Irwin P. Sharpe, 99 of Middlebury


MIDDLEBURY — On March 7, 2021, Irwin P. Sharpe of The Residence at Otter Creek in Middlebury passed away. He was three weeks shy of his 100th birthday on March 31, 2021.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was educated at Brooklyn Tech High School, New York University and graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1942. He said that the high point of his life was falling in love with Libby Alperstein, whom he married in 1942. They raised four children, Kenneth, Bonnie, Peter, and Deborah in the home he designed in West Orange, N.J.

His first job in 1942 was as an engineer for General Electric. He was then recruited to work for the Manhattan Project until the end of World War II, when he went back to General Electric. In 1957 he started Irwin P. Sharpe and Associates, a marketing consulting firm specializing in industrial, commercial, high-tech and engineered products and services.

When he was not at work he relished taking Libby and his children on outdoor adventures: tent camping, hiking, canoeing, swimming, and skiing. His family expanded to include Peter’s wife Jill Herman, Deborah’s husband Jeff Lunstead, and Kenneth’s wife Madeleine Thomson. Later Irwin welcomed his grandchildren Sarah Sharpe, Jenny Lunstead, Julie Lunstead and Emily Sharpe Martin.

Irwin reluctantly retired — or semi-retired — in his mid 80s and was lured to Middlebury, Vt., by his daughter Debbie and her husband Jeff. They welcomed him into their lives in Middlebury and helped support his vigorous independence, first in an apartment in the Marble Works and then at the Residence at Otter Creek with their caring and thoughtful staff. Debbie and Jeff encouraged him to join them in activities in town and at Middlebury College, and he became an active member of the Middlebury Havurah, where he continued to celebrate Jewish traditions and holidays so important to him, and where he had the camaraderie of so many Middlebury residents. And, in his mid-90s, he even had the time and energy to take political philosophy and photography classes at the college. A great joy to him was his chance to be a great-grandfather to Jenny and John’s son Sam, Sarah and Eric’s daughter Addie, Julie and Ben’s daughter Lily, and Emily and Jack’s daughter Liv.

Irwin was buried in Mt. Judah Cemetery, in Ridgewood, N.Y., next to Libby on Wednesday, March 10, surrounded by his family as they celebrated their love and his life.

Donations can be made in his name to: Libby Sharpe Memorial Fund, League of Women Voters of New Jersey at; Havurah, Addison County at; and Addison County Home Health & Hospice at◊

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