On Christmas Eve, while most families were celebrating the holiday season and the gathering of family members, Stanford Masters lost a very dear friend. Al Sharpe passed away in his sleep. It is truly unfortunate for those people who never had an opportunity to know him. Al was the chauffeur, coach and #1 fan of his wife, Marjorie, during her entire competitive swimming career and their lives together.
Marjorie and Al met some 40+ years ago while doing their respective doctorate research at Stanford. It only seems appropriate, then, that they return to Stanford and swam with the Masters team, this when Marjorie really started to excel.
Marjorie claims that Al was quite debonair when she met him, adorned with a set of professorial glasses and a distinguishing pipe. After they both worked as teachers until the late 60's, Marjorie and Al did what most people dream about and they moved to Europe, first to England and then to Spain. When they returned to the U.S. in the late 80's, Marjorie decided to start swimming to help her back. The first thing that many people notice about Marjorie is that she uses crutches to walk. She was in a very serious car accident when she was in her 50's and has had several surgeries since then. If you ever asked Al, he would tell you that Marjorie was held together by wire and chewing gum. From that time on, it was up to Al to get Marjorie around and to do any of the chores that involved using the car. The "Al Sharpe taxi" service was more reliable than the trains in Switzerland.
Speaking of trains, many of you might not know that Al was a model train hobbyist and he had a very nice collection of very small (N-scale) and medium (HO-scale) trains. Al was also a collector of stamps and Egyptian artifacts. His Egyptian collections were very exquisite and his knowledge about ancient Egypt was very thorough. One thing which will surely be missed about Al is his pool deck presence; his witty jokes, his W.W.II stories and his smile. Coach Chris Morgan summed it up about Al, "There are not enough people in this world like Al who find giving another person a pack of Necco Wafers such an enjoyable event." With Al's passing, there are many things which we can do to help out Marjorie. Not to fear about her driving because at 80 years of age she has taught herself to drive again and received her driver's license. Al will surely rest easier now because this was one of his major concerns about leaving Marjorie. Judy Levison has been instrumental in putting together a meal plan for Marjorie. Many of you have also seen on the e-mail that there has been a Marjorie Sharpe Trust Fund established to raise the money that Marjorie will need in order to go to the World Masters Championships next June in Morroco. It was Al's wish that Marjorie would continue her swimming and go to this competition whatever his condition was. Any interested parties can write checks to the Marjorie Sharpe Trust Fund and send them to Judy Levison, Escondido Village 106C, Stanford, CA 94305.
A final thought: It seems ironic that Al was the epitome of a Saint and he left this world on a night when we anticipate the arrival of another "Saintly" man. Sure enough they are probably up in that sleigh right now cracking some silly jokes.
(the above is from the December issue of the Stanford Masters Swim Team Newsletter)
(below is from the November issue)
The Coaches Choice Award for this month is very special. Many of you have seen all of the accomplishments by Marjorie Sharpe both in the newsletter and at the pool. Do not be mistaken, however, because she has a secret weapon assistant at her aid. Al (her husband) had had a key role in all of her swimming successes of the last couple of years. Many of you might now know that Marjorie was in a very bad car accident several years ago, thus Al has been her trusty driver since beginning Masters Swimming at the age of 75. Al continues to be an excellent "Head Coach" for Marjorie, inspiring her to participate in many pool and open water competitions. One week ago, Al turned 85 and soon Marjorie will be 81. Their enthusiasm for swimming at a combined age of 166 should be inspiration to all of us.