Ruth M. Sharrock, 85, legal secretary


Ruth Maneval Sharrock, a former legal secretary and homemaker who was honored for her long years of volunteer work, died June 12 at Harford Memorial Hospital of complications after a fall at her home. She was 85 and lived in Bel Air.

Born in Bryan, Ohio, she graduated from Bryan High School in 1938. Skilled in shorthand and typing, she took a job with an attorney in Bryan and traveled with him on cases after he became a Circuit Court judge.

"To this day we are finding little notes around the house in shorthand, and we have no idea what they say," said her daughter, Kristine Ruth Holmes of Ellicott City.

She described her mother as "everybody's grandma." Until her fall, she would type out personal notes on the 1940 Royal typewriter she used in her first law office job.

"That was her little ministry, to write words of encouragement, to write get-well notes, to say `I love you,'" Mrs. Holmes said. "She never had an unkind word for anyone. She had the most magnificent smile, remembered everyone's birthday, everyone's anniversary."

It was not a typewriter, but a glockenspiel that brought Mrs. Sharrock and her future husband together.

A glockenspiel player in her high school's marching band, she was invited back after graduation to fill a gap in the ensemble, her daughter said. Robert Sharrock, who was several years younger, was the band's drum major.

The couple dated for five years, and decided to marry after he enlisted in the Navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

While Mr. Sharrock served in the Pacific, his bride returned to Bryan, where she did secretarial work for the University of Toledo.

After the war, her husband earned his master's degree in zoology and went to work for the Defense Department's Joint Packaging Training Center in Ohio. When that operation was moved to Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1963, the couple and their two children moved to Bel Air.

Mrs. Sharrock volunteered for 20 years as secretary at her church, Christ Our King Presbyterian in Bel Air.

Until a few years ago, her daughter said, she also was a volunteer with the American Red Cross, working with the organization's blood pressure screening program until the Bel Air office closed several years ago.

She belonged to the Officers' Wives Club at Aberdeen Proving Ground and sang in the group's chorus.

Mrs. Sharrock was a past president and trustee for the Lady Board of Managers at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, which helps raise money to pay the medical expenses for uninsured patients.

She was a founding member of Bel Air Chapter Q of PEO, a sorority that promotes the education of women.

In 1996, Mrs. Sharrock was the recipient of Maryland's "Geri" Award, as a Maryland Distinguished Volunteer. She also was named that year to the Maryland Senior Citizens' Hall of Fame.

Mr. Sharrock died in 1998.

Services were Thursday at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include a son, Dr. Robert Earl Sharrock of Bryan; three sisters, Margaret Shook of Bryan, Catherine Fifer of Hamiliton, Ind., and Frances Green of Largo, Fla.; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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