Elizabeth Anne Sharpe Jumper
Composed by her brother, D. A. Sharpe
I was the baby in our family of three children. My two sisters were 10 and 12 years older than I. Elizabeth, the middle child, was the one who graduated to heaven in the shortest length of years among all three of us. She lived only 44 years. Elizabeth died December 28, 1973. They had been married for 25 years.
Though Elizabeth Anne Sharpe was born August 9, 1929 in Little Rock, Arkansas, she based her claim of being a native Texan on the fact that she was conceived while the family still resided in Texas. She subsequently lived the great majority of her life in Texas as well.
Elizabeth's 1929 birth year was stormy. The big economic news was the famous Black Friday when, on October 28, the New York Stock Exchange plummeted by some $26 billion in value of stocks owned by Americans. That was the one event that painted the profiles by which citizens would live for the next decade. America had become the world's leading industrial producer, having a 34.4% of the world's production pie. Second place England come up with 10.4% and third place Germany with 10.3%. And 1929 was the year of Saint Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago where gangland pundits machine gunned each other on February 14.
Bell Laboratories began their experiments with color television, and Eastman-Kodak Company introduced 16 mm color movie film. It is sad that in early 2012, the 131-year old company filed of bankruptcy. George Eastman, the inventor after whom the Eastman-Kodak Company is named, is the sixth cousin, twice removed to Elizabeth. His best-known invention was photographic film.
The popular songs were "Stardust," "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" [yes, that song pre-dates Tinny Tim!], and "Singing in the Rain." "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon films that year effectively killed off any further business for the outdated silent movies. Ernest Hemingway published "A Farewell to Arms." Actress Audrey Hepburn was born in England. Frenchman Erich Maria Remarque wrote "All Quiet on the Western Front." And Albert B. Fall, the Secretary of the Interior under Calvin Coolidge, was convicted of accepting a $100,000 bribe from Edward L. Dohemy in the famous Teapot Dome scandal. He was sentenced to one-year in prison and fined $100,000. Some say that's where the term "fall guy" is derived?
Source: Time Tables of History, Bernard Brun, pages 496-499
Spending most of her life in Texas, she was strong to assert her Texan heritage. Even though she was born shortly after her family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, the fact that she obviously was conceived while the family still lived in Texas allowed her to claim to be a Texan! She is a fifth-generation Texan, her great, great grandfather, Judge Felix Benedict Dixon, having come to San Augustine County, Texas by 1841. Her growing-up years were in Little Rock, then back to Texas in Ballinger, then in Houston.
When she was young, Elizabeth was known in the family as Betty or Betty Anne. I believe it was during college age years that she began using the more formal Elizabeth.
I remember the family laughingly re-telling a story about Elizabeth when she was very young, before my birth, wherein Daddy had given the girls a pair of baby rabbits for an Easter present. The cute thing about the story was the quotation coming from Elizabeth about her rabbit saying, "Ain't the 'lil yabbitt toot?"
Another anecdotal item about Elizabeth was about her Home Economics class in Junior High. Yes, back in those days, schools taught girls skills often found in kitchens and in management of households. Upon beginning the part of the curriculum having to do with cooking, the class was asked to write any cooking recipes that one of them already knew. Betty Anne's recipe had to do with making toast by putting it in the lower oven, where it could be heated from overhead. The process outlined included the instruction at the end of taking a knife and scraping the toast! The funny part about it was that the toast should not be burned, but her experience at our home was that very often the toast was burned, so it was regular to need to scrape off the charcoaled character of the burnt toast!
Of my two sisters, Elizabeth was the more athletic. She played basketball in college and was pretty good at throwing a baseball (hardball). I remember her fondly as she spent time with me, just throwing a baseball back and forth in our long driveway! One day, when she was about age 17 and I was 7, a baseball she'd thrown to me glanced off to the side, going under a porch step on our church, which was across the driveway from our home. I was reluctant to crawl under the building in that dark to get the ball. So, problem solver that she was, Elizabeth wedged herself under the step to go after it. The problem was that she became stuck there, and could not back out. In my somewhat weaker state, I could not pull her out. So, what did I do?
