Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Theodore Carlton Sharpe, Colonel, USAF (Retired)July 13, 1938 – February 10, 2007
Theodore Carlton Sharpe, 68, passed away peacefully in his home Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007. He was born July 13, 1938, to George and Ruth Sharpe in Montclair, N.J.
During high school, he enjoyed playing the string bass in a local band and worked summers for the Minwax Company. After graduating from Little Falls High School, he earned a B.S. in sociology from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., in 1960. During this time, he played on both the varsity football and lacrosse teams. He was in the ROTC program and entered the Air Force upon graduation. He married Carole Jean Stiffler on Sept. 10, 1960, and they raised two children together, Julie and Ted. They were married for 22 years.
His first Air Force assignment was with the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) in New York City. He then spent several years in pilot training schools at bases throughout the U.S, completing his B-52 training in Texas and helicopter training in Florida. From 1968 to 1969, he served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter gunship pilot, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross on three occasions and the Air Medal. Returning from Vietnam, he was stationed in North Dakota, where he continued to fly B-52’s for several more years as a Reserve officer. He returned to college and earned a master’s degree in political science from University of North Dakota.
He also became interested in operating rental properties. In 1974, the family moved to Moscow, Idaho, where Ted began a Ph.D. program and taught political science at the UI. At the same time, he worked as a part-time counselor for the Small Business Administration, through the SBDC at WSU. In partnership with Carole, he owned numerous apartment rentals in the area. In 1983, he started Campus Link, Inc., a van service to the Spokane Airport, which he sold in 1994. He also operated a petroleum distribution business, Sharpe Oil Corp., from 1985 until 1999.
Although he retired in 1988 from the Air Force Reserves as a Colonel, he stayed in touch with his military friends and attended reunions whenever possible. Ted traveled widely, and made it a priority to visit his relatives on the East Coast throughout his life. This past fall he was able to visit his cousins in Florida and New Jersey, and attend his 50th high school reunion, on a three-week train trip. He was also an avid private pilot, and had spent the past five years building his dream plane, a Stoddard-Hamilton Glassair. He loved musicals, especially Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and performed in several community theater productions. He loved to tell stories, and could often be found solving the world’s problems over coffee with the “boys” at the former Nobby Inn or the Best Western. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, his close friend and neighbor, Florence Heffron, and his faithful dog, Buddy.
He is survived by his former wife, Carole, of Glacier, Wash.; daughter, Julie and her husband, Chris Anderson, of Port Orchard, Wash.; son, Ted and wife, Kristi, of Clarkston, Wash.; five grandchildren, Nathan and McKenna Anderson, Riley Hughes, and Madelyn and Mason Sharpe; and cousins, Herb Dougherty of East Hanover, N.J., Kathy Bagwell of Churchville, Pa., Brent Smith of Clifton, N.J., Beverly Ryerson of Gainesville, Fla., and Bonnie Leslie of Vineland, N.J. Cremation has taken place.
Donations may be made in his name to the Boy Scouts of America or the Salvation Army. An open house will be held in his memory at the Best Western University Inn on Sunday, Feb. 18, from 2-4 p.m. Refreshments will be served and any remembrances, anecdotes, or stories will be welcomed.