Robert Sharpe, a dedicated environmentalist, prayer group leader and outspoken citizen who never shied away from weighing in on local affairs, died Dec. 30 in the Boulder County home he had cherished for four decades – the first Death confirmed from the Marshall fire, authorities said Friday. He was 69 years old.
“I knew as soon as I understood the fire had passed over his property he would not have fled,” Milton Sharpe, Robert’s younger brother, told the Denver Post in an email. . “I said to one of my brothers, ‘They will find him dead in his driveway with a pipe in his hand.’ “
The Boulder County Coroner on Friday identified Sharpe as the person whose partial remains were discovered this week during a search for two people missing and fearing death following the devastating Marshall fire.
Investigators this week found human remains in the 5900 block of Marshall Road, and “DNA analysis and scene circumstances” led the coroner to identify Sharpe as the deceased, the office said. of the coroner.
The cause and mode of death have not yet been officially determined, the coroner’s office said.
Sharpe owned a house at 5941 Marshall Drive, according to the county property records. This home was listed as “destroyed” in a preliminary list of damaged and destroyed properties released by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office two days after the fire.
Another person is still considered missing as authorities continue to scan the wreckage. Friends and relatives have publicly identified her as Nadine Turnbull, 91, a resident of Original Town Superior whose home was also destroyed by the wildfire.
A 40-year resident of Boulder, Sharpe was an activist, traveler and spiritual man who loved salsa dancing, his brother said. He fought hard against perceived injustices, striving to be “a good steward of the environment, his government and his community.”
“He said, ‘I will do my best for whoever God puts before me,’” wrote Milton Sharpe.
An avid follower of Native American traditions and ceremonies, Robert Sharpe organized sweat lodges in his home, where people gathered to pray and form community in the foothills of Boulder.
He was educated, said Milton Sharpe, and enjoyed studying a range of subjects.
“I remember how much he cared for me as a 7-year-old younger brother,” Milton said in the email. “He would patiently try to teach me things!”
Sharpe was a regular over the years at Boulder City Council meetings and as a caller to KGNU, Colorado’s community radio station. Sam Fuqua, former station manager and KGNU news director, said he couldn’t recall a time in his 30 years at the station when Sharpe didn’t call to give his opinion on environmental issues, politics or local development.
“This is the kind of caller you want to call on your shows,” Fuqua said. “Someone who listens, thinks, and connects points that no one else in the conversation connects. “
“A return to a bygone era”
Born October 12, 1952 in Oakland, California, Robert Sharpe was the fifth of six children to Reverend William Sunday Sharpe and Thelma Ritchie Sharpe.
His parents were missionaries in a Wesleyan Methodist religious sect called the Pillar of Fire, and in 1954 the family was reassigned from California to the church’s western headquarters in Westminster. There Robert Sharpe attended primary and secondary school.
Renee Fajardo first met Sharpe about 25 years ago, when her children were participating in Odyssey of the Mind, a problem-solving program for students. Sharpe did not have his own children, but he did help coach the teams, teaching the children about plants, water and conservation.
Sharpe wasn’t married, didn’t have a family of his own, but “it’s almost like he’s married to the land,” Fajardo said. “It was his significant other.”
Sharpe was fiercely protective of his land and way of life, Fajardo said. And he knew everything about this canyon – the mining history, the geography.
“It was a living and breathing historical entity for him,” said Fajardo.
He has spent his life on his own, his family says, working as a roofer, renovator, jack-of-all-trades. His property was filled with spare parts, cars and machinery he had collected over the years.
“It’s kind of a throwback to a time gone by,” Fajardo said.
Their work together through Odyssey of the Mind has helped Fajardo launch a career in Indigenous studies, she said. She is currently the coordinator of the “Journey Through Our Heritage” program at Metropolitan State University in Denver, which takes students to the San Luis Valley and New Mexico to learn about their history, culture and ancestors.
“We are woven into this great tapestry with each other,” said Fajardo. “When a thread starts you can’t tell, but you step back after 30 years and realize that we have woven this beautiful tapestry together. “
“Such a catastrophic and incredibly sad end”
Nick Monastra remembers playing at Sharpe’s house in Boulder as a child. When Monstra’s father passed away ten years ago, Sharpe dealt with the police and the coroner, protecting the 23-year-old during a particularly devastating time.
“It meant the world to me,” Monastra said.
The two have lost sight of each other over the past 10 years, but Monastra still thinks of something Sharpe used to say: instead of using the phrase ‘kill two birds with one stone’ Sharpe would say : “Feed two birds with a seed”.
“The feeling is beautiful and fair,” said Monastra. “That’s how he saw the value of things.”
Milton Sharpe remembers his brother’s wonderful belly laugh. He always smiled and often showed up to friends’ houses at Christmas with stockings full of presents.
Robert Sharpe had the ambition to collect as many family memories as he could find, amassing thousands of pages of documents. His family believe he died trying to save this collection.
“Dear brother, this is such a catastrophic and incredibly sad end to your story! Milton Sharpe wrote. “I still can’t figure it out. You still had a lot of verse to write, Robert.
Robert Sharpe’s family have requested that anyone interested in making a donation in his honor can do so with the Boulder County Wildfire Fund.