Colourful Catholic educator dies

Bill "Sharpie" Sharpe-Dunn, teacher, amateur historian, ecclesiastical expert, a Catholic Weekly book reviewer, missionary and pioneer educator, died recently aged 71.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Sharpie was born in Broken Hill and attended high school with the Marist Brothers at the St Columba Seminary in Springwood.

After training for the priesthood at Springwood and then St Patrick's Seminary, Manly, he was not ordained because he didn't feel it was right for him. After leaving Manly, he joined the Trappist monks in Victoria for a couple of years.

He then went to New Zealand, where he taught in Catholic schools, before working for 16 years as a lay missionary for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Apia, Western Samoa.

Sharpie returned to Australia in 1980. He taught for the Christian Brothers junior school at Waverley and became a religious education co-ordinator at Balmain before going to St Mary's Cathedral College in 1991. He retired in 1995 but worked occasionally as a casual.

Sharpie collected scores of writings concerning St Joseph and had them bound into a book, to encourage people to "say a rosary for St Joseph". To him the saint was not a decrepit old man, but a courageous, strong person prepared to live up to his "Annunciation".

He is survived by his brother, Paul, and his family, and his sister, Sister Mary Dunn.

Educator and historian who looked to God (Sydney Morning Herald 12/01/08)

16 Jan 2008