Robert ‘Bobby’ Sharpe
On August 28th, Robert “Bobby” Sharpe passed away after a heroic, 4.5-year battle with terminal brain cancer. He died peacefully in his home in Snowmass Village, Colorado surrounded by his family. He is survived by his 101-year-old mother, Rose Jean Sharpe; his wife, Deborah; three children: Sarah, Jennifer, and Jeremy; their spouses: Robert Mugford (Fiancé), Charles Ridley, and Alexis Sharpe; and his sisters, Vicki Bacal, Linda Sharpe, Margie Hayes, and Deborah Sharpe. Bobby also leaves behind two grandsons: William and James Ridley.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Bobby’s incredible career took him to the movie business in Los Angeles and the garment industry in Minnesota before being drawn to Tucson, Arizona, where he earned a law degree in 1982 from the University of Arizona. His vision to create the most affordable, lifestyle-oriented community in the country began in the early 1990’s when he acquired the land that would one day become Rancho Sahuarita, a community Bobby developed that has received both local and national accolades. Today, Rancho Sahuarita, at only half complete, is a thriving community of more than 18,000 residents and 5,700 homes. Its residents have access to hundreds of events, beautiful amenities, and community conveniences like shopping and dining. Through Rancho Sahuarita, Bobby fulfilled his vision of “Creating a Better Life” for families.
Bobby always had a special connection to the Aspen Valley, getting engaged to Deborah in Snowmass in 1978 and later making Snowmass his home. He loved hiking, bike riding, yoga, skiing, JAS concerts, hosting the “Sharpe Tarp” every Thursday night at the Fanny Hill Summer concerts, and most of all, his local community and dear, supportive friends.
Bobby served on the Board of Jazz Aspen Snowmass, National Council of Aspen Sante Fe Ballet and Theater Aspen, and as a Fellow of the Aspen Institute. He was also an active member of the Urban Land Institute for over 25 years, serving in many leadership roles for the global organization.
After being diagnosed with glioblastoma in March of 2015, Bobby approached his battle with the disease head on, with the same tenacity, persistence, and determination that made him a successful land developer. He devoted himself to the search for a cure, with hope for himself, but with greater hope for the future. He raised over one million dollars for brain cancer awareness and research. Through a partnership with the National Brain Tumor Society, the Sharpe Brain Cancer Research Awards have helped fund top institutions throughout the county in their effort to develop innovative treatments for individuals with brain cancer.
Bobby’s eternal optimism is evident in his motto “Today is a Good Day.” He had passed out over 10,000 “Today is a Good Day” stickers, established the Today is a Good Day Foundation, and touched thousands of people through his inspirational story and outlook on life.
Bobby wrote that after his diagnosis, “I quickly concluded that being sad, disappointed, bitter, or worried was unproductive. … I realized that I had everything to gain by spending the remaining days of my life having an optimistic, positive and grateful attitude, being thoughtful and encouraging, and doing things that bring joy happiness and fulfillment to others. Improving the lives of others is inspirational and makes my life more productive and meaningful.”
Bobby’s bright light will be missed, yet those who knew him and who have heard his story will continue to be inspired by his indomitable spirit, his eternal optimism, and his kindness towards others.
Contributions may be made in memory of Bobby to the National Brain Tumor Society via http://www.braintumor.org or via check mailed to 55 Chapel Street, Suite 200, Newton MA, 02458. Please be sure to include his name.