Ramona Sharp Shipley passed away peacefully on Valentine’s Day at her home away from home in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Born August 26, 1928, in Slaty Fork, she was the daughter of the late Ivan and Genevieve Orndorff Sharp.
Growing up in Pocahontas County was a rich experience. Family, friends, church and the beauty of the land shaped her early years, and she hung on to those experiences, reminiscing about them throughout her life.
Those reminisces included stories of chores with her brothers, Ralph and Evan, on the Sharp family farm, manning the penny candy counter at her grandfather L. D. Sharp’s Country Store on Route 219, and singing at Slaty Fork Methodist Church where her grandfather led the choir, and her mother, Genevieve, taught Sunday School. She kept in touch with friends from church and Marlinton High School and treasured the letters and calls.
World War II changed the lives of people of Pocahontas County, including the Ivan Sharp family. They moved to Nitro where Ramona graduated from Poca High School (the Poca Dots!), then studied music in Richmond and at Morris Harvey College in Charleston. While singing in the Christ Methodist Church choir in Charleston she met the love of her life, Tom Shipley, an engineer at DuPont. They were married in 1948.
Sons John and Thomas Alan were born in Charleston. The family transferred to Parkersburg where son David was born. Ramona and Tom kept singing together in the First Methodist Church choir, where Ramona was a soprano soloist on Sundays and in the annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah. She supported her sons as den mother for Cub Scout Pack 5 and the community through the Junior League.
Her sons grew, and Ramona earned her teaching certification at Marietta College, followed by many years teaching music in the Marietta, Ohio, schools. As the years went by, she cared for her father and mother, then retired with her husband on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
There must be a saying that “you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Pocahontas County always tugged on Ramona’s heart. She was a life-long subscriber to the Pocahontas Times and supported the local library and the old church. Ramona returned as often as she could to visit family and friends, especially every Memorial Day to pay respect to those at rest in the family cemetery.
As a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, colleague and friend, Ramona Shipley has been a lively presence, enthusiastic and supportive. With her ready smile and warm heart, she has been known to all as someone ready to listen, ready to help, and ready to offer enthusiastic support. She filled our lives with music and kindness.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 69 years, Tom; and brothers, Ralph and Evan.
She will be dearly missed by her sons, John, Thomas Alan and David; John’s wife, Cindy, and David’s wife, Jeri; grandsons Jeremy and Christopher; Christopher’s wife, Jenny; great-grandchildren Connor and Emma; and many nieces and nephews and their families.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 2, 2 p.m. at Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home in Elkridge, Maryland. Family will receive friends from 1 p.m. until time of service.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Slaty Fork United Methodist Church, c/o Tom Shipley, 35101 Seneca Trail, Slaty Fork, WV 26291, or to your local arts and music organizations.