Jean Michels Sharpe M.D.

A remarkable woman of “the Greatest Generation” has gone to be with her maker. Born in Chicago, Ill and raised in the depression, she leaves a notable legacy. She received a scholarship to study chemistry and was enrolled at Illinois Institute of Technology at age 17. She completed her degree in three years, while simultaneously working to help support herself and her family. While in college, she became the Illinois women's cycling champion and went on to compete in the National Championship in Pasadena, CA in 1941. Despite her limited racing experience she won 2 of the 3 races to claim the Women's National Bicycling Championship.

After graduation, she returned to California, obtaining a degree in meteorology from UCLA. Wanting to serve her country, she enlisted in the US Army in 1944, initially as a meteorologist. However, she was soon re-assigned to be trained as a physical therapist and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, completing her tour of duty in Berlin in 1947.

In 1949 she enrolled as a medical student at the University of Southern California and then went on to a residency in Orthopedic surgery. In 1959, she moved to Lompoc, CA, where she set up the first orthopedic practice in the community. There she met and married her husband Bruce Sharpe in 1962. Together, they had two children, Kip and Francie. After Bruce died in 1973, she balanced the demands of work along with raising two children as a single parent.

She served the Lompoc community for over 30 years, many of those years as the only orthopedist in town. She enjoyed a reputation of being a 'tough doctor' sometime feared, but always respected by her patient. As a citizen of the Lompoc community, she participated in and supported the Presbyterian church and the Sierra Club. She was engaged in the support and maintenance of La Purisima Mission, serving as a board member during the conception and construction of the visitor's center.

After retirement, she served several medical missions in the faraway places of Somalia, Bhutan, and Indonesia. Her final 14 years were spent living with her son's family in Arizona enjoying her 5 grandchildren.

She leaves a legacy of hard work, dogged determination, fearlessness, and a heart for the down-trodden. She left the world a better place.

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