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Originally published: 2014-04-07 15:27:29
Last modified: 2014-04-07 15:28:14

State of Tennessee honors memory of Elizabeth "Libby" Storie Sharp

by Sherrie Norris

Watauga County native Elizabeth "Libby" Storie Sharp, who spent most of her adult life in Sevierville, Tenn., and lost her battle with cancer on Jan. 31, was recently honored posthumously by the state of Tennessee.  

"We thought this was a tremendous honor for her, and something that her friends and relatives in Watauga County might want to know about" said her sister, Marty LaFrance, of Boone. 

On Friday, March 28, Rep. Dale Carr presented Sharp's husband, Ronald Sharp, with a plaque containing a copy of the resolution honoring his late wife's memory. 

"It left my father, my sister and I without words when this was presented to my dad, and we saw it for the first time," said the Sharps' daughter, Cyndi Long. "Although I knew about it, I don't think the reality had hit of what an honor it was until I saw it.  My mother was loved by so many and was known for her laugh and smile, among many other attributes."  

Sharp, who was 66 when she died, is remembered as a devoted loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend to many.  

She had a special enthusiasm and an incomparable zest for life, her family members said. She was an avid University of Tennessee "volunteer" fan and gardener.

Not only did she inspire her family members, friends and co-workers, but having been diagnosed on three separate occasions with cancer, Sharp was also an advocate for cancer patients, for cancer research and its causes.

According to her family, Sharp mentored and counseled many people who were battling cancer. 

She was a caring, brave and supportive individual, they said, and provided comfort words to others that only someone who "had been there" could do.

Additionally, Sharp was considered "the anchor and glue" that held together her husband's office, the Sharp and Ripley Law Firm, where she worked at for 32 years.

In the Tennessee House Joint Resolution 695 sponsored by Carr, who was joined by Rep. Andrew Farmer, Sen. Doug Overbey and Gov. Bill Haslam and others, in signing the document, Sharp was remembered for those contributions mentioned above, and was referred to as "an exemplary public servant and consummate professional who worked assiduously to improve the quality of life for her fellow citizens in numerous capacities."

Her contributions, including her "exemplary quality of work" for, and the respect she garnered in her position for more than three decades to law firm, were also duly noted.

The resolution described Sharp's "indelible legacy of integrity and probity in public life," and spoke of her compassion and loyalty in her private life and diligence and dedication in all her chosen endeavors, including her advocacy for cancer patients and research for a cure. 

"It is fitting," the resolution read, "that this general assembly should pause to remember the bountiful life of this exceptional public servant and human being, who was also deeply devoted to her family, and she always endeavored to remain true to family values of the highest order."

Sharp was born in Watauga County, one of seven children to Stanford and Gertrude Storie, who preceded her in death, as did her sister, Smitty Richards, and brothers, Buddy and Bart Storie.

She attended Green Valley Elementary School and graduated from Appalachian High School. She worked at Blowing Rock Hospital as administrative secretary before accepting a position in Winston-Salem as personal office assistant to Ann Cannon Reynolds Forsythe. 

She eventually moved to Sevierville, Tenn., where she married and began a lengthy career with her husband's law firm.

Her survivors include her husband, Ronald Sharp; daughters and son-in-law, Laura Maples, Cyndi Long, Julie Hurst and husband, Kevin; grandchildren, Ella Kate Hurst, Nicolas Blake Long and Sam Barnwell Hurst; brother, Richard Storie of Toney, Ala; and sisters and brother-in-law, Tudy Pearson, Marty and Dan LaFrance of Boone. 

She was also preceded in death by her first grandchild, Blake Maples, for who she had a deep love. "Her spirit and memory will continue to anchor and bind us," said her daughter, "and her bravery will inspire us as we move forward. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her."