepdaughters Tina Taylor (Evansville), and Jane G. Pratt (Randy) Cincinnati; sisters-in-law, Cynthia Georgeson (John) Racine, Linda Lamble (Steve) Philpot, and Brenda McEnroe (Terry) Owensboro; brother-in-law, Roger K Bostick, Cincinnati; two granddaughters, Leanne and Michelle; one grandson, Andrew; several nieces and nephews; his special protege Jimmy Baird (Linda); former partner, David Simmons (Connie); and his special five kitties.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John G. Sharp, Mary Williams Sharp, his aunt, Annie B. Williams and his stepson, Jonathan Bostick Fisher.
Our family is grateful for the loving care our John received at Hermitage Manor. John was a member of Peace Lutheran Church, Owensboro. Condolences, John emphasized beforehand, should be in the form of everyone getting registered to vote, and on November 3, voting to unite our nation.
A celebration of John’s life will be held later, following the release of a tested and true Covid-19 vaccine. James H. Davis Funeral Home & Crematory is in charge of arrangements.