Rheba Ann Murray Sharpe

Published 9:09 am Monday, June 6, 2022

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On June 4, 2022, at age 95, Rheba Ann Murray Sharpe passed away peacefully following a three-week period of hospice at home. Born in 1926 in Ben Hill County, Georgia, she spent most of her youth and adult life on a small farm in Drayton Community, until moving to live with her older daughter in 2010.

Rheba attended ABAC from 1943-1945, supported by money sent by her brother Jack and her uncle Weyman, both of whom fought during WWII. While there, she played on the girls’ basketball team, was elected to the student council, was voted Best Dressed, and graduated with an Associate Degree in Home Economics. She raised two daughters as a single mother with the assistance of her mother, Lois B. Lane, and her stepfather, W.H. Lane, and provided for the family as a long-distance telephone operator for Southern Bell/AT&T until 1979, when she retired after 35 years of service. A lifetime member of the Telephone Pioneers, she remained close friends with her fellow operators and remembered them all fondly.

She instilled the love of reading and music and art and education in her daughters, and despite financial challenges, secured a piano and lessons for them, took them faithfully to the local Carnegie Library every week, purchased a set of World Book Encyclopedias for them, and saw both go on to achieve master’s degrees in their chosen fields. Although she was not able to fulfill her own aspiration to go on to the University of Georgia and major in clothing design due to health issues, she was a most talented seamstress, and could see a piece of clothing in a magazine and replicate it-with or without a pattern.

A loyal friend to many, she loved her family fiercely, and sought to follow the teachings of Jesus until her dying breath. After her retirement, she followed in her mother’s footsteps and taught the Adult Sunday School class at Bethel Baptist Church for over 25 years.

Rheba is survived by her daughters Rhonda Powell of Tucker, Ga. and Vally Sharpe of Asheville, N.C.; her grandchildren Nicole (Jeremy) Peffer of Marietta, Ga. and Curtis (Lauren) Cochran of Atlanta; and her great-granddaughters Sophie Peffer and Mary Claire and Caroline Cochran, the joys of her life in her later years.

She is also survived by Jan Lowe, whom she considered a third daughter, and Carolyn Kimbrell, who was her greatest pal in her last years in Cordele and who brought her love and laughter in a phone call every week during her almost 12 years in Tucker. She was predeceased by her brother Jack Murray, who died in a private plane crash in 1948, and her mother and stepfather.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, June 7, at 2:00 p.m. in the chapel of Rainey Family Funeral Services in Cordele, Ga., with graveside services following at Sunnyside Cemetery. Visitation will be held at 1:00 p.m. one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the funeral home.

Arrangements are by Rainey Family Funeral Services. An online guest book is available at www.raineyfuneral.com