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Willie Tharpe

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Willie Tharpe Obituary
Willie Cleo Tharpe, Jr.

Merritt Island, FL

On Memorial Day, May 26th, 2014, heaven was enriched as Willie Cleo Tharpe, Jr. entered peacefully into eternal life. Willie passed away after a 2½ year battle with leukemia

He was born on Good Friday, April 7, 1939 in Ailey, GA. In 1945 the family moved to Merritt Island. Willie graduated from Cocoa High School in 1957 where he was a stellar athlete in football, basketball, baseball and track setting the orange belt conference record for the 440 yard dash in 1957. He was also Orange Jubilee King and Class President.

Willie attended the University of Florida but could not finish due to his mother's illness. He managed Myrt's Restaurant until his mother's recovery. He then joined Boeing's Apollo program team becoming their S-IC Stage Liaison Engineer. Following the Apollo program, Willie worked for Braun Cadillac in Orlando before establishing W T Wire & Cable. He and his wife, Dawn relocated to Fayetteville, NC for a brief period of time where he sold cars at Hendrick Chrysler Jeep. Willie could be seen on many tennis courts and the Rockledge Golf course for 50 years before moving to Daytona Beach. Willie always had a big smile, warm hug and great sense of humor.

Among those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Dawn; daughters, Renee Staheim (Larry), Tracey Naster; and son, Will (Paula); stepdaughter, Kerry and stepson, Scott; sisters, Quida, Charlotte, Sue (Merle); and brothers, Roy (Barb) and Danny (Reb); and seven grandchildren; along with many nieces and nephews. Willie is predeceased by his mother, Myrtice; father, Willie; and sister, Bobbie Jean.

There will be a celebration of his life and sharing of memories, June 7th at 3 p.m. at the Oceans Grand Condo Social Room, 2 Oceans West Blvd., Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118.

Published in FLORIDA TODAY on June 1, 2014
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