Ervin David Sharpless was born in Lorain, Ohio on July 18, 1931 and went home to his heavenly daddy on January 5, 2019, surrounded by his loving family.
He was put up for adoption at the age of five and bounced back and forth between foster families, or “the children’s home,” as he called it. It’s no wonder he was so perpetually antsy, with all of the bouncing back and forth growing up. No one ever taught him what it might feel like to belong. But he learned to be still in the church, where he enjoyed worship and learned what it feels like to be a Father’s son.
And then he fell in love and married Ruth Buurma and learned what it felt like to belong to an earthly family. Ervin took all of the love that he didn’t get growing up and poured it into his family tenfold. His family grew and grew until it busted at the seams. This orphan boy, who never belonged anywhere, grew a family that is thick as thieves. Grandchildren flew in from all over the country to be with their grandpa in the end: from Michigan, to Chicago, to Connecticut, to New York, to Colorado, and even Alaska—the whole gang is here.
Ervin was a man who could never sit still, was always up for an adventure, loved stirring the pot, weekly men’s prayer group, and a good bargain. He was the cheapest man we knew, but also the most generous man we knew. He was quick to help anyone in a pinch and always on top of all of his grandchildren’s car maintenance. I think all of his grandchildren have received a new set of tires from him at one point or another. Ervin was a man who loved produce, making new friends, a good breakfast, and keeping tabs on all seventy of his family members. He had a calendar that he took with him everywhere and was especially up to date on anyone’s travel plans. If someone in his family was traveling, he was the first to get all of the details and check in on all parts of the travel process. Did you leave yet? Did you land? Did you arrive? What’s the plan? Ervin always had to ask, “So, what’s the plan?” His final trip in the end was to heaven, and I bet he’s already giving God a hard time. He was a meddler, the alarm clock you never set, and the worst secret keeper you’ve ever met. But above all of this, he was ours.
Ervin is survived by his devoted wife, Ruth Sharpless and his five daughters: Tamara Muhlbach, Karen Witte, Diane Blakemore, Nancy Smith, and Peg Schaller. He is survived by even more son-in-law’s, because once a Sharpless, always a Sharpless. He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy Donofrio, and dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
There will always be a hole where he used to be, and an empty spot at the kitchen table where he used to wait hours too early each morning with his cup of coffee and devotions. We are comforted by the promise of reunion, a lifetime of joyful memories, and by the legacy he left behind. Until we reunite for an early heavenly breakfast, rest easy, our beloved Grandpa. Who am I kidding? You aren’t resting. You are running.
Original source can be found here.
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