Luther Franklin Sharp, 67, social studies teacher


Luther Franklin Sharp, a retired high school social studies and humanities teacher, died of a heart attack Wednesday after shoveling snow at his Columbia home. He was 67.

Born in Elizabethton, Tenn., he earned a history degree at the University of the South and a master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also studied at Duke University. While serving in the Navy in New London, Conn., he edited the base newspaper.

Mr. Sharp taught world history and philosophy for 35 years at Catonsville High, where he also founded and coached the school's speech and debate team. He retired six years ago, then returned as a part-time teacher in advanced placement European history for three years.

"Frank had a Southern gentility and was highly intellectual, but was very good at relating to adolescents," said Beverly Hickman, Catonsville assistant principal and former social studies department chairwoman. "He nurtured many excellent student debaters who went to national tournaments and prestigious colleges. He mentored younger teachers, too. He shared his knowledge and expertise with his colleagues."

"He was a superb teacher and intellect," said Walter M. Snyder, retired Baltimore County schools personnel director and friend. "His home was filled with hundreds and hundreds of books, which he never discarded. He felt he might need to reread them one day."

Mr. Sharp subscribed to the Baltimore Opera, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre. He also traveled extensively. He read three newspapers daily and solved their crossword puzzles.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Grace and St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Park Avenue and Monument Street, where he was a vestry member.

Mr. Sharp is survived by a sister, Carolyn Sharp Hale of Raleigh, N.C.; and a niece, Marcia Russell of Winston-Salem, N.C.

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