Friday, March 14, 2014

Byron James Sharp 1921-2009

Byron James Sharp died on Thursday, August 27, 2009. He fought and won the battle of his first form of cancer, losing to an unrelated second form of cancer. His mind stayed brilliant to the end. He resided at 3667 West 8420 South in West Jordan, Utah at the time of his death.

He was born on October 13, 1921 to Dr. John F. Sharp and Luella Ferrin Sharp in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He graduated from East High School in 1938. He married Elaine Spalding Sharp in the Salt Lake Temple on June 18, 1947. He was a member of the LDS Church.

He is survived by three children, David Spalding Sharp and his wife Carol, Taylorsville; Douglas Spalding Sharp, American Fork; Dianne Sharp-Roberg and her husband Michael, West Jordan; four grandchildren Dylan Sharp, Daniel Sharp, Jennifer Roberg-Fulger, and Rebecca Roberg-Flegal. Preceded in death by his wife Elaine Spalding Sharp.

During World War II he was a reserve 2nd Lt. and went on active in May of 1942 at Camp Roberts California in the infantry. While there he volunteered for the Glider Pilot Training Program. In June 1944, he flew a glider in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day. He received the Air Medal for the Normandy mission.

Upon his return to Utah, he attended the University of Utah and received a PhD in geology and mineralogy in 1955. He worked for the USGS while mapping the geology of the Wasatch Front and Park City areas. In the mid 1950's he discovered a fossil in the House Range of central western Utah, considered Middle Cambrian age. The fossil was named after him; Pseudoarctolepis Sharpi.

In 1968, Byron and a colleague, Robert E. Cohenour co-authored and published "The Impact Theory" in a publication named "Geo Science News". The Impact Theory presented the results of asteroid impacts on the earth including structural damage and mass extinctions of many life forms. The authors came under much criticism from all sides of the scientific community. As time passed the theory became accepted more and more until finally it has been universally accepted. He transferred to the Atomic Energy Commission during the uranium boom, and stayed until his retirement in 1976.

Due to his expertise on air photo interpretation he performed some special projects for the CIA during the Cold War. During his retirement years, a new project of mapping and collecting Early Man artifacts in the Western United States became his passion, referred to fondly as "Raunchy Bunchin". He donated information and artifacts to the Center for the Study of the First Americans. He became the recipient of the 1993 Marie Wormington Award.

He was an amazing artist. He loved to ski, play baseball, ping pong, and tennis. He said recently, "I've had a great life; I wouldn't trade it with anyone!" Through his many accomplishments in life, his family was his top priority and ultimate happiness. Humble, kind, generous and sweet, anyone who met him admired him immensely. A true man of integrity. We loved him dearly.