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Ernest A. Sharp (1960-2010)

NORTH HENDERSON - Ernest A. Sharp, 50, North Henderson, died at 12:31 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, at OSF St. Mary Medical Center, Galesburg.He was born Sept. 12, 1960, in Austin, Texas, the son of John and Lillian (Brown) Sharp. He was raised and educated in Alpha and Alexis.
He had worked for Olson Grain Company and more recently has done construction work. He loved fishing, music and playing games.His family includes his mother, Lillian Richardson of North Henderson; his father, Jack (Charlotte) Sharp of Rio; one sister, Cheryl Stevens of La Junta, Colo.; and one brother, John (Faye) Sharp of Galesburg; along with nieces and nephews.Graveside service and burial will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 10, in Alexis Cemetery, with the Rev. David Kramer officiating. Friends may call Friday morning at Hoover-Hall Memorial Chapel, Alexis; family will be present to receive friends one hour before the service. Memorials may be left for the Alexis-North Henderson Ambulance Service.
Online condolences may be left at

I was only around Ernie 5 times, maybe 6. He'd be riding his bike and need a beer so he'd go over to the NHCC. I was told he was in an auto accident and his cognitive powers had been compromised. I don't know how compromised, I never knew him before. But he was riding bikes now. The bike he rode, and took great pride in, was a kind of home-made contraption which consisted of some actual Hoover vacuum parts. At one time he had duct-taped and plastic-tied his tire to the rim to keep it on.

When he stopped by I did what I normally did at the NHCC and that was to sit back, keep quiet and get educated. I took pictures of Ernie and one time even made a movie of him talking about something. I couldn't find the video but did find this picture of him and his bike.  A piece of art.  A man proud of his creation.  

I heard Ernie died this past winter and so the community has one less character. He would stop by and in a loud unmodulated voice start talking about all kinds of things, but he would always get a cold beer and put on a show. He might wangle a second beer, too, and we'd sit there and laugh, converse and keep things going. We were polite, chat back, maybe glance at each other and be exasperated but amused at the same time.

And now he is gone and except for his family and a few close friends, likely forgotten before too long. Like the lady said in the movie, "Our footsteps are soon washed away." Ernie will be soon be washed away. And I think, that we are all Ernies. The world's business will keep going. It did after Ernie and will after me. The world needs characters. I'm way too cautious, too quiet, too insecure, with too much introspection. I'll never be a character, but Ernie was and damn, I miss him already. 


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