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Elisabeth A. S. Sharp Dead at 78

July 30, 2008 – On Saturday, July 26, Elisabeth Ann Swinson Sharp died after a long illness of cancer. She died at home with her family at her bedside. She was 78 years old.
She lived a full and extraordinary life. She was born on St. Thomas, December 11, 1929 to the Rev. John Arthur Swinson and Gracia Minnie Schlie. Her father was priest at All Saints Episcopal Church from 1927 to 1953, canon of the Cathedral, vicar general and archdeacon of the Virgin Islands. He was also the founder of All Saints School. Elisabeth was one of seven children raised on Blackbeard's Hill at the church Rectory, now known as Villa Notman.
She found her true love in Theodore Elting Sharp when he served on St. Thomas as an officer in the U.S. Navy in charge of supplies at Sub base in the 1940s. They were married at All Saints on April 21, 1945, when she was only 15 years old.
She is survived by three of her four children: Dr. Susan G.S. Anderson and her husband, Daniel H. Llewellyn; Jacqueline L. Sharp; and William E. Sharp and his wife, Joyce Ching. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Eric G. Anderson and wife, JoAnna Hite; Marcotte S. Anderson and wife, Caroline Que; M. Elisabeth W. Anderson and husband, Rob Upson; and by her great-grandchildren: Patrick T. Anderson, Hannah G. Anderson, Aiden C. Anderson and Ethan L. Anderson. She is also survived by her siblings: Mary Gracia Hall and husband, John Hall; Grace Martin and husband, George Martin; and James K. Swinson.
Growing up on St. Thomas in the 1930s and 1940s was filled with experiences unique to the islands: waiting for missionary barrels to come in with a doll or dress, avoiding tarantulas inside the house and out, storms/hurricanes, mass every Sunday at All Saints, visits with the parishioners with her father, and schooling by her mother at home.
During the war her mother took the children to Oakland, Calif. Elisabeth, bored with the public schools, followed her older sister, Jane, back to St. Thomas to open a dress and gift shop on Back Street. She first met her true love, Theodore Sharp, while walking to Lindbergh Beach across the airfield. Theodore and another officer stopped their jeep to tell Elisabeth and her friend that they couldn't be on the field. Of course Elisabeth and her friend had crossed the field precisely because they knew that officers would drive over and tell them exactly that! Later she serendipitously answered his call to the Rectory and ended up dating him. Her wedding at All Saints was "a grand military affair that was so glorious," said All Saints organist Addelita Cancryn before she died. The wedding reception was at Bluebeard's Castle Hotel, one of the only three locations for such affairs at the time (Hotel 1829 and the Grand Hotel being the other two.)
After living in St. Thomas for a few years following her marriage, they relocated around the United States (and other territories) sent by Theodore's Navy assignments. The family settled in Toluca Lake, California in 1956. Elisabeth was an independent woman, who raised her four children while attending UCLA studying languages, math and science. She was a free thinker who believed in the power of a good education whether from a teacher, book, experience, or from God. She traveled extensively, including taking her children on a freighter to live in Switzerland when Theodore was at sea with the Navy. She inspired her children with road trips across the Alps and visits around Europe. She was a passionate women's liberationist, urging her daughters to do the most and be the best they could be at overcoming gender prejudice.
As a result of her interest in genealogy, she opened Sharp Copy Service in Los Angeles. Its services were well used to copy the records that she needed to do her genealogy. The shop expanded into a new and used bookstore, specializing in New Age and spiritual books.
Elisabeth was interested in the spiritual life and higher consciousness. She read and studied all the religions and found serenity in knowing that all religions believe in the same values: love, goodness and kindness. She studied the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda and others. She sometimes rose in the wee hours of the morning to meditate for up to three hours. Even with this understanding of spiritual oneness, during her illness she returned to her Christian roots, enjoying the chance to go to church or having communion brought to her at home.
She had a generous heart, opening her home to friends and family who were without a place to live. Her immediate family never knew who would be there when they came home. She loved a house full of people and activity. She loved the Swinson family get-togethers that ballooned in size as the original eight Swinson siblings transformed into over 35 cousins and their many children, many of whom were beneficiaries of her generosity.
