Mary Jo Pierson Sharp, age 87, of Lewisburg and Marlinton, entered into eternal rest on February 5, 2016.
Born on West Virginia Day, June 20, 1928, in Charleston, she was the only child of William Raymond “Squire” and Jessie Geraldine McComb Pierson. Her grandparents were Homer H. and Allie Pierson, who lived in Middle Run, Braxton County, and Alfred B. and Emma McLaughlin McComb, who lived in Huntersville.
Shortly after her first birthday her parents moved to Elkins, where her father became the Superintendent and her mother the Matron of the Odd Fellows Home. Mary Jo lived there amongst 125 children, mostly orphans, and several older adults. The family moved to Huntersville in Pocahontas County in 1933. She attended Huntersville Grade School, Marlinton High School and in 1946 she graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in Charleston.
In 2010 Mary Jo penned the following story of her life: “We’ll begin shortly after graduation. Like everyone at that time who needed cash in their pocket, I applied and was accepted as a clerk at Pryor’s Variety Store (Marlinton). Jane Sharp (of Edray) did likewise, and as neither of us had transportation, we agreed to get a room with Olive Alderman, thanks to Mr. Yeager who lived across the street. So you see, he was still keeping an eye on us.
“Jane pursued other interests, and I worked until 1951 for Dr. John Mallow, who had started a new practice.
Marlinton Postmaster Ed Wagner received a notice for a civil service exam in Elkins for a dental assistant at the new Veterans Hospital in Clarksburg and suggested I try for it. Again, no transportation, which seems odd in this day and age. I was able to get a ride with the Wallace Bread truck, stayed all night with family, took the exam and returned on the bread truck. I passed the examination and was notified to report to work in 30 days. This was the beginning of a very busy life.
“Ended my so-called career and married Bob Sharp in 1952 and moved to Marlinton. Still worked part-time for Dr. Mallow. Had three children, Bobbie Jo, Billy and Caroline.
“Bought and managed the Marlinton Flower Shoppe in 1968, until 1976. Was hostess for the National Youth Science Camp at Bartow for 10 years.
“One of the highlights of my life was the honor of being elected to the office of Worthy Grand Matron, Order of the Eastern Star of W.Va. in 1973, my being the youngest ever elected and a member of the smallest Chapter in the State, Huntersville #120, having only 59 members.
“Many changes and jobs followed. I relocated to Hurricane and went to work for the Department of Mental Health, was in management at Rite Aid, J. C. Penny, Ability Builders, U.S. Army Base Exchange, Charleston West 76 Truck Stop, was state solicitor for the Mountaineer Food Bank at Gassaway. At the same time was taking night classes at Marshall University and had the position of resident manager of Kingsford Townhouse Apts. for 21 years.
“In 1994 I was a member of the graduating class of the University of Hard Knocks at Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi.
“I was presented with the Distinguished West Virginian Award by Governor Cecil Underwood in 1999.
“I relocated to Lewisburg, becoming active in Senior issues. I am presently serving as Chairperson of the Advisory Council of the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services and am Parliamentarian of the Greenbrier County Committee on Aging.
“My peers can’t fathom the fact that I don’t have a cell phone nor the desire for a computer. But the story of my life has been the impossible, so I’ll just keep doing as usual in my remaining years.”
Mary Jo Sharp lived a life of service. She was a member of the P.T.A. and a Choir Director at Marlinton Methodist Church. She was appointed by Gov. W. W. Barron to the Executive Committee of the State Clean-Up Campaign and Chairman of the Pocahontas County Centennial Committee of the 1963 West Virginia Centennial Commission. She was a member of the West Virginia Silver-Haired Legislature and was instrumental in establishing the Elder Abuse Committee in Greenbrier County.
Her spoken prayer at West Virginia Grand Chapter in 1973 closed with these words: Help us to live what we’ve been taught, To do to Others as we ought, And when you’ve come with Thee to dwell May you say “Child, you have done well.”
Left to cherish her memory are her two daughters, Roberta Jo “BJ” Gudmundsson, and husband, Agust, of Marlinton, and Caroline Louise Sharp, of Hillsboro; and her son, James William “Bill” Sharp, and wife, Sheryl, of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Also surviving are grandchildren Heather Fox (Bryan), William Gudmundsson, Julia Gudmundsson, Tyler Sharp (Brittany), Luke Sharp, Shane Sharp and Jessie Sharp; and great-grandchildren Adam Fox, Claire Gudmundsson, Jaxson Sharp and Scarlett Sharp.
A Celebration of Life and Homecoming will be held at the Huntersville United Methodist Church, of which she was a member, on June 19 at 2 p.m.
A Book of Remembrance will include stories and photographs submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 1200 Second Avenue, Marlinton, WV 24954.
Memorial donations may be made to Huntersville United Methodist Church, c/o Bill Daniel, 471 Burr Valley Road, Marlinton WV, 24954
Online condolences may be made at www.lantzfuneralhome.com