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Mount Sinai Obituaries and Services » Rosemary Sharp
May 14, 1927 - July 13, 2020
Service Information Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills
Service Date: Sunday July 19th, 2020
Service Time: 10:00 am
Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills
5950 Forest Lawn Drive
Los Angeles, California 90068
Inquire at Booth for directions
Rosemary (nee Dougherty) Sharp, 93, slipped the surly bonds of Earth at 10:20 PM on Monday, July 13, 2020, in North Hills, California.
Rosemary was born in Fairfield, Washington on May 14, 1927, to James Wesley Dougherty I and Emily (Palkman) Dougherty. “It was on the kitchen table at my Grandmother Palkman’s house,” Rosemary wrote in 2014.
Her father, James, was the son of Irish immigrants who came to the U.S. during the Potato Famine.
Her mother, Emily, was the daughter of Estonian immigrants who came to the U.S. in the early part of the twentieth century.
“Rosie”, as most people called her throughout her life, became obsessed with airplanes as a young girl growing up in Pasadena at a time when the skies were filled with war planes, many of them shiny and new and fresh off the assembly line at nearby Lockheed Aircraft. The P-38 was her favorite.
In high school, young Rosie was a “Pro-Marksman” and a member of the junior division of the National Rifle Association. She was fiercely patriotic and dreamed of joining the Women’s Air Corp and becoming a pilot. But she was too young and had to settle on being a Neighborhood Civil Defense messenger. She, however, remained an avid plane spotter all her life. Even in her 80’s, her idea of a good time was hanging out at the In ‘n’ Out Burger at the end of the runway at LAX, watching the planes take off and land.
Rosie graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in June, 1945, and was working as a clerk typist at the Hollywood Public Library when the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945. She wrote, “In those days, I got to work on the Red street car, and when I went up to Hollywood Blvd., the street was knee-deep in confetti and everyone was celebrating. It was truly a great day after four years of total war.”
One evening in 1947, Rosie was with her younger siblings, Jimmy and Linda Jean, and some friends at “a little joint called the Highlander” where she met the man she would later marry. He was a handsome young L.A. Times photographer sitting in the back seat of a police car with his Speed Graphic camera, “… riding along to take pictures, if something happened,” as noted by Rosie. They started dating and on September 2, 1951, the couple married in Holy Family Church in South Pasadena.
Soon after, Rosie and Burt moved to Las Vegas where Burt was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. It was here that their first child, Michele, was born in 1952. In 1953 they were transferred to Fairchild AFB in Washington State.
It was in Spokane that their second child, Pamela, was born in 1953, then the third, Karen in 1954. When asked about her time in Spokane, Rosie would describe in detail retrieving frozen baby bottles from the porch and frozen diapers from the clothesline and slipping on the ice. She couldn’t really remember much else.
Honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1954, Burt, along with Rosie and the three girls returned to Southern California to thaw out in a house they bought in Alhambra. Rosie was a stay-at-home mom while Burt went to work in advertising. Their family grew with the births of David in 1957, Daniel in 1958, and finally Stacie in 1961.
In 1965, the family moved to Toluca Lake and all six kids were enrolled in St. Charles Borromeo School. Rosie made breakfast, plus six lunches and then loaded six kids into her station wagon and got them to school on time five days a week. She also volunteered in the school library.
In 1971, the family moved to Mexico City where Rosie got a bit of a break – their house came with a full-time maid. This gave her time to do some of the things she loved but never had time to do like read and sew and learn about Mexican cooking.
On September 16, Mexican Independence Day, and on May 5, Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican Air Force, made up of WWII era fighters and bombers, would fly in formation over the city. This delighted Rosie to no end. Every year she’d be out on her balcony with her binoculars, taking in the glorious roar of multiple internal combustion engines. And she would name every plane, just as she had done in Pasadena during the war.
During their time in Mexico, Burt and Rosie became involved in many local English-language theater productions, Burt directing and acting and Rosie designing and building costumes and stage managing. THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT, WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, FOLLIES, DEATHTRAP, and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, are just a few of the numerous shows Rosie worked on.
Burt and Rosie returned to Los Angeles in 1980 and Rosie, as a member of IATSE Local 33/768 Theatrical Wardrobe Union, went to work as a dresser on dozens of Broadway productions, including FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, FALSTAFF, ANNIE, A CHORUS LINE, CATS, 42ND STREET, and DREAMGIRLS. It was during this time that a dream came true for Rosie. As a twelve-year-old girl in 1939, her father had taken her to see the first filmed version of THE MIKADO. She wrote in 2014, “I loved the music for the rest of my life.” In 1988, she worked on a production of the MIKADO with Dudley Moore and got to hear the music… live… every night.
In the early 90’s, while visiting her son David and his family in London, Rosie toured the Royal Air Force Museum, The Imperial War Museum, and the Duxford Air Museum where she stood next to dozens of planes (Allied and Axis) that she had never seen up close, but could still easily identify from the ground.
On September 11, 2001, Rosie and Burt were on a cruise in the Baltic Sea. They learned about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center when the ship pulled into port in Tallinn, Estonia. A local military band welcomed the Americans by playing “The Star Spangled Banner”. The only Estonians she knew personally were her grandparents, yet scores of her Estonian relatives showed up and gave them a welcome fit for a king and queen. Rosie loved telling the story of that day.
Rosie loved airplanes and spaceships and music and theater and movies and Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers. She loved Star Trek AND Star Wars. She loved horses and horse-racing, sewing, and British comedy shows. She loved to travel, especially to Las Vegas with Linda Jean. The ocean was one of her favorite destinations. She was a long-time member of LACMA, loved sushi, and always enjoyed reading a good book.
Most of all, Rosie loved her kids.
Rosie was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Burton Sharp. She is survived by her children, Michele Sharp, Pamela Sharp, Karen Sharp Lancaster (David Lancaster), David Sharp (Marlene Moore), Daniel Sharp (Lynn Sable) and Stacie Sharp (Tom Bull) and her grandsons, Aaron Sharp, Nick Weissman (Julia Myron), Spencer Sharp, and Jack Lancaster. She is also survived by her sister, Linda Jean Ashton, and a very large extended family.
There will be a memorial service at a later date due to the pandemic.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Rosemary Sharp, to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank https://www.lafoodbank.org/ or https://fixnation.org/, a non-profit spay/neuter clinic for feral and homeless cats.