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Barbara Sharp

Aug. 21, 1912-Feb. 5, 2009

Former Detroit Lakes resident Barbara Sharp, 96, of Alexandria, died Thursday, February 5, 2009 at Knute Nelson in Alexandria.

Barbara Graves was born to Boyd and Grace (Kennedy) Graves on Aug. 21, 1912 in Elgin, Ill., where she attended school, and graduated from Elgin High School in 1930. Barbara played first harpist in the Elgin High School Orchestra. After high school she attended the Ellis Business College in Elgin.

On June 1, 1933, Barbara married Zenas Sharp at the First Baptist Church in Elgin. The couple moved to Zenas' hometown of St. James, Minn., where they started to raise a family. Barbara was a homemaker and played as an organist and accompanist for local churches. They moved to Detroit Lakes for nine years, where she worked at a medical clinic and an insurance agency.

The family then moved to St. Paul, where she worked at Midway Hospital as a secretary to the Director of Development. Barbara was then hired by Dr. Wood as his secretary to help raise money for the Midway and Mound Hospitals. She then helped raise funds for Northwestern Bible College, and later transferred to Bethel College to also help them raise money. They then moved to Pelican Rapids, where Zenas opened an upholstery shop, doing the sewing and quilting, and Barbara helped with sewing. At the same time, she was giving piano lessons to her 50-plus students.

Music has always been a part of Barbara's life, with piano lessons beginning at the age of six. She played percussion in high school, and began harp lessons at 16. Over the years she taught piano and organ lessons and enjoyed presenting harp programs to churches, schools, nursing homes, etc.

To update her teaching skills, Barbara returned to Fergus Falls Community College in 1976. In 1980, they moved to Brandon to retire, and she continued to play there as a part-time organist at Grace Lutheran Church. Barbara enjoyed gardening, knitting, crocheting, and fixing the house. All her busy life, she said, "Jesus has provided strength for the day and worked all things together for good."

Barbara is survived by her sons, Paul (Betsey) Sharp of Belleview, Ill., and Boyd (Ruby) Sharp of Osage; daughter, Harriet Sharp of Brandon, Minn.; 11 grandchildren; 26 great grandchildren; and six great-great grandchildren; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Preceding Barbara in death were her parents, Boyd and Grace; husband, Zenas; sister, Glendora Christmas; and two brothers, Lynn and Howard Graves.

A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at Grace Church in Alexandria, with the Rev. Craig Dahl officiating. Honorary urn bearers were Barbara's grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Interment will be held this spring in the Lake Lida Cemetery in rural Pelican Rapids. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria. Condolences may be left online at