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Sharp celebrates 109 years

In 1904, when Conyers resident Mary Lee Sharp was born, the world was a very different place. That year, Ford rolled out the Model B and C, the game Monopoly was patented, Cy Young pitched the first perfect game, the Georgia-Florida rivalry game was born, and the world was transitioning from the 19th century to the modern age of the 20th cenutry.

Sharp was born on April 22, 1904 in Knoxville, Tenn. An accomplished musician, artist and Christian, Sharp has traveled the world performing as a musician for local churches and is even to this day a member of the Decatur Civic Chorus. "Ma Sharp" as she is affectionately known by her close friends and family has art displayed in many different galleries and continues to paint. She still actively travels, enjoying a cruise to Alaska a few years ago, and enjoys watching videos on YouTube.

Her birthday was celebrated in grand style on Monday at The Garden House assisted living home, where family, friends, residents and staff surrounded the vivacious Sharp as she was clearly elated to be celebrating the day of her birth for the 109th time.

Sharp lives by the motto "Learn something new everyday" and keeps her mind young by watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. She is still an avid painter, and many of her pieces adorn the walls at The Garden House, where she has lived for two years. She lived alone in an apartment in Decatur until she was 100. According to her daughter Mary Anne Sharp, she is still in excellent health, and the only major health issue she ever had was beating colon cancer when she was 80 years old.

"She is in better health than most of us," Mary Anne Sharp, who lives in Conyes, said of her mother Monday.

Along with cake and punch and family and friends, Sharp was recognized with a declaration presented by Rockdale County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt of April 22 as Mary Lee Sharp Day in Rockdale County.

"To know her is to love her," said Commissioner JaNice Van Ness.

Sharp was named Decatur's 2001 "Senior Ceitizen of the Year", and in 2010 she received the Mary Clark Award for outstanding support of the arts in DeKalb County. She has three children, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.