King Hezekiah Sharp, 96, shipyard welder

Posted: September 24, 2013

GROWING UP in Southwest Philadelphia, Hezzie Sharp was said to be the most handsome boy in the neighborhood.

"He could have gotten any girl, but he only had eyes for Ruth," his family said.

That was Ruth Griffin, his childhood friend. As they grew older, friendship blossomed into love, and they married while still teenagers on Oct. 9, 1936.

Theirs was a love story that touched the hearts of family and friends. It endured for 60 years, until her death in 1997.

King Hezekiah "Hezzie" Sharp, a welder, devoted family man and church deacon, died Sept. 13. He was 96 and lived in West Philadelphia.

Hezzie was born in Ahoskie, N.C., to William P. and Mary Harrell Sharp. The family moved to Philadelphia when he was 4. He attended West Philadelphia High School.

He worked at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard as a welder, and at Dodge Steel as a welder and burner. He retired in 1982.

His spiritual life began with Mount Zion Baptist Church, and in 1984 he joined Mount Carmel Baptist under the leadership of Pastor Albert Campbell.

He was ordained a deacon on Feb. 5, 1991, and became deacon emeritus on Nov. 13, 2005. He was a member of Men of Mount Carmel.

Hezzie was a longtime member of Masonic Corinthian Lodge 114, and later became a Shriner. Last July, he was honored as the oldest member of Corinthian Lodge 114.

"Hezzie was everyone's dad, grandpa and uncle, and became a great friend to everyone he met," his family said.

"His favorite line - especially to women - was, 'I'm doing fine now that I've seen you.' "

Everybody cherished his "wonderful smile," and were always awed by his phenomenal memory.

He is survived by two daughters, Ruth Ann Pigford and Zelvia Faire; a sister, Agnes Scranton; six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.

Services: 11 a.m. tomorrow at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 58th and Race streets. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park.

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