Robert Norman Sharpe
Wed, 03/19/2014 - 11:11pm admin
Robert (Bob) Norman Sharpe, well known local rancher and conservationist, passed away peacefully in Dallas, Texas, on March 2 after a heroic battle against brain cancer. He was born on Feb. 23, 1944, in Moultrie, Ga. He will be remembered by his loving family and many friends as a man who was a fulfiller of good intentions. Bob’s love affair with the area started with a question to a good friend and business associate Bruce Heath whose family dates back to 1879 in Lake City. “When are you taking me to Colorado?” In August of 1979, he began a 34 year journey that would end with deep family roots having been established in the region. In the early 1990s, his initial land purchases were bought from the Helen Whinnery family along the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River north of Lake City and the Joe and Wilma Youmans Ranch in the Powderhorn Valley. It was there that he met Flynn Mangum and the Cadwell family of Cathedral. Together Bob, and Flynn as ranch manager, would produce results that brought significant recognition from the local community and saw the Sharpe family become respected for their innovative practices towards ranching, water and land conservation, stewardship of game populations, trout stream improvement and fly fishing. Bob was an outgoing man and it is no surprise that his path crossed with the late Fred Fields, long time local rancher and former Gunnison County Commissioner. This relationship led Bob to buy three ranches along the Los Pinos and Cochetopa Creeks including the historic Old Agency. He had a vision of working cattle ranches being more efficient with irrigation practices and thus increasing crop yields, while not damaging the trout streams. His family holdings would eventually involve nearly 22 miles of habitat improved trout stream, produce over 500 tons of hay annually while supporting 800 pairs of summer grazing cattle. For his innovative irrigation techniques, the National Resource Conservation Service awarded him their “Conservationist of the Year - 2010”. Bob served in the Army Special Forces during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged as a Captain. His entire successful business career was with Ross Perot-owned Electronic Data Systems. As a quail hunter and fly fisherman he had few equals. His generosity toward his friends was legendary. He earned a national reputation as a collector of wine, shotguns and rare first addition books. He was preceded in death by his father Norman and mother Betty. He is survived by his brother Addison, sister Jeanne, son Robert (Charlotte), daughter Emily (Jason) Sacher, four grandchildren, and his wife of 43 years Frances. He will be buried at the family ranch on a hillside over looking the land that he nurtured and loved. He painted life with a broad brush and lived it to the fullest.