Melvin G. Sharpe
Friday, March 07, 2014 9:00 PM
Melvin G. Sharpe, 90, a lifetime resident of Peshtigo, Wis., died unexpectedly, late Thursday evening, at the home of his daughter and son-in-law. Mel was born August 21, 1923, at the family home in Peshtigo.
He attended Peshtigo Grade School, Roosevelt School in the Town of Grover, and was a 1941 graduate of Peshtigo High School. Dad was the voice of reason and common sense. He was always fair, and looked for a compromise whenever possible. That being said, he was a man of strong conviction. He started his work career at a young age, taking his wagon into town and selling the beer his father made in an upstairs still to local establishments. He did the same with the vegetables from his mother's garden, and would reward himself with a 5 cent twinkie. He took his responsibilities seriously, and, like mom, often worked two or three jobs to support our large family. He co-owned and operated, with his brother Bud, "Sharpe's Bar", in Peshtigo. He worked nights at the bar, and days supervising the Water and Sewer Department. He was later named Director of Public Works for the City of Peshtigo. He was the 5th person in the state licensed as a Certified Sewage Treatment Plant Operator. For two years he established a successful insurance sales business for Prudential, a position he held until he was named City Clerk/Treasurer for the City of Peshtigo. During his time as City Clerk he might have been overheard saying, "I'm going to the bank." Only Shirley and Betty knew "the bank" meant the bank of a good trout fishing creek. He was especially proud of the work he did for the City of Peshtigo, and in retirement, his work as a Marinette County Supervisor. He was currently a member of and a former vice-chairman of the Highway Committee.
He looked forward to and enjoyed traveling through the county to assess the county roads. He also served on the Finance, Personnel and Library committees during his tenure on the Board, and had recently filed his papers for another two-year term. Dad was a veteran of World War II (1943-1945) serving in the North African and European Campaigns (Poe Valley). He participated in the invasions of Sicily and Italy, and spoke modestly of the work he did for his country. All through his life he would tell us that he was a "certified Army Jeep driver" and could handle anything the road threw his way. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed deer hunting, bird hunting, and fishing. When he could no longer actively hunt or fish, he honed his appreciation of wildlife by observing nature from the house or car, especially on his road trips "up North".
Dad was a voracious reader, especially Westerns, and was almost never without a book. He was well known at the used book stores in the area, and they gladly put their "good" westerns aside for him. He read the Press Gazette and Eagle Herald daily, and waited in anticipation for the Peshtigo Times every Thursday. The daily crosswords and jumble kept him "mentally sharp". It's amazing to think he started out reading on a chalkboard and learned to use an iPad before his death.
He was a natural story teller, and any conversation could bring to light a childhood memory, an event from the war years, or pranks he had gotten away with through the years. We never tired of hearing them and often told him, "That's going in the book!" Mom and Dad loved to travel, and with Michael and Patty's generosity traveled the world. They spent many winters in California when Michael and Patrick lived there, but he never forgot his roots. He was a lifelong Peshtigo Bulldog, Packer fan, and Brewer fan. Above all, time spent with his family was what he treasured most. Mel was a member of American Legion Carlson-Alguire-Newman Post #213 and the VFW Post #8813, both of Peshtigo; a 50 yr+ member of the Peshtigo Lions Club; Tri County Masonic Daylight Lodge #218. He was a past member of the Wisconsin City Clerk/Treasurer Association.
Mel is survived by his children and their spouses: Jann (Chuck Rettke) Sharpe of Oconto, Susan Sharpe of Chippewa Falls, Patrick (Susan) Sharpe of Burlington, Jeffrey Sharpe of Oshkosh, Dr. Tim (Lori) Sharpe of Holman and David (Lisa) Sharpe of Fontana; and his daughter-in-law, Patty Sharpe of Fountain Valley, Calif.; 15 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; his sister, Carol Eigner of Pewaukee; three sisters-in-law: Helen Sharpe of Oconto Falls, Dorothy Sharpe of Waterford and Marie Buckner of Tennessee. He is further survived by many nieces, nephews other relatives and friends. Mel was preceded in death by his wife, Laureen, on March 7, 2012; his parents; his son, Michael Jon Sharpe; one sister and brother-in-law: Evelyn and Curly Buckner; and two brothers: Rellis (Bud) and Robert (Sonny) Sharpe.
A Funeral Service for Mel will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 10, 2014 at BERTH & ROSENTHAL FUNERAL HOME. Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home from 2 p.m. until the time of the service.
Burial will take place this spring in Riverside Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established in Mel's name for securing defibrillators for the community.
Mel was a wonderful man and it was a blessing to have him in our lives.