She and her husband moved back to St. Thomas permanently in 1994, living at Cowpet Bay West in Estate Nazareth. She was a member of the Yacht Club, the St. Thomas Historical Trust and an ardent member of the St. Thomas Bridge Club. A woman of many interests, she developed her bridge acumen early. Through the years she was a weekly bridge player, a hobby that waned in the later years. However, after Theodore died, she started up again on a regular basis. She and her good friend and bridge partner, Gwen Sharp, monopolized the winner's circle. They traveled on bridge cruises and became a nearly unbeatable team. Her goal was to be a Life Master, and she had all her Gold and Red points, which were the hardest to get, but she still needed her Silver and Black points.
She enjoyed the immense camaraderie of St. Thomas life. She was most comforted by the generosity and goodness of the local people she saw everyday. Whether she was at home, at the Cancer Center, the Bridge Club, the Caribbean Genealogy Library or the Yacht Club, the grocery store or the gas station, she loved the people and life in St. Thomas. She believed in supporting and preserving the history of the Virgin Islands. She loved antiques, and was a regular purchaser at the annual St. Thomas Synagogue Auction. Throughout her life she believed in the immense importance of furniture, architecture, art, books and records.
When Theodore died in 1997, Elisabeth set up a scholarship in his name through the Community Foundation of the V.I. With many donations to the fund, a scholarship for college is given out each year to a V.I. high school graduate who demonstrates a history and passion for community service. Elisabeth continued to support Theodore's and her own belief in education as the groundwork for one's future.
She was a historian and researcher. She was most proud of her accomplishments in starting two genealogy libraries: The Immigrant Genealogy Library in North Hollywood, California, and The Caribbean Genealogy Library in St. Thomas. Genealogy was a large part of her life as an expert in German family research. She had a passion for it that infected many.
Elisabeth was a true individual. She supported. She believed. She loved.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands designated for ongoing support of the Caribbean Genealogy Library. For ease in reference, CFVI's contact information is:
Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands
P.O. Box 11790
St. Thomas, VI 00801-1790
340-774-6031
www.cfvi.net
The funeral will be held at 10 a.m., on Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, on Garden Street.

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July 30, 2008 - On Saturday, July 26, Elisabeth Ann Swinson Sharp died after a long illness of cancer. She died at home with her family at her bedside. She was 78 years old.
She lived a full and extraordinary life. She was born on St. Thomas, December 11, 1929 to the Rev. John Arthur Swinson and Gracia Minnie Schlie. Her father was priest at All Saints Episcopal Church from 1927 to 1953, canon of the Cathedral, vicar general and archdeacon of the Virgin Islands. He was also the founder of All Saints School. Elisabeth was one of seven children raised on Blackbeard's Hill at the church Rectory, now known as Villa Notman.
She found her true love in Theodore Elting Sharp when he served on St. Thomas as an officer in the U.S. Navy in charge of supplies at Sub base in the 1940s. They were married at All Saints on April 21, 1945, when she was only 15 years old.
She is survived by three of her four children: Dr. Susan G.S. Anderson and her husband, Daniel H. Llewellyn; Jacqueline L. Sharp; and William E. Sharp and his wife, Joyce Ching. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Eric G. Anderson and wife, JoAnna Hite; Marcotte S. Anderson and wife, Caroline Que; M. Elisabeth W. Anderson and husband, Rob Upson; and by her great-grandchildren: Patrick T. Anderson, Hannah G. Anderson, Aiden C. Anderson and Ethan L. Anderson. She is also survived by her siblings: Mary Gracia Hall and husband, John Hall; Grace Martin and husband, George Martin; and James K. Swinson.
Growing up on St. Thomas in the 1930s and 1940s was filled with experiences unique to the islands: waiting for missionary barrels to come in with a doll or dress, avoiding tarantulas inside the house and out, storms/hurricanes, mass every Sunday at All Saints, visits with the parishioners with her father, and schooling by her mother at home.
