ASHBURN, VIRGINIA—On April 3, 2011, Ashby Ponds residents Wilbur “Bill” Sharpe, Jr., 88, and Mary Sharpe, 89, celebrated a memorable milestone—their 65th wedding anniversary. In October 1945, Bill met Mary Glenn of Indianapolis, Indiana at L.S. Ayres department store, where both were working at the time. On December 8, 1945 Bill proposed marriage to Mary and on April 3, 1946, the two were married by Bill’s father, Rev. Wilbur Blaine Sharpe, Sr. at McKee Chapel, part of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. Bill has always reveled in the fact that he “married an older woman.”
Prior to meeting Mary, Bill joined the National Guard at just 16 years old; after completing Officers’ Candidate School in 1942, he was assigned to an Army unit that deployed to Great Britain. On February 14, 1943, Bill was captured by the German Army and became a Prisoner of War until he escaped on April 9, 1945. After recuperation, Bill returned to the United States and was released from active duty. He joined the Army Reserves and later served in Korea where he was promoted to Captain. Bill was awarded several medals for his military service including the Bronze Star and the Prisoner of War Medal. Following his military service, Bill continued his career in the retail industry working with Kay Jeweler’s, Woodward and Lothrop, and Burberry’s of London while Mary was a homemaker who stayed at home with their daughter.
The couple moved into Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living retirement community, on September 18, 2008, just a few days after the community opened its doors in Ashburn, Virginia. After living in Bethesda, Maryland for 48 years prior to their move, they were ready to relocate closer to their daughter, Cynthia, who lives in Herndon, Virginia. “We’re glad we made the move to this fabulous community and haven’t looked back at all,” said Bill.
Since moving to Ashby Ponds, Bill and Mary have enjoyed participating in some of the various activities around the community which reflect how life on campus is an exciting alternative to the typical retirement community. Mary, who won several volunteer awards for her past work at the Women’s Club of Bethesda, has volunteered with the Treasure Chest store at Ashby Ponds, where clothing and household items are collected for resale to employees and residents at the community. Proceeds from the store benefit the Benevolent Care Fund at Ashby Ponds, which helps to provide financial assistance to residents for long-term care at the community. Bill has thrived as a member of the Ashby Ponds Songbirds Chorus, which performs from time-to-time for the Ashby Ponds community.
Due to Bill’s past experience as a prisoner of war, he was asked to provide commentary on the film “Hart’s War” (2002) starring Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell. The film is about a law student turned lieutenant during World War II who is asked to defend a black prisoner of war falsely accused of murder. Tune into Discovery’s Military Channel on July 1 and July 22, 2011 to watch Bill’s interview.
About Ashby Ponds: Is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.). The vibrant campus is filled with fascinating people and fantastic opportunities. Life at Ashby Ponds offers a true sense of community and is exciting alternative to the typical retirement community. Further information about Ashby Ponds can be found at: www.ericksonliving.com.