Clayton’s Christmas Card

By Ralphine Major

His Christmas card was postmarked November 23, 2022. It included a picture of him wearing his traditional white cowboy hat. Little did we know that this Christmas card would be the last one from Clayton Sharp. Clayton passed away on January 18, 2023.

The Sharps lived on the next ridge over from us. Our father went to Gibbs High School with Betty and Clayton Sharp. I’ve known their names for as long as I can remember. My brother, Wayne, and I went to school with their sons, Rancy and Monty. Rancy was in my class for all 12 grades, and Monty’s class was a year ahead of Wayne’s. Several years ago, I wrote about The Sharps and all the volunteer work they did along with the many awards and recognitions they had received. Sadly, Betty passed away in 2019.

Clayton lived an amazing and extraordinary life, some of which included being active in his church, helping start a Boy Scout Troop, and for many years demonstrating the skill of blacksmithing at the Museum of Appalachia. Just over one year ago, I wrote about Clayton’s 100th birthday. Early this year, he turned 101!

“He was one of a kind! He loved everyone and everyone loved him,” Rancy said of his father.

Our family appreciated Clayton for sharing many thoughts with our family about our father from the times they spent together in their younger years.

“I got to spend the last 16 days of his life with him talking to him during his good moments and taking a trip on his rabbit trails! I was blessed to be with him as he approached heaven,” Rancy shared.

“It Is Well With My Soul” was Clayton’s favorite song. “He was singing it just a few days before he passed,” Rancy said.

The longtime member of Clapp’s Chapel United Methodist Church received full military honors with the 21-gun salute, and a flag was presented to Rancy.

“I want to thank his caregivers for walking with him and my mom since 2018,” Rancy said. “I was proud to say I was Clayton Sharp’s son!”

Words of Faith include the beautiful scripture of Psalm 23 (KJV), Clayton’s favorite: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”