Cover photo for Arthur Sharp's Obituary
1932 Arthur 2022

Arthur Sharp

July 16, 1932 — December 10, 2022

A.C. Sharp was born on July 16, 1932 in Lorenzo, TX and was called home by his heavenly Father on December 10th in Abilene, TX. He was the son of Arthur C. Sharp and Ellen Denton Sharp and grew up on a farm between Dickens and Spur, TX. He graduated from Spur High School in 1949 and attended McMurry College for three years before being drafted into the United States Army. After spending two years in Korea, he returned to McMurry, hoping to finish his college degree. While at McMurry but before being drafted, he met the love of his life, Mary Beth Waldrip from Knox City and they married in April 1955 after he had returned from his stint in the army.
In August of 1955, he and Mary Beth moved to Kingsville, TX to continue their education at Texas A & I University where A.C. graduated with a Bachelor's degree in physics in May of 1957 and a Master's Degree in physics in May of 1958. After teaching for several years at what was then Arlington State University, he enrolled in graduate school at Texas A & M in College Station and completed his Ph.D. in physics.
After a short teaching stint in Denton at Texas Women's University, he and Mary Beth returned to Abilene in 1965 where he began a long and fulfilling career as part of the faculty of McMurry College.
While at McMurry, A.C. not only taught physics and occasionally math and astronomy, but was also involved in many other aspects of campus life. For several years he traveled with students as a sponsor on Christian Outreach mission trips. He served as the Faculty Athletic Representative, was interim- president of the Lone Star Conference, and served on the NAIA National Ethics panel for several years. He also spent years running the time clock at McM basketball and football games. He was a faculty sponsor for Makona Men's social club, Alpha Psi Omega service fraternity, and Sigma Pi Sigma (the Society of Physics Students). Often he and Mary Beth would host college students in their backyard, complete with hamburgers, chocolate chip cookies, and sometimes a telescope for stargazing if they were hosting the Astronomy Club. For years he played basketball every day at noon with several of his faculty colleagues, and later transitioned to playing tennis with the same group. For several summers, A.C. was involved in conducting research for the National Science Foundation and worked at Iowa State University, the University of Texas, and NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. He served as a visiting scientist for the Texas Academy of Science, and was listed in American Men of Science: Who's Who in the South and Southwest.
A.C. served as the Grand Marshall at McMurry graduations for several years, was recognized as an Outstanding Faculty member in 1997, was inducted into the McMurry Athletic Hall of Honor and was later elected by the University's Science and Math Advisory Board as a member of McMurry's Science and Math Wall of Honor. In 2018, he was honored by the establishment of the Dr. A.C. Sharp Endowed Scholarship made possible by an anonymous donor and made available to eligible students.

In 1981, A.C. was selected as a Fullbright Professor and was given the opportunity to teach in Monrovia, Liberia at the University of Liberia for a year, an experience that was cut short due to an unexpected health diagnosis. He returned to McMurry earlier than expected but had many amazing stories to share about his experience in Liberia.
He retired in 1999 after 34 years at McMurry. In 2002 he went back to work and taught math for four years at TSTC, Texas State Technological College, in Abilene until finally retiring as an educator in 2008.
A.C was active in the Abilene Founder Lions Club for many years, where he held every office except secretary/treasurer and was twice president. He served as Zone Chairman, Region Chairman, Deputy District Governor, and District Governor of District 2E-1. He and Mary Beth traveled abroad more than once to the International Lions Club Convention and were longtime supporters of the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, TX. A.C. was heavily involved in the creation of the McMurry Charitable Football game, a Lion's Club fundraiser which raised thousands of dollars that went directly to the Lions Camp. During his time as an active Lion, he was named Lion of the Year twice, had 35 years of Perfect Attendance, and was named a Melvin Jones Fellow and Jack Wiech Fellow. In June of 2017, A.C. and Mary Beth were recognized by the Abilene Founder Lions Club at its Centennial Celebration as Lions of the Century for their many years of devoted service to their community and to Lionism.
He was not only active in Lion's Club, but served his community in many other capacities as well. For eight years he was the director of the Region XIV Science Fair, a volunteer for Boy Scout Troop 258, and a five + gallon blood donor through the Meek Blood Bank in Abilene. He was a six-year volunteer with the West Texas Rehab Telethon, a member and sergeant in the Texas State Guard, and at one time was on the AISD textbook selection committee.
A.C. was a man of many and varied interests; he loved life and many different types of activities. He was a hunter and spent many special times in the deer blind with his son, Mark. He loved camping and travel and made sure his children saw as much of the U.S. as possible. In his spare time, A.C. was a football referee for many years on Friday nights in area small towns. Like his mother, Ellen, he was an artist and he loved spending time in the art studio at McMurry studying with various art professors. His preferred medium was chalk pastels, and out of this passion for art came several lovely pieces. He loved to read and could often be found reading Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour, and when not reading, working crossword puzzles.
In his later years, he volunteered as a docent at the Grace Museum, served as a volunteer at Hendrick Medical Center, and along with Mary Beth, served the McMurry Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter by providing refreshments at monthly meetings. He was a faithful supporter of all McM athletics and even after retiring from teaching and from keeping the score clock, he and Mary Beth were season ticket holders for McMurry basketball games, and attended football and volleyball games when they could.
He was an active member of St. James United Methodist Church, serving on various committees through the years. A.C. was a man who lived his faith. His mantra was "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." He loved people and was kind, compassionate and generous to a fault. He was soft-spoken, slow to anger, and had a dry and endearing sense of humor. Those who knew him loved him well.
A.C. loved his family and seemed to always be a favorite with the nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Ellen Sharp, a brother, Jim Sharp, and an infant son, Bruce Mac Sharp. He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Mary Beth, of Abilene; three children, Trendy and husband Larry Beam of Duncan, OK, Mark and wife Lisa of Southlake, TX, and Susie and husband Mike Goff of Grapevine, TX, two sisters, Jane Sharp and Barbara Gray-Williams of Granbury, TX, sisters-in-law Nell Sharp of Santa Fe, TX and Martha Kay Welch of Crowell, TX, eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews.
Memorials can be made to the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, TX.

Visitation will be 6:00 - 8:00 PM, Friday, December 16, 2022, at Elmwood Funeral Home, 5750 HWY 277 South. Funeral Service will be 10:00 AM, Saturday, December 17, 2022, at St. James United Methodist Church 3100 Barrow St. Abilene, Texas. Interment will follow the service at Elmwood Memorial Park.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, December 16, 2022

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. James United Methodist Church

3100 Barrow St, Abilene, TX 79605

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