Not many people have the opportunity to sample the country the way Dr. John Sharp and his wife, Patricia, have.
She grew up near St. Louis, and he is from Monte Vista, where his father helped build Wolf Creek Ski Area. They both attended William Jewell College outside Kansas City before living in Denver while John finished medical school at the University of Colorado. Two stints in the Air Force took the couple around the world, hitting Colorado, Texas, Maine, Washington, D.C., New York, New Hampshire and Germany.
Between those stints, they also lived in San Antonio, Texas, where John served as the CEO of a hospital; Kansas City, where he worked with the University of Missouri’s school of medicine; and, for a three brief years in the late 1970s, in Steamboat Springs.
When it came time to retire, they say it wasn’t hard to decide where to put down roots. To them, the Yampa Valley curse just seemed like common sense.
“What we missed most was the skiing,” Pat says. “We were both downhill skiers, and we loved it. I wasn’t that athletic as a young person, but I really loved to ski.”
John had a private practice as an internist during their first stay in Steamboat in 1974. When they returned in 1999, they were ready to retire or at least try their own version of it. John now runs a private Gastroenterology practice out of the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat one afternoon per week. Pat serves as a receptionist for the practice.
The pair, both 71 years old and a year away from their 50th anniversary, have three children: Michael Sharp, 45, who lives in Austin; Brett, who passed away at 26; and Erik, who was born in Steamboat and now is 36 and living in Denver.
They’ve managed to stay plenty busy, first with three grandchildren, then with a heap of giving back to the community. They’ve helped lead the Good Life Biblical Counseling Center at Euzoa Bible Church, and Pat ran Yampa Valley Medical Center’s Rubber Ducky Race for years and has worked extensively with the Pregnancy Crisis Center, a mission she was inspired to help after adopting their two oldest children.
“That really is my heart,” she says. “I do it to honor their mothers’ decisions to put them up for adoption.”
It’s been a winding road, but given the chance to make impacts around the globe, they happily did so.
“The lesson really is anything you decide to do, you can do,” Sharp says. “Never quit. Never give up on it.”