Graydon Linwood “Grady” Sharpe, 91, of Chelsea, passed away peacefully Feb. 16, 2020, at the Maine Veterans Home in Augusta.
He was born in Caribou Jan. 4, 1929, the son of Linwood and Madelyn (Lister) Sharpe.
Grady earned his pilot’s license in 1946, at the age of 17, and flying became his life’s work. He served in the Army during the Korean War. After his Army service, Grady returned to Caribou and was hired as a pilot at the Fort Fairfield Airport and later at the Old Town Airport. Meanwhile, he married Edwena Amsden and they had three children.
Grady served as chief pilot for the State of Maine Executive Aircraft for 26 years.
He was the recipient of the Gadabout Gaddis Award, which is presented by the Maine Aeronautics Association to an individual who has fostered and supported aviation in Maine and made significant contributions to the flying community. He was also the recipient of both the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award and the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.
Grady’s daughter Karen fondly recalls the time she shared with her father in the air. A particularly fond memory followed Grady’s restoration of a 1949 Aeronca Champ. He gave Karen flying lessons in this airplane and eventually soloed her on the grass beside Runway 26 at the Augusta Airport. In the winter, Grady put the “Champ” on snow skis and he and Karen flew in and out of frozen lakes and ponds.
Grady married Agnes Ryan in 1981, and in retirement he started a business restoring antique airplanes. He was a founding member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 87. He also volunteered at the Owls Head Transportation Museum for many years. At the museum, he was delighted to be able to fly and work on many of the antique aircraft there.
Grady was predeceased by his sister, Dorothy Allen, of Caribou.
He is survived by his wife, Agnes; his daughter, Karen Sharpe and her husband, Jefferson Dobbs, of Bar Harbor; sons, Graydon K. Sharpe, of Ware, Mass., and Timothy Sharpe, of Somerville, Mass.; his grandchildren, Gabrielle Istvan and Graydon Dobbs.