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Ritchie's Story

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Ritchie Herbert Sharpless, 90, passed away Saturday Oct. 7, 2017, at his home in Fort Ashby, surrounded by his loving wife and daughters.
Born March 20, 1927, in Vindex, Md., he was the son of the late Herbert Dorsey and Pearle (Paugh) Sharpless. He was also preceded in death by four brothers, Irvin, Claude "June," Riley "Boots," and Gary Sharpless; one sister, Wanda Marie Sharpless; and one granddaughter, Tammy Lynn Friend.
Ritchie grew up in Mt. Zion. A gifted student, he graduated from Kitzmiller High School at the age of 15. After high school he moved to Baltimore where he worked for the National Can Company until reaching the age of enlistment to join the Army. He was a World War II veteran having served with a Constabulary Unit in Germany, receiving recognition in the form of the World War II Victory Ribbon and Army Occupation Medal from Germany. He also received the emeritus honor of being selected to witness the Nuremberg Trials; we often heard him say, "Can you imagine me, an ole' country hillbilly boy sitting among a theater of generals and other high-ranking officers listening to those trials?"
After his discharge from the Army, he returned to Baltimore working three years for Buffalo Tank, a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel. He then decided it was time to return to the mountains, choosing a farm on Dan's Mountain in Allegany County. Soon after this move, he began his 33-year career as a tinsmith at West Virginia Pulp and Paper Mill. In 1960, he took his family home to Garrett County where he purchased his beloved farm. Ritchie was a story teller who loved sharing memories of growing up with his family and friends. He also had a few favorites which included amusing times with his very dear brother in-laws. He enjoyed playing music, woodworking, reading, traveling, and helping anyone in need. He was a member of Boyce-Houser Post 41, American Legion in Keyser and Queen's Point Memorial Post 6775, VFW in McCoole.
Ritchie is remembered with love and survived by his wife of 67 years, Thelma Mae "Dolly" (Sunderland) Sharpless; three daughters, Cindy and husband, Gary Mullich, of McHenry, Wilma and husband, Dr. Gary Wagoner, of LaVale, and Carol and husband, Lyle Newman, of Oakland; eight grandchildren, Mark Duckworth, Heather Duckworth, William Abe, Lee Abe, Timothy Friend, Terry Friend, Benjamin Newman, and Rebekah Newman; 14 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Carl (Dale) Sharpless and wife, Barbara, of Gum Spring, Va., and Ray (Mike) Sharpless of Swanton; two sisters, Helen Hindman of Elizabeth, Pa., and Minnie Nelson and husband, Bill, of Deer Park; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Friends may call at Smith Funeral Home, Keyser Chapel, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m.
Funeral services will be conducted at Smith Funeral Home, Keyser Chapel, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, at 11 a.m. with Pastor James "Sonny" Dodds officiating.
Graveside services will follow the funeral at Sharpless Cemetery at Mt. Zion, Swanton.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to Potomac Valley Hospice or the Alzheimer's Association.
Condolences and personal reflections to the family may be left on Ritchie's online guestbook at smithfuneralhomes.net
Published on October 9, 2017
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