Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Good-bye Bill Sharpe; You Touched Many
In his 59 years of living, Bill Sharpe made a lot of friends from all walks of life. That was obvious from the diverse audience of several hundred people who came today to memoriaize the life of Bill Sharpe, who did everything from sell stocks to run a bar to start a south Tampa community newspaper to host festivals and business networking sessions in Tampa. Bill also started the Epoch newspaper sold by people on street corners, but there was so much more to Bill.
There were the Epoch newspaper workers -- some wearing their reflective vests while sitting in the pews at the Hyde Park United Mtheodist Church. There was Tampa Council members Mary Mulhern and Yolie Capin and Jeffrey Neil Fox, who owns Bucs and Bulls Heaven, the sport mercahndise store, and my friend Mark Holan who works for the Tampa Bay Business Journal and Mitch Perry from Creative Loafing and a host of Bill's neighbors and friends from every background.
I got to know Bill from writing bicycle stories for Bill's South Tampa Community News. Bill was a big supporter of bicyling in Tampa and was an exhibitor at the 2010 Bicycle Bash festival and also supported bicycling by participating and covering the mayor's bike commute day last May. Bill gave me free exhibitor space at his BBQ and seafood festivals in downtown Tampa to spread the gospel of bicycling.
Bill killed himself on April 2 at his newspaper office, which doubled as his home on State Street, near Rome Avenue and Cypress Street in north Hyde Park. Nobody knows what was going through Bill's mind when he did that. He was at a downtown Tampa bicycle race only two days earlier and people said Bill was in good spirits.
If Bill was still around, he would be offering me space to write a story on a core group of people -- myself included -- that are working on a business plan to save the Friendship TrailBridge. The Hillsborough County wants to demolish and destroy the bridge, but I along with others believe there is a way to repair the parts of the bridge that need to be mended while also forming a non-profit fund-raising group to keep the bridge alive. I'll be writing that story and sending it in. I'm sorry Bill you won't be here to see it, but we will carry on in your memory.
Donations may be made to the Bill Sharpe Memorial Trust at any Bank of Tampa branch to keep the Epoch newspaper alive.
St. Pete Times story.