Mary Beth Waldrip Sharp was born on November 18, 1934 in Knox City, Texas and was called home by her heavenly Father on May 18, 2023 in Grapevine, Texas. A service celebrating her life will be held at St. James United Methodist Church in Abilene on Friday, June 9th at 10:00. Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 8th from 5-7 PM at Elmwood Funeral Home and Memorial Park.
Mary Beth was the daughter of Lloyd and Aleene Waldrip and spent her childhood and adolescent years in Knox City. As a high school student, she was a drummer in the marching band, a member of the volleyball team and worked behind the soda fountain counter at Hoge's Pharmacy. It was at this pharmacy in 1952 that she met A.C. Sharp, who was in town visiting cousins and grandparents. Their meeting would eventually result in a sixty-seven-year marriage.
After graduating from Knox City High School in 1953, Mary Beth attended North Texas State University for one semester and then transferred to McMurry College. While a student at McMurry, she was a member of the Chanters and Kappa Phi social club. She married A.C. in the spring of 1955, and the next fall they enrolled in Texas A & I University in Kingsville where Mary Beth eventually obtained a BS degree in Elementary Education.
She taught school for one year in Arlington and two years in Bryan before becoming a stay-at home mom to her three children. In 1971, after she and A.C had moved back to Abilene, she returned to the classroom as a fifth-grade teacher in the Eula school system. She taught for ten years there before leaving with A.C. on his one-year Fulbright teaching stint in Monrovia, Liberia. After their return to the states, she resumed at Eula and taught first grade for seventeen years. She retired in 1997 after thirty years in the classroom.
Throughout the years in Abilene, she was an active member of St. James United Methodist Church, serving as a member of various committees, president of United Methodist Women, and a member of the choir.
Because of her and A.C.'s love for all things McMurry, Mary Beth was an unwavering supporter of McMurry athletics throughout the years. She and A.C. attended countless football, basketball, and volleyball games and even had their own reserved seats in the Hunt P.E Center for many of those years. She was an active member of McMurry Women's Club at one time and even served as an officer.
When Mary Beth retired from public school teaching, she became an active member of the Abilene Founder Lion's Club. She served the club for years as secretary and at one point was president. Her and A.C.'s joint involvement in Lion's Club became the foundation for many close friendships with other Lions across the state. They derived much joy from serving their community in this way.
Mary Beth, again alongside A.C., became a faithful supporter of the Big Country Chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She would bake chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis and take them to the local FCA office, where they would be delivered to coaches across the region by FCA Regional Director Steve Keenum. Mary Beth soon became known as the "Cookie Lady" among this crowd and she loved that nickname almost as much as she loved baking her famous chocolate chip cookies.
Mary Beth loved to travel and take pictures. One of her favorite things to do was pull out slides from old family trips and reminisce about past vacations and historic landmarks. She often used the slides to teach about U.S. history and geography to her fifth-graders at Eula. She was always up for an adventure if it involved travel and in the early days of their marriage, she and A.C. would pack up the kids and pull the pop-up camper across the U.S. In their retirement years they traveled out of the country on several occasions.
Mary Beth truly had a servant's heart and gave countless hours to many professional and volunteer endeavors; however, her greatest joy was living alongside the love of her life, A.C. and enjoying time spent with her children and grandchildren.
Mary Beth was preceded in death by her husband of sixty- seven years, A.C.; her parents, Lloyd and Aleene Waldrip, and an infant son, Bruce Mac Sharp. She is survived by children Trendy and husband Larry Beam of Duncan, OK, Mark and wife Lisa Sharp of Southlake, and Susie and husband Mike Goff of Grapevine; sister, Martha Kay Welch of Crowell, sisters-in- law, Barbara Gray Williams and Jane Sharp of Granbury, Nell Sharp of Houston, eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews.
Memorials can be made to McMurry University, the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville, and St. James United Methodist Church in Abilene.
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