March 6, 1935 - March 10, 1935
Robert Andrew Sharp built lifelong relationships with publishing executives during his nearly 40-year career selling newsprint. In retirement, he started a successful Dallas business selling newsprint recycled in South Korea.
Sharp, 80, died March 10 in hospice care at Mustang Creek Estates in Frisco.
A celebration of Sharp’s life will be at 4 p.m. March 29 at Frisco Lakes Golf Club, where he was a member.
“He always put the customer first — always,” said his wife, Dianna Weaver Sharp of Frisco. “He had a boss say to him once, ‘If it weren’t for these customers, we wouldn’t have all these problems.’
“My husband looked at him and said, ‘If it weren’t for the customers, we wouldn’t have paychecks.’”
Sharp was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, and graduated from Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wis. He served in the Army in Germany. In 1959, he received a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., where he was president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
He followed in his father’s footsteps and joined Kimberly-Clark Corp., starting his career in the paper firm’s consumer products division in Baltimore. In the early 1960s, Sharp was transferred to Dallas, where he was regional manager of newsprint for 30 years.
Sharp serviced newspapers across the South and Midwest. His larger North Texas customers included The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He built friendships with owners and publishers regardless of their paper’s size. “They were all the same to him,” his wife said.
In 1989, Sharp took early retirement from Kimberly-Clark and joined competitor Champion International, where he was director of marketing and sales for the newsprint group.
“The customers went with him,” Dianna Sharp said. Kimberly-Clark had to idle equipment to compensate for the lost sales, she said.
Sharp retired after eight years with Champion. In 1998, he was drawn out of retirement by a summer golf-course encounter in Wisconsin. Another golfer had a Miami-based business that recycled American paper at South Korean newsprint mills.
“He called Bob and asked if he could get rid of 15 tons of recycled newsprint,” Dianna Sharp said. Her husband called back in 15 minutes and asked if he had any more paper.
“The guy about fainted,” she said. “From there on, Bob went from working for big corporations to working for himself.”
He founded Sharpsco Paper, a Dallas-based recycled-newsprint brokerage business. Most of his customers were in California, where the South Korean newsprint could easily be imported. Sharp operated his brokerage business until about 10 years ago, when his supplier’s mill was purchased.
Sharp maintained the business friendships he started half a century earlier.
Late in his career, his wife suggested they broaden their social circle so that they would have friends in retirement.
“He informed me that his customers would always be his friends, and he was right,” she said.
Sharp moved to Frisco in 2008.
In addition to his wife, Sharp is survived by two sons, Andrew Sharp of La Grange, Ga., and Bill Sharp of Atlanta; a sister, Janet Turner of Menasha, Wis.; a stepson, Robert Kingsley of Jackson, Mich.; a stepdaughter, Dana Kingsley Saffery of Frisco; and four grandchildren.
Memorials may be made to the Denton County Children’s Advocacy Center, 1854 Cain Drive, Lewisville, Texas 75077.
Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252
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