• Mary Sharp
  • 85 years old
  • Lived in Philadelphia
  • She served in the Elks club for 40 years, and loved jigsaw puzzles

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Mary Sharp didn’t do much of anything halfway.

She not only danced, she took lessons and cut the rug more than anybody they knew. “We’d always talk about how nobody could keep up with her,” said daughter Althea Willis.

She not only believed in decency and accountability, she made sure her children, Althea and Tyrone, were exposed to those notions, too. “When she put her foot down, you paid attention,” Althea said.

And she not only joined the Elks organization to help others, she became a leader of her local Elks groups in Cambridge, Md., and Philadelphia.

Mrs. Sharp, 85, died Thursday, April 23, at Chestnut Hill Hospital of COVID-19.

Born in Norristown, Mrs. Sharp grew up in Cambridge, the oldest of five girls. She married Fleetwood Henry in 1956, and Althea and son Tyrone were born. Her husband was in the Air Force, so the family lived in San Antonio, Texas, and Tachikawa, Japan, for a while.

The family returned to Cambridge in 1967, and Mrs. Sharp worked and was active at Union Chapel A.M.E. Church and in the Sunrise Singers choir.

After a divorce, Mrs. Sharp married Frederick Sharp in 1972, and moved to Philadelphia. She worked at Sears on Roosevelt Boulevard for more than 25 years, at a PNC Bank day-care center, and at First Fidelity Bank as a telephone operator. She was active and popular at Old Macedonia First John Memorial Baptist Church.

But her first love was always dancing.

“Her favorite dance was the line dance,” her daughter said. “She was dancing two weeks before she died.”

Mrs. Sharp enjoyed sewing, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, and traveling. The family celebrated her 85th birthday on Feb. 16 with a cruise to the Bahamas. “She was a wonderful person,” her daughter said. “She loved people, period.”

In addition to her daughter and son, Mrs. Sharp is survived by two sisters, five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, and other family members. Her husband and former husband died earlier.

– Gary Miles, gmiles@inquirer.com