Alfred Sharp, stalwart in war, peace

December 04, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

Alfred E. Sharp Jr., a malt broker who served his nation as a combat naval officer in World War II and his community as a Boy Scout leader for more than 40 years, died of cancer Monday at his farm in Glencoe.

Services for Mr. Sharp, who was 83, were to be held at 2 p.m. today at Immanuel Episcopal Church on Glencoe Road, in northern Baltimore County, with Eagle scouts serving as pallbearers.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Sharp was a graduate of Polytechnic Institute and the United States Naval Academy, in the Class of 1931.

He served six years in the Navy before leaving to take over his father's East Coast territory as a broker for the Milwaukee-based Ladish Malting Co. -- selling malt by the rail car in an era when there were hundreds of breweries, and nearly three dozen in Baltimore alone.

Later in his career, with the number of breweries reduced through the takeover of the industry by major beer companies, Mr. Sharp was taking orders for malt by the trainload to supply the giant brewers.

His civilian life was interrupted by a call to active duty in 1940, and he returned to the Navy through the end of the global conflict.

He had various roles as captain of Submarine Chaser 553 and the Destroyer Escort Reuben James, gunnery officer on the carrier Long Island and navigator on the carrier Bataan.

He was at the battles of the Gilbert and Marshall islands, Midway, the Marianas, Iwo Jima, Saipan and Tinian.

In the final months of the war, Mr. Sharp taught navigation at the Naval Academy.

Peacetime brought a return to his job and raising sheep at his Glencoe farm, which he named Anchorage.

He was a vestryman at Immanuel Episcopal, and began his long association with scouting in 1950 as founder of Cub Scout Pack 485 -- and later Boy Scout Troop 485 -- under church sponsorship.

Mr. Sharp later served the Boy Scouts as district chairman, council commissioner, deputy camp chief and staff member for national and world jamborees.

He was awarded scouting's Silver Beaver for regional service and Silver Antelope for national service, as well as the church's St. Georges community service award.

He also found time to be active in Masonic organizations including the Annapolis Lodge, the York Rite, Boumi Temple and its 100 Club, the National Sojourners, and the Baltimore Forest of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.

He was a member of the Huguenot Historical Society and Hasbrouck Family Association, the Society of the War of 1812, the Flag House Association, the Baltimore County Historical Society, the Royal Arcanum and the Master Brewers Association of America.

Mr. Sharp -- whose father was a former Baltimore fire commissioner -- also belonged to the Ancient and Honorable Mechanical Company, a civic organization formed by merchants more than 200 years ago to put out fires.

"He was very organized," observed his son, Alfred E. Sharp III of Fredericksburg, Va. The son said yesterday that Mr. Sharp was interested above all in helping boys, "to show them the quality that life can have if you take advantage of it, and how to help people."

At the funeral home, Mr. Sharp said, the family received "hundreds of people who would come in and say what an influence he was."

Surviving, in addition to the son, are Mr. Sharp's wife of 54 years, the former Mary Bull; two daughters, Reed S. Good of Hershey, Pa., and Louise Sharp of Glencoe; a sister, Elsa Woodaman of Centreville, Va.; seven grandchildren; and two nieces and a nephew.

The family suggested memorial donations to Boy Scout Troop 485 and Cub Pack 465 at Immanuel Episcopal Church, Glencoe 21152.

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