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William Hafford Sharp
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Birth: Apr. 26, 1926
Decatur
Morgan County
Alabama, USA
Death: Mar. 14, 2010
Jacksonville
Duval County
Florida, USA

William Hafford Sharp, 83, passed peacefully on March 14, 2010 in Jacksonville, FL. He was born in Decatur, AL to the late Roy and Cleta Mae Sharp. He enlisted and served his country proudly during WWII with the U.S. Navy. He was a faithful and devoted member of Mandarin Baptist Church for over 30 years and was ordained as a minister. He loved to teach the word of the Lord in Sunday school, preaching at Wyndam Lakes, was an avid reader. He especially enjoyed sharing his testimony of being one of 22 survivors of the U.S.S. Indianapolis left. Over 883 soldiers perished in the sinking of the Naval Ship. He was dearly loved by his family and his legacy will live on through them. Hafford leaves behind to cherish his memory, his wife of 35 years, Faye; daughters, Ginger (Milton) Greer, Molly Jenkins; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his church family and friends. Family will have visiting hours on Tuesday, March 16th from 6-8 p.m. at HARDAGE GIDDENS MANDARIN CHAPEL, 11801 San Jose Blvd. A Celebration of his life will take place on March 17th, at 10 a.m. at Mandarin Baptist Church, 11244 San Jose Blvd. Interment will follow at Jacksonville National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the church in his name. Arrangements are entrusted to Hardage Giddens Funeral Home, 904-288-0025.

William Hafford Sharp, a longtime Jacksonville resident who survived four days in shark-filled waters during World War II, died Sunday. He was 83.

Mr. Sharp's daughter, Molly Jenkins of Jacksonville, said he died after falling in his home and striking his head.

A native of Decatur, Ala., Mr. Sharp was a 19-year-old seaman aboard the USS Indianapolis when it was torpedoed by the Japanese a few minutes after midnight July 30, 1945.

He was one of about 900 men out of a crew of 1,196 who made it into the water before the heavy cruiser sank abut 450 miles from the Philippines. For four days Navy officials were unaware that those men, most left floating in the Pacific without food and water, were surrounded by sharks.

In a 2008 interview with The Florida Times-Union, Mr. Sharp said he began hallucinating by the third day. "Your mind was gone," he said.

Eventually he was picked up by a Navy seaplane, which was so crowded with survivors they tied him to a wing, Mr. Sharp said.

In the end, only 317 men survived. The ordeal was later recalled in a memorable scene from the movie "Jaws."

After the war, Mr. Sharp moved back to Decatur and worked a variety of jobs, including as pastor of five churches. He came to Jacksonville in 1976 to teach at Victory Christian Academy and later retired here.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Sharp is survived by his wife, Faye Sharp, another daughter, Ginger Greer of Pikeville, Tenn., a son, Jeff Ripper of Jacksonville, and five grandchildren.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Mandarin Baptist Church, 11244 San Jose Blvd. Interment will follow at the Jacksonville National Cemetery.
 
 
Burial:
Jacksonville National Cemetery
Jacksonville
Duval County
Florida, USA
 
Created by: Sundance
Record added: Mar 16, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 49777266
William Hafford Sharp
Added by: Sundance
 
William Hafford Sharp
Added by: Family Line Keeper
 
William Hafford Sharp
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Cindy
 
 
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Rest in peace.
- Lauren's Mom
 Added: Nov. 14, 2011
I was once a student of Mr. Sharp's when he taught at Victory Christian School. He and I didn't get along. Actually that's a gross understatement we despised one another! But there came the day when Mr. Sharp told us his story of surviving the sinkin...(Read more)
- Tony Middleton
 Added: Jun. 21, 2011

- Susan
 Added: Mar. 16, 2010
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