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A Biographical Diorama

Artie Shaw / Star Dust (1940)


My father-in-law – Walter Sharp – passed away on February 8, 2023 at the age of 93. There is a service for him on February 17th. Walter was born in 1929 just a few weeks after the great stock market crash. He was an amazing person. Among other things, he was a Navy veteran, an inventor, author, master craftsman, professor at The Ohio State University and maker of the best pickles I’ve ever tasted. A true Renaissance man who was kind and gentle and always had great stories to tell about events in his life.

I thought of creating some tribute for him for the service. I decided to create something I call a “biographical diorama” that would show the major events in his life. Never heard of a biographical diorama before and might have invented this form of diorama.

Initial Sketch for Walt’s Biographical Diorama

The best way to show his life seemed to be by creating a large “S” shaped road with the events of his life along the road. I sketched out the initial concept on last Saturday night. On Sunday, a primed and sprayed a 24″ x 12″ piece of wood. I sprayed it with a green coat of rough textured paint over the piece of wood and then painted a road on it in the form of a wide letter “S.”Then I made up boxes in the Pages application on my MacBook Pro. In each decade box I put the decade and how old Walt was at the start of the decade. I printed out the sheet with the decades on it on an orange sheet of card stock paper. Then, I made little boxes that had a date and an event that happened on this date. I printed these out on a yellow piece of yardstick paper.

Doc Sharp’s Famous Pickles

I added a number of color photos of objects in Walt’s life downloaded from searches on Google clicking the Images button. I added a few objects like a small palm tree on a island to represent the year Walt taught at the University of the Bahamas. I put an old convertible car and a family in it to represent Walt and his family’s move from Charleston, WV to Columbus, Ohio. I put in little figures to represent Walt and his wife Nancy and his two children Stephanie and Doug.

One of Walt’s favorite songs was the 1940 version of “Star Dust” by Artie Shaw. I bought Shaw’s “Star Dust” on the Apple Music Store. I placed a small little Anker blue-tooth speaker under the diorama and it will play while the diorama is on view at Walt’s service.

Being a master craftsman, I think that Walt might have approved of my little diorama. It’s just something small to honor the passing of a man I was honored to know. Much love to you Walt.

Dr. Walter M. Sharp, Jr.


Obituary for Walter Maynard Sharp, Jr.

1929 – 2023

Walter M. Sharp, PhD of New Albany, Ohio, born November 23, 1929 to Blanche Louise Lewis Sharp and Walter M. Sharp, Sr. in Charleston, WV passed away on February 8, 2023 at Johnstown Pointe in Johnstown, Ohio. He was married to Nancy Rhodes Douglas Sharp for 65 years until her passing in 2016. 

Dr. Sharp is survived by daughter Stephanie Sharp Fraim and her husband John P. Fraim III and son Douglas Lewis Sharp and his wife Julie Leigh Sharp. His grandchildren are Stephen Douglas Sharp (wife Megan), Andrew Sharp Ullman (wife Kelly), Sarah Nancy Gutting (husband Casey), Daniel Douglas Sharp and Ryan Leigh Sharp. His great grandsons are Chase Zachary Sharp and Owen Sanford Ullman.

Walter attended seventeen different high schools during the Great Depression as his family moved frequently to find work and manage expenses. In his senior year of high school, he met a vivacious young majorette named Nancy Rhodes Douglas, who he would later marry in 1951. He graduated from South Charleston High School, WV in 1948 where he was Student Council President. After graduation from high school he spent a short time as a disk jockey at a local radio station.

He started his college career at Marshall University in Huntington, WV in 1949. In 1951, after two years of college, he joined the Navy and served four years on the USS Cadmus during the Korean War. When Walt finished his Navy responsibilities, he returned to Marshall and completed his degree receiving a BA in Secondary Education.

In 1956, the family moved to Columbus, Ohio where he taught at North High School from 1956-1961. During this period, he earned his Masters Degree in Education from The Ohio State University. Walter also taught evening classes at Franklin University at this time. He taught typing and business education at Walnut Ridge High School in Columbus from 1961-1967 and was an administrator in Business and Office Education at Eastland Vocational School from 1967 to 1971.

In the early 1970’s, he patented the Diatype Analyzer, which analyzes typing technique and improves keyboarding skills. He partnered with Battelle Memorial Institute to market and distribute Diatype. Battelle went on to obtain fifty-two patents world-wide on the Diatype Analyzer. The device was bought by over six thousand schools all over the world. At this time, Walter also received a patent on the Word Pacesetter, which was one of the early examples of voice recognition technology.

Walter returned to OSU where he obtained a PhD in 1984. He served as Professor of Business Practices for the medical and law schools. In 1985, he became an Educational Consultant to the World Bank for developing programs at the College of the Bahamas in Nassau, Bahamas. 

Dr. Sharp was the author of six books on the Diatype Analyzer program, co-author of the software program Key Champ, and co-author of a series of five books called Wall Street for South-Western Publishing Company.

In recognition of Walter’s “significant and outstanding achievement” in the field of vocational-technical education, he was awarded the Centennial Award by The Ohio State University.

Throughout his life, he had several hobbies such as orchid growing and wood working. He loved to travel. He and Nancy traveled to many places such as Europe, Hawaii and California as well Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. 

Services honoring Walter’s life will be held at Schoedinger Funeral home at 1051 E. Johnstown Road in Gahanna on Friday, February 17th. Visitation hours are from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM with a memorial service following at 1:00 PM. Interment immediately after the service will be at Maplewood Cemetery in New Albany next to his wife Nancy. 

Dr. Sharp requested that donations go to the Lettuce Work Foundation, a non-profit organization in New Albany founded by his son Doug and daughter-in-law Julie Sharp to help young adults with autism. Donations can be made online at or mailed to Lettuce Work, 14985 Fancher Rd., New Albany, Ohio 43054. 

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