I just refused to confront the problem, and I went into the house, not telling anybody that Elizabeth was stuck under the church! Fortunately, my father came home soon. Driving up the driveway, he spotted his daughter's legs protruding out from under the church. Of course, he extracted her successfully, but she was not happy with me. When Daddy found out it was because of my abandonment, I really was in trouble for punishment!
She graduated from San Jacinto High School in Houston as Valedictorian of her class in 1945. This was a very large student body high school near downtown Houston. It was named after the name of the near-by battlefield where the independence finally was won for Texas from Mexico, to become the Republic of Texas in 1836.
Both my sisters were active in the student fellowship at our Central Park Presbyterian Church, and our mother was an adult sponsor of the high school and college age group.
What I remember most about those groups were the summer trips we took to the Texas Gulf Coast island of Galveston. We'd spend the day on the beach and the evening at the night-life and carnival rides after that. They were fond memories. I especially remember the thrills riding the roller coaster! I was in the 6 to 8-year age when these things took place.
Elizabeth entered Rice Institute in Houston, following her sister. Having two children in the Sharpe family to gain entrance at Rice was an accomplishment and an honor for the Sharpe family, as the entrance requirements were and have always been very high. The academic reputation in Texas of Rice Institute was like the Harvard of Texas! By the way, our family has a connection with Harvard too! ItŐs very first treasurer was Howard Pelham, ElizabethŐs 25th cousin, eight times removed!
Her musical talent included being an organist for the church where our father was Pastor, Central Presbyterian Church, 6916 Sherman Avenue, Houston, Texas. This was down in the industrial east end of Houston, near the Houston Ship Channel.
One Sunday night when Elizabeth was a freshman at Rice Institute, a U. S. Coast Guard sailor visited the service with his roommate. That Coast Guardsman spotted Elizabeth playing the electric organ and the other sailor spotted a young lady in the choir. They both boasted to each other that they would marry these girls! What is fun is that they both did marry them later. The story is that Andy asked to walk Elizabeth home that night after the service [lots of folks did not have cars in those days]. She laughed at the question, but willingly went with him. Unbeknownst to him, the manse (our home) was just right next door to the church, just a few feet away from where he asked her!
They started dating in 1946. Andy won over the confidences of our family members, one by one. Sometime in 1947, the U.S. Coast Guard transferred Andy to an assignment in New York City. However, he kept their relationship up with frequent long distance telephone calls, even though they were somewhat expensive in those days.
Andy took our family into his confidence when he'd purchased an engagement diamond ring. Arrangements were made for us to have the ring and to be standing near her when he phoned at a designated time. He would take the occasion to ask her to marry him, and we were to present the ring to her when she accepted. He must have been pretty sure of himself, but it all worked as he'd planned, and it truly was a fun thing for me being only 8 years old at the time.
The wedding was planned in sync with the discharge of Andy from the service. A wonderful church wedding was planned with our father conducting the service, and many, many family friends helping out with the wedding plans. The marriage was August 14, 1948 on a Saturday evening. Dad didn't prefer Saturday weddings, as the preparations and events crowded into what usually was his sermon preparation for the next day! However, he went along with it for both daughters, as they both wanted Saturday weddings!
They went on their honeymoon by renting a cabin in the Bastrop State Park, near Bastrop, Texas in central Texas. It was a forest covered park of about 2,000 acres with a nice lake, about 10 years old at the time. It was the same park where Elizabeth's sister, Martha and her husband, Vic, had honeymooned the year before.
After the honeymoon, they came to our home in Houston to spend a few days before continuing on to begin college at the University of Mississippi.
