Grace Virginia Williams Sharpenberg, age 90, of Beckley, was taken by the hand of the Lord to be in a kinder, gentler place Thursday, February 25, 2016.
Born November 20, 1925, in Marlinton, she was a daughter of the late Rose Poage and E.H. Williams.
Grace was a 1943 graduate of Marlinton High School, and graduated in 1947 from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics and a Science Minor. At WVU, she was vice-president of the Pan Hellenic Council and a member of the Delta Gamma Sorority, who saluted her in 2015 for her 70th year.
She married her husband, Warren D. Sharpenberg, on August 26, 1947. Warren, a Veteran of World War II and a new engineering student at WVU, met Grace in 1946 at the WVU Delta Gamma Sorority house to take her to a military ball. Grace recalled walking down the staircase in her long gown and elbow length gloves noting that this handsome man dressed in his Army Captain uniform was the one whom she would marry.
Warren and Grace lived many places due to Warren’s career; first settling in Wheeling, then Morgantown, next Illinois, then Kentucky, then back to Wheeling and settling permanently in Beckley. They had a wonderful marriage of 58 years, enjoying travel around the country and world, family and friends and always laughter. Through all these moves, Grace belonged to the Presbyterian Church. She worked as a volunteer in the church, holding many positions in the Presbytery. She was on the Board of Directors of Davis Stuart, and was a Cub Scout Leader, 4-H Leader, Bible School teacher, a member of the Morgantown Service League and an avid Bridge player, working toward her Master’s in Bridge. She helped start the WAAIME (Woman Auxiliary of the American Institute of Mining Engineers) in southern West Virginia that provides scholarships to future engineering students.
On her 90th birthday, her chruch membership was moved home to the Marlinton Presbyterian Church.
A devoted reader, Grace read to her children as they grew and to her husband when he had macular degeneration. She founded the Beckley Book Club in 1975, which is still active today. She helped her daughter, Margaret Ann Sharpenberg Bays, found and fund the “Books for Babies Fund” in the Beckley Area Foundation. She enjoyed Bible study, the great books and was a great believer in education. A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, both she and Warren came from families who helped establish the United States before 1776. Yet, she understood and respected new immigrants who came to our country.
She believed in visitation of the elderly, and with a partner, would regularly visit shut-ins. She sat on streets in Wheeling signing up new voters, and she drove women, who needed help, to the Women’s Resource Center in Beckley. She was honored in “Who’s Who of Southern Women” for several years due to her many activities of volunteering to help others. She charmed life and life charmed her. It was said in her high school annual that she “would be asking questions at St. Peter’s door.”
After Warren’s passing, Grace established a privately-funded scholarship for students who wish to attend engineering school at WVU. The Warren D. and Grace W. Sharpenberg Scholarship is held with the West Virginia University Foundation, Inc. In addition, a scholarship was set up for the youth of the Beckley Presbyterian Church under Warren D., Paul R. and Thomas Sharpenberg Fund through the Beckley Area Foundation, Inc.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Warren D. Sharpenberg in 2005; a sister, Thelma Weber; a brother, Moffett Williams; two sons, Paul R. Sharpenberg in 2000 and Thomas E. Sharpenberg in 2014; and a young daughter, Jane Lee Sharpenberg in 1956.
She is survived by her daughter, Margaret Ann Bays, and husband, Jerry; nieces and nephews, their spouses and children, who live throughout the United States and world.
In celebration Grace’s life, a memorial service will be held March 3, 2:30 p.m. at the Marlinton Presbyterian Church, where Grace was a member. A graveside service with bagpiper will follow in the Williams section of Mountain View Cemetery with Rev. Beth Stone, Minister of the Mt. Hope and Bradley Presbyterian Chur-ches and Rev. John C. McKinnon, Pastor of the Beckley Presbyterian Church. Lunch, provided by the Women of the Presbyterian Church, will be held following the service.
A visitation will be held March 5, from noon to 2 p.m at the social hall of Beckley Presbyterian Church for all in the community who loved Grace. Lunch will be catered and bagpipes will be played.
Grace, whose soul is already in God’s hands, had met her husband, Warren in their place in Heaven. She will be dressed in a long dress and elbow length
gloves to meet the love of her life, who will take her in his arms wearing a tuxedo as they dance into the arms of Jesus.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you forgive someone or do a kind deed. If you desire to make a donation in Grace’s memory, you may do so to the Beckley Area Foundation Youth, in memory of her sons, Paul R. and Thomas E. and her husband, Warren D. Sharpenberg; or you may make donations to a charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be made at www.roseandquesenberry.net