Family dedicates new Sharpe Endowed Scholarship

PLAINVIEW – The family and friends of Ken and the late Mary Owens Sharpe gathered on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at Wayland Baptist University to dedicate a new scholarship in their name to benefit students at Wayland.

The Ken and Mary Owens Sharpe Endowed Scholarship is designated to provide scholarships for students studying to become teachers in the social sciences and servant-leaders. “Both Ken and Mary dedicated their lives to serving others and to improving their communities because the Lord they worshiped deserved nothing less than their very best,” the plaque reads.

Ken dedicated his life to the justice system, serving for 42 years as a court reporter for the state of Oklahoma. Mary spent 40 years as the pastor’s secretary at Village Baptist Church, making her one of the longest tenured staff members in any Southern Baptist Convention church. Born in Buna, Texas, Mary graduated from Jasper High School and earned a degree in elementary education from Wayland in 1969, serving all four years as the student secretary for the athletic department. She taught fifth grade at College Hill Elementary in Plainview before marrying Ken in 1973 and moving to Oklahoma City.

One of Mary’s highlights was typing all the manuscripts for Baptist elder statesman Dr. Herschel Hobbs. She also researched and wrote the history of her church, titled To God Be the Glory, which earned her a history award from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. She died Jan. 6, 2014.

Ken was born in Lubbock, graduating from Lubbock High in 1967. He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years in Texas, California and Turkey. He began court reporting school in Plainview in 1971, meeting Mary there, then starting his long career in December 1972. He retired as a senior court reporter and lives in Edmond, Okla.

Mary’s sister, Dr. Estelle Owens, serves as professor of history and dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Wayland, also her alma mater. She spoke briefly on behalf of the family about the love for service that Ken and Mary shared, modeled by their parents.

“Ken and Mary came from a long line of hard-working middle class folk who had a great sense of ethics and a great sense of appreciation for education, but not many of the world’s resources. But they learned at their parents’ feet that the important things in life are not the things we have but what we leave behind us when we go,” Owens shared, noting that both sets of parents had military service.

Endowed scholarships at Wayland are created with gifts totaling at least $25,000 that are invested for Wayland and earn interest. Once the fund reaches endowment, interest is pulled annually to create scholarship gifts for students at Wayland. For more information about scholarships, contact Amber McCloud, director of development, at 291-3430.