Retta Carol Sharp passed from a life marked by long-term physical pain into the welcoming arms of her Savior on February 2, 2024. Born to a coal miner's family on August 30, 1933, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Retta's humble beginnings in a devoutly Christian home were the bedrock of her unwavering devotion to God. One of six siblings, she graduated from Victory High School in Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1951, then honed her faith at Patten Bible College and Seminary in Oakland, California. Building on this early foundation, her commitment to serve the Lord continued for the rest of her life.
In 1962, after meeting and marrying Omer Jaye Sharp, a Southern Baptist minister in Texas, they returned to West Virginia and embarked on a life of pastoral and evangelical ministry, with Retta always particularly focused on teaching children. They navigated a challenging but ultimately rewarding bi-vocational path through life and raised four children of their own—Gayle, Elena, Jonathan, and Marcus—in a loving, God-centered home. (Their second child, Jaye, had died as an infant.) Through much of the 1970s, they even managed parenthood on the road as a family, spending every summer ministering in churches across the United States almost nightly.
Retta’s children brought her tremendous joy, and she was ecstatic when she was blessed with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But never content with only her own progeny, she also informally became a grandmother to hundreds of children across multiple generations as she taught about and exemplified Jesus in various churches over the years. From the early days until the end, her life was a beautiful illustration of unconditional love, considering her family, whether at home or at church, to be her greatest earthly treasure. Those Retta loved, she loved with her whole heart, and they became her family.
Omer and Retta moved to Odessa, Texas, in 1974. They lived there 27 years, owning and operating Odessa Gold and Silver Exchange from 1981 to 1993. In 2001 they moved to McCamey, Texas, where Retta selflessly cared for Omer during his lengthy illness until he passed away in 2006. Retta moved to Lubbock, Texas, in 2012, where she lived as a beloved and active member of Fellowship Church Lubbock for the remainder of her life. Her final residence was at Heritage Oaks Nursing Center where, even in her bed-bound state, she continued to share the redeeming love of Jesus with many. Walking by faith for the greatest part of her 90 years, her desire was to glorify God, obeying 2 Timothy 2:15: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” Today, she is finally well and reunited with loved ones in the presence of God.
Retta was predeceased by her parents, Presley Hamilton Nutter and Lectie Gae Nutter; her sisters, Wilma Orene Sandy, Barbara Lois Nutter, and Helen Rosalie Davis; her husband, Omer Jaye Sharp; and her son, Jaye Hamilton Sharp. She is survived by her brothers, Marvin Ray Nutter of Uniontown, Ohio, and Donald Howard Nutter of Woodsfield, Ohio; her children, Gayle Franklin Sharp and his wife Cleta Ruth (Stone) of Lubbock, Elena Dawn (Sharp) González and her husband Hugo Alberto González of McCamey, Jonathan (Jon) Lyman Sharp and his wife Kari Dawn (Walker) of Lubbock, and Marcus (Marc) Jason Sharp and his wife Ginger LaWanne (Payne) of Lubbock; ten beloved grandchildren; and a wealth of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
The Sharp family wishes to express their most heartfelt gratitude for the love shown to Retta at Heritage Oaks by all of her visitors and their children, and by several excellent employees of Heritage Oaks and Gentiva Hospice who came to know and love Retta during the final two years of her life (If you think that means you, it probably does. Please know that she truly loved you).
A celebration of Retta's life will be held at Fellowship Church Lubbock, 7505 Avenue U, Lubbock, Texas, at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 10th, 2024, and live-streamed at https://youtube.com/@fellowshipcl She will be privately laid to rest beside her husband in McCamey, Texas.
In lieu of flowers that will fade, Retta’s desire was that posthumous donations would be made to Fellowship Church Lubbock (fellowshiplubbock.com) in support of worldwide missions programs.