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Ted Sharp

My earliest memories of Ted Sharp go back to the time during WWII when Ted was in the US Navy assigned to St. Thomas. This might be about 1943 or 1944 and I would have been 9 or 10 years old. I can recall an afternoon baseball game at the Sub Base. I believe that I was taken to the game by Ted. Although the memory is vague and the date might be way off, I can see myself there, sitting on a players' bench. I was sipping Ginger Ale and cheering for one of the teams. This might not seem so remarkable except that baseball games in the VI in those days were very rare and real stateside Ginger Ale was a special treat. I can't remember the names of the teams at all; I don't recall whether the players were Navy CBs, Coast Guard or Marines. These services were all in the Virgin Islands at the time. What I do remember is that I was there with Ted Sharp.

I went off to the U.S. to school and I didn't see Ted for many years. I took up flying airplanes and gliders. It was through gliders and soaring that our paths crossed again. As a glider pilot, I joined the Soaring Society of America(SSA) in 1955. Ted was also interested in soaring and it was through our SSA connections that we met again. There was a national SSA technical meeting in the Los Angeles area in 1959 and I was planning to go and give a paper there. Ted contacted me and invited me to visit him and also weather permitting to go flying sailplanes. I stayed with Ted and his family in North Hollywood and we did go flying. My logbook shows two flights on September 13, 1959 at El Mirage, California, a famous gliderport out in the desert. Ted and his partner in the glider, Harner Selvidge, also flew that day. In those years it was very diffcult to arrange to fly a sailplane away from your home field. It was not like it is today. Nowadays sailplanes can be rented almost anywhere in the country. The idea of borrowing a glider also was not in vogue then. The invitation from Ted to fly his Schweizer 2-22C was the height of generosity. It is difficult to convey what it meant in those years for an ûEasternû pilot to be able to get a few flights in the fabled Califomia desert conditions. My log shows that the weather was uncooperative and the famed spectacular desert conditions were somewhat subdued. Nevertheless we did fly and the memories of that day with Ted are still fresh and are carried in my pilot's logbook.

As years passed mysterious messages arrived for me around my birthday. They were relayed by local amateur radio operators via postcards and telephone. Ted was the source of these birthday greetings much to the amusement of my family. I am not a ûhamû radio operator so I enjoyed the chance to meet, talk and correspond with enthusiasts in another activity whenever one of these messages arrived. Now, Ted also had continuing links to the Virgin Islands. That provided another set of connections between us. Many times over the last twenty years, although it hardly seems that long, we discussed the joys and difficulties of owning property in the VI. We shared our experiences about neighbors, tenants, governments and relatives. I wish we could have recorded some of the discussions but perhaps it is better that we didn't.

Ted had many friends and colleagues in soaring. Although we lived on opposite ends of the country we still could meet at annual SSA events. Ted was active as an officer and director of the SSA and the National Soaring Museum and Floyd Sweet will talk about that.

- Bernard Paiewonsky, 7 April 1997

I first met Ted Sharp many years ago. We were both going to a soaring convention in San Diego. We drove down from North Hollywood in his little sports car. I was already on the SSA Board and welcomed him aboard in 1958. We met regularly through 1988 at the directors' meetings at various locations throughout the U.S. Ted was on the SSA Board first from 1958 to 1959 and then from 1963 through 1988 during which time he also served as the SSA Treasurer. You can imagine the work involved in the treasurer's position in a national organization and this is a volunteer job. Ted carried this out with great distinction. He also was a Trustee of the SSA and invested funds for the Society from 1973 through 1995. Ted became interested in the National Soaring Museum (NSM) and was a trustee from 1974 through 1995 when he retired. Ted also served as the Vice-President of the NSM (1974-1981) and was the President in 1987 and 1988. He also chaired the Trust Fund for the Museum from 1993-1995.

Ted was singularly honored in 1978 when the SSA presented him with the Warren Eaton award, the highest award given to an SSA member. In 1983 Ted was inducted into the Soaring Hall of Fame.

- Floyd Sweet, 7 April 1997

We had mixed feelings when Ted and Betty called us last year and said that they were moving to Bethesda, Maryland. We were really happy to have them near us and we thought about the possibilities of Ted flying gliders from our home airfield at Frederick, Maryland. We were of course concerned and sad because we knew that Ted was coming here to be near the Naval Hospital for treatment. We were fortunate to be able to visit with him and share some pleasant brunches at the Officers' Club. We enjoyed his company tremendously. There was always the hopeful prospect of getting out to the airfield when the weather turned better or when he felt up for it. We talked soaring as if we could always fly, no matter what.

Wherever you are soaring now Ted, we miss you. All the pilots and SSA members whose lives you touched will always think of you and miss you.

- Bernie and Floyd

Posted: 5/1/1997

Final Glide 

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