During the war her mother took the children to Oakland, Calif. Elisabeth, bored with the public schools, followed her older sister, Jane, back to St. Thomas to open a dress and gift shop on Back Street. She first met her true love, Theodore Sharp, while walking to Lindbergh Beach across the airfield. Theodore and another officer stopped their jeep to tell Elisabeth and her friend that they couldn't be on the field. Of course Elisabeth and her friend had crossed the field precisely because they knew that officers would drive over and tell them exactly that! Later she serendipitously answered his call to the Rectory and ended up dating him. Her wedding at All Saints was "a grand military affair that was so glorious," said All Saints organist Addelita Cancryn before she died. The wedding reception was at Bluebeard's Castle Hotel, one of the only three locations for such affairs at the time (Hotel 1829 and the Grand Hotel being the other two.)
After living in St. Thomas for a few years following her marriage, they relocated around the United States (and other territories) sent by Theodore's Navy assignments. The family settled in Toluca Lake, California in 1956. Elisabeth was an independent woman, who raised her four children while attending UCLA studying languages, math and science. She was a free thinker who believed in the power of a good education whether from a teacher, book, experience, or from God. She traveled extensively, including taking her children on a freighter to live in Switzerland when Theodore was at sea with the Navy. She inspired her children with road trips across the Alps and visits around Europe. She was a passionate women's liberationist, urging her daughters to do the most and be the best they could be at overcoming gender prejudice.
As a result of her interest in genealogy, she opened Sharp Copy Service in Los Angeles. Its services were well used to copy the records that she needed to do her genealogy. The shop expanded into a new and used bookstore, specializing in New Age and spiritual books.
Elisabeth was interested in the spiritual life and higher consciousness. She read and studied all the religions and found serenity in knowing that all religions believe in the same values: love, goodness and kindness. She studied the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda and others. She sometimes rose in the wee hours of the morning to meditate for up to three hours. Even with this understanding of spiritual oneness, during her illness she returned to her Christian roots, enjoying the chance to go to church or having communion brought to her at home.
She had a generous heart, opening her home to friends and family who were without a place to live. Her immediate family never knew who would be there when they came home. She loved a house full of people and activity. She loved the Swinson family get-togethers that ballooned in size as the original eight Swinson siblings transformed into over 35 cousins and their many children, many of whom were beneficiaries of her generosity.
She and her husband moved back to St. Thomas permanently in 1994, living at Cowpet Bay West in Estate Nazareth. She was a member of the Yacht Club, the St. Thomas Historical Trust and an ardent member of the St. Thomas Bridge Club. A woman of many interests, she developed her bridge acumen early. Through the years she was a weekly bridge player, a hobby that waned in the later years. However, after Theodore died, she started up again on a regular basis. She and her good friend and bridge partner, Gwen Sharp, monopolized the winner's circle. They traveled on bridge cruises and became a nearly unbeatable team. Her goal was to be a Life Master, and she had all her Gold and Red points, which were the hardest to get, but she still needed her Silver and Black points.
She enjoyed the immense camaraderie of St. Thomas life. She was most comforted by the generosity and goodness of the local people she saw everyday. Whether she was at home, at the Cancer Center, the Bridge Club, the Caribbean Genealogy Library or the Yacht Club, the grocery store or the gas station, she loved the people and life in St. Thomas. She believed in supporting and preserving the history of the Virgin Islands. She loved antiques, and was a regular purchaser at the annual St. Thomas Synagogue Auction. Throughout her life she believed in the immense importance of furniture, architecture, art, books and records.
When Theodore died in 1997, Elisabeth set up a scholarship in his name through the Community Foundation of the V.I. With many donations to the fund, a scholarship for college is given out each year to a V.I. high school graduate who demonstrates a history and passion for community service. Elisabeth continued to support Theodore's and her own belief in education as the groundwork for one's future.
She was a historian and researcher. She was most proud of her accomplishments in starting two genealogy libraries: The Immigrant Genealogy Library in North Hollywood, California, and The Caribbean Genealogy Library in St. Thomas. Genealogy was a large part of her life as an expert in German family research. She had a passion for it that infected many.
Elisabeth was a true individual. She supported. She believed. She loved.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands designated for ongoing support of the Caribbean Genealogy Library. For ease in reference, CFVI's contact information is:
Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands
P.O. Box 11790
St. Thomas, VI 00801-1790
340-774-6031
www.cfvi.net
The funeral will be held at 10 a.m., on Saturday, Aug. 2, at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, on Garden Street.