On January 11, 2006, a flag was flown over the United States Capitol. The certificate that accompanied it reads, “This flag is flown in honor of the life of Beverley D. Sharp, Past President of The Ninety- Nines, Inc. International Organization of Women Pilots, and her many contributions to aviation education and safety that she made to this nation and this world.” Bev’s story is best told through the impact she had on others, from community activism to education to The Ninety-Nines. Bev learned to fly in the early 1980s and joined The Ninety-Nines in 1982. She accumulated over 1,000 hours of flight time, much of it in her Beechcraft Baron. She became an Aviation Safety Counselor for the FAA. She co-authored the FAA Accident Prevention Counselor Handbook. She started a program for her Chapter through Herndon High School’s Success Campaign called Flunkbusters, one that rewarded students who greatly improved their GPAs with a free flight. Thelma Calbert, friend and founder of Herndon’s Success Campaign, said, “It let the students say, ‘Here’s a lady who not only flies but has her own plane.’ They looked up to her.”
Bev served in every Chapter office, as a Mid-Atlantic Section Treasurer and Governor, as International Treasurer and then as International President from 1998-2000. Friend Doris Abbate said, "Bev was a genuine grassroots 99, she never lost sight of the forest for the trees, during and after her tenure in high office."
"We watched and admired her,” said Barbara Rohde, friend and sister Washington DC Chapter member. “We watched and admired as she started a program to encourage women to learn to fly that would eventually become the Future Woman Pilot program. We watched and admired as she led our Chapter in raising and donating our funds to create a permanent Amelia Earhart Flight Instructor Scholarship in honor of a Chapter member who had been killed. We watched and admired as she would encourage all of us to join the Wings Program for Safety offered by the FAA. We watched and admired as the FAA Administrator, Jane Garvey, readjusted her schedule to attend our Chapter event in 2001 to honor Bev. We watched and admired when faced with adversity she always had a smile, maybe a little giggle, but always showed us the courage of her convictions."
In the 1960s she was one of the people who moved to Reston, Virginia (Robert E Simon’s “New Town”) because of the principles upon which it was founded, including diversity of all kinds. “Her work back then helped shape Reston into what it is today,” said her husband Ed Sharp, who affectionately referred to his wife as a “constructive agitator.”
Bev was active in her community, in many organizations and served on the boards of the United Way, National Association of Parliamentarians and Icarus International, to mention just a few. She received many awards for involvement, contributions and vocal cheerleading. In 2005 she was honored by BWI Airport (Baltimore Washington International) and Southwest Airlines as an African American Aviation Pioneer. "She was vibrant, exciting, interested, curious," said Reston founder Robert E. Simon. "The breadth of her interests is what knocks me out.” He also said he was impressed that she played on a soccer team, was a member of the Virginia State Parliamentary Association, was a crossword puzzle aficionado who traveled each year to crossword conventions and was a “fantastic cook.”
Bev, born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on August 1, 1943, flew to new horizons on January 6, 2006 after a second bout with cancer and a lengthy illness. She is survived by her husband Edward and two sons, Edward Sharp II of New York and Samuel Sharp of Ashburn, and two grandchildren, Gabriela and Sebastian.
—Compiled from remarks by Barbara Rohde, letter by Doris Abbate and Times Community Newspapers .