Mary Jeanne Brooks Sharp was born in Abilene, Texas to Doyle Tant Brooks, Sr. and Azel Edith Baten Brooks in 1928. She graduated from George Washington High School in 1945 in New York City while also spending a year studying at the Juilliard School of Music. She returned to Texas and enrolled at Southern Methodist University in the fall of 1945, majoring in Vocal Performance and minoring in Piano. She graduated from SMU in 1949 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. In the fall of 1949, she became an instructor of Music and English at Panola Junior College, in Carthage, Texas. Carthage is where she met Lawrence Raybourne Sharp, Sr. also on the faculty, who told his second oldest son to find some business in Dallas so said son could take Miss Brooks home to see her parents for the weekend. The son was quick to obey his father and that was one of the best decisions he made.
She married Thomas Harris Sharp in 1950 and they moved to Dallas in 1952. Charlotte was born in 1955 and John was born in 1958. Mrs. Sharp became a teacher in the Dallas Independent School District in 1972, where she taught music to 2nd through 4th graders at Colonial Elementary School. For her last year at Colonial, she was given the responsibility of teaching a class of 1st graders. She finished her teaching career at Preston Hollow Elementary School, where she taught remedial math to 4th through 6th graders and later regular math classes to the same age group. Mary Jeanne enjoyed taking her students to city-wide math contests, where many of her students placed high in their divisions. While she was teaching full-time, she finished a Master’s Degree in Education at East Texas State University. After her retirement in 1986, Mrs. Sharp worked as a volunteer for several organizations and became the bookkeeper for the family’s real estate business.
Mary Jeanne was very involved in the music activities of Highland Baptist Church. She frequently sang solos for church services and when the church choir performed oratorios, she sang the lead soprano roles. She also led children’s choirs and taught in Vacation Bible School. When the family attended First Baptist Church of Dallas, she and her husband were active in the mission of Texas Baptist Men and traveled to many places in the U.S. and Canada with Sunday School class members. The men constructed buildings for mission outreaches and the ladies held Vacation Bible School for local children.
Mrs. Sharp was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Harris Sharp, her parents, and two brothers, Doyle T. Brooks, Jr. and Billy Frank Brooks.
She is survived by one daughter, Charlotte Lightner and husband Louis (Skip) of Richardson; one son, John Sharp and wife Lisa of Richardson; and three grandchildren, Harrison Sharp, Anne Lightner, and Benjamin Sharp. Numerous in-laws survive her, Ruth Brooks of Dallas, Ida Nell Sharp of DeBerry, Evelyn Sharp of Carthage, Reuben Milton of Sherman, and Elizabeth Robinson of Flower Mound. Numerous nieces, nephews, and friends at the Forum also survive Mrs. Sharp.
Services are currently pending.
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