Andy was a Mississippi boy, so after their marriage, each finished their college education at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. She graduated in 1950 and he in 1951. Elizabeth worked much of the time in various administrative and secretarial positions. She was an excellent typist! Actually, her husband also was a trained typist. The United States governmentŐs G.I. Bill for military experienced people assisted both of them in getting their college degrees.
Like her mother, Elizabeth did well serving the role of a Presbyterian Pastor's wife. Her educated experience allowed her to be a counselor and advisor to her husband in the things of ministry and of life. The first church where Andy was pastor was Christ Church in Houston, Texas. Later, they moved to West Shore Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas. These were years in the 1950s when my father was Pastor of John Knox Presbyterian Church in Dallas, as well. It was nice to have two family households in the same city.
Andy served as Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Lubbock, Texas 1962-1970. It was during those years that both of them had renewal spiritual experiences, learning more about the power of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. These were really sweet years for them and they continued to mature in their spirituality. They were introduced to these things through a neighborhood Bible study they attended, led by some Episcopal lay people. Jack and Shelly Hall were especially instrumental in this and became very close personal friends with Elizabeth and Andy. The Hall's family was the one that started and owned the Furr Cafeterias and Food Stores operating at several places in Texas, but headquartered in Lubbock.
Elizabeth contracted cancer circa 1970, while they lived in Lubbock. Later that year, the family moved to Saint Louis County, Missouri, where Andy had received a call to be Pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton. She died just after Christmas in 1973 at age 44. The hospital where she died was in the city of Saint Louis, but the family lived out in the County of Saint Louis. That's one of those strange situations where the city is of independent status, and is not under the jurisdiction of a county.
The story goes that the people residing out in Saint Louis County were alienated enough from the bad government leadership in the City of Saint Louis that the County people voted to separate from the city jurisdiction!
Her funeral was to be December 30, but ten inches of snow fell the evening before and the temperatures plunged down to bone-chilling readings. Finally, a few days after New Year's Day, the family put her to rest. The church was filled to overflowing. The graveside service for the family and close friends was very cold, with much of that snow still on the ground and the wind-blown temperature in the teen's. Though I was thoughtfully prayerful at the graveside service of my sister, I believe that my fervent prayers included completing the service more quickly, so we could get back into a warm car! It really was bone-chilling cold .... like about 15 degrees with breeze blowing!
Elizabeth and Andy were married for just over 25 years.
Some weeks following her graveside service, a permanent gravestone was erected. It simply stated her birth and death dates, and her name as Elizabeth Ann Jumper. Some family members had thought it would have been good to include her Sharpe maiden name, and the unfortunate thing is that her middle name is spelled "Anne," rather than, "Ann" that is on the gravestone. I do not know why it was not noticed and correction requested. I did not notice it till some years later.
Elizabeth and Andy gave birth to four outstanding children, all about two years apart each. Mark Andrew Jumper was born May 1, 1954, spent a career as a Presbyterian Navy Chaplain, married Ginger Lou Jones November 23, 1991 and they gave issue to seven children, Christina, Andrew, Caroline, Jonathan, David, Bonnie and Elizabeth.
Peter Sharpe Jumper was born April 4, 1956, spent a career as a U.S. Airforce jet pilot, married Nancy Louise Robinson July 28, 1978, and gave issue to two sons, Benjamin and Daniel.
Kathryn Elizabeth Jumper was born June 14, 1958, her initial career was in sales with Xerox, and the majority was being a wife and mother. They give issue to two daughters, Laura and Emily.
Carol Anne Jumper was born February 5, 1960, spending a career in public school teaching. She married Bruce Alan Robertson, a veterinarian, and they gave birth to two sons, Samuel and Jeffery.
Elizabeth did not live to see any of her children to marry, nor to see the delivery of any of their 13 grandchildren.
Elizabeth was a credit to her family. A devoted mother and wife, she lived life to the fullest and with the most detail. She was a swell sister as well.
Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe
805 Derting Road East
Aurora, TX 76078-3712