1958 - 1995
'Rode the Wind' in Life"
"And in the
end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life
in your years."
-- Abraham Lincoln
was a great deal of life in James Sharpe's years. Mr. Sharpe was
a stunt pilot, scuba diver, motorcyclist, and inventor. Mr. Sharpe's
love of flying can be attributed to his father, who was a stunt
pilot in his youth. Mr. Sharpe enjoyed stunt flying in single-engine
planes. In fact, he once helped his father build a single-engine
plane in a week at an air show in Lakeland, Florida. He was a
very good pilot, winning nine of the last ten stunt flying contests
in which he participated during 1994.
Mr. Sharpe excelled in other outdoor activities.
A native of Tampa, Florida, he obtained his scuba diving license
when he was only ten years old. He was an avid motorcyclist. Even
though he was ill, he rode through twenty seven states on his
motorcycle in 1995.
In addition to his other pursuits, Mr. Sharpe was
interested in space. He enjoyed visiting the exhibits at the National
Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. He also liked viewing
the landing of the Space Shuttle at the Kennedy Space Center in
Mr. Sharpe worked for Texas Instruments in Houston for five years,
and for ITT in Salt Lake City for nine years — adding several
inventions to the company's portfolio.
"I know that there was never a moment in Jim's
life that he was idle," writes his mother. "He accomplished
so much and had so many friends. He was a wonderful husband, father,
son, brother, and friend." Indeed, he was very dedicated
to his family. He helped his wife earn two degrees in design engineering.
He was also a loving father. He regularly attended PTA meetings
at his daughter's school, helped her with her homework, and joined
a church that his daughter decided to attend.
Mr. Sharpe's love for his family is manifested
in "Riding the Wind," a song written and arranged for
him by his brothers, Philip "Hapi" MacKenzie and Lloyd
"Bumper" MacKenzie. The brothers are members of the
Crabgrass Cowboys, a successful Florida musical group that blends
elements of country, country-swing, bluegrass, and rockabilly
music. His active lifestyle, his love for his family, and his
successful career truly justifies his flight capsule personal
message inscription, "Jim 'Rode the Wind' In Life."