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Front Page » October 27, 2009 » Opinion » Editor's notes: Tragedy in the community
Published 1,829 days ago

Editor's notes: Tragedy in the community


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

The loss of two of our Emery County residents this week, William and Charmaine Sharp has been very tragic. To die at the hand of a family member is very disturbing. I've been acquainted with the Sharp family for the 10 years I've worked here at the newspaper.

Bill was an avid letter writer. He wrote about politics and one of his favorite topics was abortion. The Sharp's are a Catholic family and speaking out against abortion was something Bill was very adamant about.

Charmaine was the family school teacher and the children were all home schooled. They are a very nice caring family. My mother is also a Catholic and I would accompany her to the Mission San Rafael many times and the Sharp family was always there. Bill was a Deacon and would do scripture readings and the children helped out as altar servers.

They would sit near the front of the church and take up one and sometimes two pews with their large beautiful family. I loved to watch the little girl with her bright, red curly hair.

They were always polite and very reverent.

When my sons took Hunters Education, then some of the Sharp children took it at the same time. Bill always made sure the children were safe with their guns. They were hunters and had guns in their home. It's especially tragic that a hobby they enjoyed is now a source of sadness.

I didn't know their son who was mentally disturbed. But, I do know the Sharp's as loving parents were concerned for their son. Mental illness is hard to understand and hard to treat. It can have devastating affects on a family and has changed this family in a way that can never be repaired. The son will be without his family and the siblings have been left without their parents.

There was hardly ever a time when Charmaine came into the office when she didn't have a child in tow. Bill was very outspoken and I really liked and admired that. There are so many people who like to gripe about how things are, but they never do anything to change it. They just complain. They don't have the guts to write letters to the editor, they just complain amongst themselves and nothing ever changes or gets done.

I am glad that Bill stuck up for what he believed in and had the courage to do something about it. A letter from Bill was always good for a rebuttal article or two from people who didn't believe the same way he did.

On the day of this tragedy, I tried to talk to the family members. They didn't want to talk to me, which is fine. But, in cases like this when you don't talk and tell your story, then there are always those people the press will find on the street that are willing to talk. They might not get the story correct. They might portray your family in an unfavorable light. Whether they knew your family or not they will put in their two cents worth.

That bothers me. I would rather let the family tell their story in their own way. At a time like this there doesn't need to be a lot of speculation or overanalyzing. They are a typical family just trying to raise their children the best way they know how and make a living in the coal mine.

The Sharps are a close knit family who will in this time of tragedy bond together and make the best of a bad situation. Their parents wouldn't want them to fall apart. They would want them to be strong and stick up for what they believe in and carry on in the best way they know how. They would want them to take care of those younger brothers and sisters and help them to have the best life they can, even though the parents are absent now their memory can be kept alive and the children can still learn and grow from their parents example. They tried their best, their time was cut short, but their memories shall live on in the hearts of the children and with all those who knew them.

As a county, please rally around this family and give them your love and support as they will need it in the days ahead as they rebuild their lives.

I thought I was done with this article, but then last night I attended a football game and someone there was in a cell phone conversation with someone and was saying some things which I didn't appreciate. He was telling the person on the other end of the line about the Sharp family. Well this made me mad, I know this man hasn't been in the community very long and certainly not long enough to pass judgment on the Sharp family. I don't think there is any one of us who isn't just a little odd. There's no such thing as a normal family. Would you want your family judged if this happened in your family, well I think not.

Then I had another caller this morning who had read a story about the Sharps in the Salt Lake Tribune and she felt the Tribune had portrayed the family in a bad light. She wanted to ask us here at the Progress to not do that. She wanted it pointed out the Sharps are Catholic and had their children baptized into the Catholic religion. So I dug up the Tribune article and read it. Well, I have eight children and seven grandchildren and I raise a garden and bottle fruit and my family shoots wild game for meat also. Not that I can't afford beef, but I prefer game meat. I did sense from the article that maybe they were trying to point out that maybe that's not normal. But, to me it's a personal choice how many children to have. If you can take care of them, and you love kids, then why not. William was a very good provider and worked hard in the coal mines for more than 30 years. He hasn't retired yet, because he knew he needed to keep working to support his family. Garden food is better for you and wild game hasn't the preservatives that other meat has. If they were trying to live a more healthy lifestyle then who are we to criticise them.

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