On June 4, 2022, at the age of 95, Rheba Ann Murray Sharpe died peacefully after a three week period of hospice at home. Born in 1926 in Ben Hill County, Georgia, she spent most of her youth and adult life on a small farm in the community of Drayton, before moving to live with her oldest daughter in 2010.
Rheba attended ABAC from 1943 to 1945, supported by money sent by her brother Jack and uncle Weyman, who both fought in World War II. There, she played on the women’s basketball team, was elected to student council, was voted best-dressed, and earned an associate’s degree in home economics. She raised two daughters as a single mother with the help of her mother, Lois B. Lane, and stepfather, WH Lane, and supported the family as a long-distance telephone operator for Southern Bell/AT&T until 1979 when she retired. after 35 years of service. A life member of the Telephone Pioneers, she remained friends with her fellow operators and remembered them fondly.
She instilled a love of reading, music, art and education in her daughters and, despite financial difficulties, provided them with a piano and lessons, took them faithfully to the Carnegie Library local every week, bought them a set of world book encyclopedias, and watched them both get master’s degrees in their chosen fields. Although she was unable to fulfill her own aspiration to go to the University of Georgia and major in clothing design due to health issues, she was a most talented seamstress and could see a garment in a magazine and reproduce it – with or without a pattern.
A faithful friend to many, she loved her family fiercely and sought to follow Jesus’ teachings until her last breath. After her retirement, she followed in her mother’s footsteps and taught the adult Sunday school class at Bethel Baptist Church for more than 25 years.
Rheba is survived by her daughters Rhonda Powell of Tucker, Georgia and Vally Sharpe of Asheville, North Carolina; his grandchildren Nicole (Jeremy) Peffer of Marietta, Ga. and Curtis (Lauren) Cochran of Atlanta; and his great-granddaughters Sophie Peffer and Mary Claire and Caroline Cochran, the joys of his life in his later years.
She is also survived by Jan Lowe, whom she considered a third daughter, and Carolyn Kimbrell, who was her best friend during her final years at Cordele and who brought her love and laughter in a phone call every week during his almost 12 years at Tucker. . She was predeceased by her brother Jack Murray, who died in a private plane crash in 1948, and her mother and stepfather.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, June 7 at 2:00 p.m. at the Rainey Family Funeral Services Chapel in Cordele, Georgia, followed by funeral services at Sunnyside Cemetery. Visitation will be at 1:00 p.m. one hour before Tuesday’s service at the funeral home.
Arrangements are handled by Rainey Family Funeral Services. An online guestbook is available at www.raineyfuneral.com