Edward John Sharr Sr., 90, of Portland, beloved husband of Kathryn (Onofrio) Sharr, left this life peacefully on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.
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He was born Nov. 23, 1922, in New Britain, the son of Adeline Gnazzo Sharr and John Sharr, and raised in Plainville, where he lived for many years, moving to Portland in 1973.
He attended Plainville High School and continued his studies at the Morse Business School and at Quinnipiac College. After college, Ed pursued a career in the food industry. In 1969 he bought Tri Town Foods in Westchester, CT, and expanded the company into several other locations. He was a member of the Connecticut Food Association (CFA) Board of Directors; in 1989 he was recognized by CFA as "Man of the Year."
Throughout his life, Ed was active in several community groups. He was a Charter Member of the Knights of Columbus Council 3544 in Plainville; a Charter Member of the Colchester Business Association; a former member of the Board of Directors of Glastonbury Bank and Trust, where he served for 21 years; a former Director of South Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and a former Director of Allied Grocers Co-operative. He served on the Advisory Board for Bacon Academy and was instrumental in establishing Colchester's first newspaper, The Regional Standard.
In 1992 the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International named him a "Paul Harris Fellow," the organization's highest honor. Ed was also involved with the Boy Scouts for many years and in 1994 he was named the first "Distinguished Citizen" by the Indian Trail Council in recognition for his many scouting and civic involvements. While his awards were numerous, his best reward was the personal satisfaction he felt by helping and guiding others. Although he spent long hours establishing his business in the early years, he always made time for his family – both nuclear and extended. Not only his children, but also his nieces, nephews and grandchildren relied on his business acumen and life experience, and sought his advice and insights. He was always viewed as somewhat of a 'father advisor' figure even beyond his family.
While he was working at the stores, his door was always open. He never refused to sit down with an employee and offer counsel when they sought him out. He was generous with his time and helped many former employees who wanted to start their own businesses. It gave him great pride to see them flourish.
For many years he and his wife enjoyed traveling with friends to Europe and the Caribbean and wintering in Vero Beach, Fla. He was an avid sports fan – football, baseball, basketball – and enjoyed watching the Dodgers home team which wintered two blocks from his Florida home. A long time supporter of Goodspeed Opera house, he also enjoyed Wednesday night card games with his pals and annual trips to Saratoga Springs during the horse racing season. Once retired, he took up golfing and reading, particularly enjoying books about sports and politics.
In addition to his cherished wife of 66 years, he is survived by his loving daughter, Sandra, and her fiancé Marc Fishbone; his son, Ed ("Rick") Jr., and his partner, Linda Dutcher; his granddaughter Juliet Rodriquez and her husband, Jay; his grandson, Jonathan and his wife, Mellisa; as well as three great grandchildren, Cayden and Callie Rose Rodriquez and Luke Sharr. He is also survived by his sister, Joan Pagliarulo, of Florida and brother, Arthur Sharr of California, as well as many nieces and nephews – Jim Welch, Marlene Olson, Gary Onofrio, Kim D'Amore, Jan and Joan Silverio, Joe Musumano, Mark and Greg Pagliarulo, Lisa West, Jeffrey and David Sharr – and their families. He will be enormously missed by his family and by all whose lives he touched. Calling hours will be Monday, Dec. 10, at St. Mary Church, 51 Freestone Ave., Portland, from 4 to 8 p.m. There will be a funeral Mass on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m., directly at St. Mary Church, Portland. Burial will be Wednesday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m., at St. Joseph's cemetery in Plainville.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Haitian Health Foundation, 97 Sherman Street, Norwich, CT 06360, or St Mary Church, 51 Freestone Ave., Portland, CT. 06480. To send an on-line expression of sympathy, please visit www.portlandmemeoralfh.net
Published in The Middletown Press on Dec. 8, 2012