Lillian Diane Sharp, 76, of Delhi, passed away peacefully at Emanuel Medical Center on January 31 due to a brief and unexpected illness. She was married to her loving husband Johnny Lee Sharp for 40 years, until his untimely death in 1997, and she was a homemaker, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Lillian is survived by a large and loving family including her children, Tammy Prosser (Larry) of Hilmar, John Sharp (Rhonda) of Stevinson, Annette Henderson (Lee) of Apple Valley, and Kevin Sharp (Myra) of Modesto. She is also survived by her brother, Arnold Mello (Elizabeth) of Delhi, sister Mary Mello of Delhi, and brother John Mello (Conni) of Atwater, along with 18 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren. In addition to her husband John Sharp, Lillian was preceded in death by her mother, Lillian Freitas, and father John Mello.
Lillian was born on the island of Terciera, Azores, on May 17, 1939, to John and Lillian Mello. In 1949, John Mello decided to move the family from the Azores to the United States. After a seven-day voyage to New York City, and an extended bus trip across the country, the family landed in California, settling in Los Banos where Lillian’s father found work as a dairyman. While growing up, Lillian attended various schools in Los Banos, Santa Nella, and Hilmar. She was voted the Stevinson Festa Parade Queen of 1956. While attending Hilmar High School, Lillian met and fell in love with Johnny Lee Sharp. They soon married in 1957 and began to raise a family. After a few years John and Lillian took the family to Northern California, settling in Crescent City where John found employment in the lumber, real estate, and housing industries. Lillian acted as homemaker and raised the family, which grew to four children. During these years, Lillian was active in the Lioness Club and came to know numerous acquaintances with whom she became lifelong friends. John and Lillian moved back to the Central Valley in 1984 to be close to family. Lillian spent the last 25 years working at M & M Corner Market where she came to know many customers and acquaintances over the years. She recently retired in December 2015 and was looking forward to traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Lillian was a lovely woman and possessed a beautiful soul. She valued her family above all else, and she considered her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as her greatest accomplishment in life. She was a generous person and will be greatly missed by all of those who knew her. The family would like to express our thanks to Lillian’s best friend, Ms. Judy Butler who, in addition to being a close and valued friend to Lillian, was of great assistance during the last few days of Lillian’s life.
A visitation for Lillian will be held at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock, on Thursday, February 4, from 3 to 7 p.m. Services will be held at the same location on Friday, February 5, at 2 p.m. Interment will follow at Turlock Memorial Park.
All family, friends, and anyone who knew Lillian are welcome to attend. A reception will immediately follow.