Steven Sharpe with his wife Lindsey,
The real estate community is devastated to have lost President Steven Sharpe to cancer this past week. He leaves behind his wife Lindsey, and twin daughters Molly and McKenzie, who cherished him as a loving husband and father.
Steven has exemplified what it means to be a true servant leader. Those of us on staff had a front-row seat to Steven’s leadership abilities. With every decision, Steven had the members and the good of the Association at the top of mind. His loss is felt by all of us in the realtor community.
In each of our roles with Greater Chattanooga Realtors, staff works closely with our volunteer leadership, and we are fortunate to have known and learned from him. Whether the task at hand was planning a member event, promoting an educational class, supporting our community partners, or crafting messages about current market conditions, Steven’s passion for teaching and helping others succeed shone through at all times.
I know if he were to read this message, Steven would roll his eyes and laugh uncomfortably at being on the receiving end of all this attention. Yet, we felt it best to use this space to convey some of the reasons Steven was special to so many.
Steven was not to be overlooked or ignored. Well over six feet, Steven’s presence was unmistakable. Several of his friends have said that upon first meeting him, his stature would often be intimidating. However, once you spoke with Steven, it quickly became apparent that you were dealing with someone thoughtful and measured. And once you got to know Steven, you’d experience how hilarious he could be. Steven was known for having a fantastically dry and sarcastic sense of humor. Derek English, 2023 Immediate Past President, recounts the time they spent together, “Over the past three years, we traveled to local, state, and national events together. Our time was not just about advocacy for our industry but was also full of laughter and friendship. Steven had the most genuine wit of anyone I have known, and his humor was only outweighed by his compassion and understanding of our industry.”
Steven was undoubtedly a real estate expert. His knowledge and expertise were legendary by those who worked with him in real estate matters. Steven took teachable moments and used them to help make everyone better. If there was an issue, you could be sure that Steven would find a solution.
Steven was never one to stand on the sidelines and not be in on the action, and he went out of his way to get different perspectives and personalities involved in association leadership. Although soft-spoken, Steven could be very persuasive. He was not shy in his efforts to get others involved in serving their fellow realtors in leadership roles. Winnie Paris, 2023 Chair of the Diversity Inclusion Committee, knows this very well, “One day, I was telling Steven of some of the challenges I faced being a woman of color in real estate, and he asked me if I was going to complain or do something about it. He said to get involved in the association and make a difference because no one wanted to hear me complain.”
Steven certainly walked the walk when it came to being a leader. Over his years in real estate, Steven led in many capacities, both locally and statewide. At Greater Chattanooga Realtors, Steven served on multiple committees, including Budget and Finance, Bylaws, Grievance, Member Services, Professional Standards, and Strategic Planning. He served as 2019-2020 Director, 2021 Secretary-Treasurer, 2022 President-Elect, and as President in 2023. On the state level for Tennessee Realtors, he served on Professional Standards, Residential Forms, and Risk Management Committee, and was also a 2021-2023 Director. For the National Association of Realtors, Steven was on the 2023 Leading Edge Advisory Board, and served as a 2023 Director.
With this much experience, you might expect such a person to be boisterous and brash, but this was never the case. Kadi Brown, 2023 President-Elect of Greater Chattanooga Realtors, witnessed his leadership style firsthand. “I had such respect and admiration for Steven. He had such an impact and always carried himself as a quiet leader with a humble heart for serving others.”
Steven’s dedication to service wasn’t confined just to serving clients’ real estate needs. In 2005, Steven and his wife Lindsey founded Camp Horizon, a camp designed for children with special needs. Earlier this year, Steven was recognized for his work with Camp Horizon by being awarded the Tennessee Realtors’ 2023 Good Neighbor Award. This recognition led to his being named by the National Association of Realtors as a top 10 finalist to receive the National Good Neighbor Award. To say Camp Horizon was a passion of Steven’s would be a massive understatement. Camp Horizon has helped nearly 500 kids have the time of their life.
One of the campers is Grayson, son of Laura Ledbetter, who is a realtor and worked with Steven. Laura says that once Steven learned of her son Grayson, he was insistent on Grayson attending Camp Horizon. “Steven ran to my desk and handed me a pamphlet for Camp Horizon. He said that Grayson would have the absolute time of his life, and he was right. I literally wept at the closing ceremony. I was blown away at all the hard work Steven, his wife Lindsey, and all the volunteers had done to give my sweet boy and his friends a camp experience.”
As dedicated as Steven was to his profession and helping others, it was obvious to everyone that Steven was most proud of his family. Everyone I’ve spoken with mentioned that Steven would immediately light up when you asked about his daughters. If you asked Steven about McKenzie’s soccer tournament or Molly’s tennis match, you would see Steven beam with pride. Steven was also well aware that his wife Lindsey was the glue that held their family together. In all things, Steven loved “doing life” with Lindsey and cherished her above all else.
I’ll echo what others have said – Steven was selfless in his time and energy. Steven gave his all. Steven always showed up and was truly present. And in his tragically abbreviated time here with us, he gave us all something to aspire to: truly selfless service of others.
And now we miss him, and it hurts terribly. All I can say is that I know that I, and the others who were lucky enough to call him a friend will remember him and hold his memory close as we strive to be better humans… all thanks to his example.
Steven was a longtime member of Hixson United Methodist Church, so I believe it’s fitting to close this tribute with some scripture that has comforted me in sad and trying times:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18.
Peace and rest to Steven, and love and comfort to his friends and family.
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A Memorial Service will be held at Camp Lookout (3130 Hwy. 157, Rising Fawn, Ga.) on Friday, Dec. 8, at 4:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution to Camp Horizon and/or education fund for Molly and McKenzie. Checks can be made out to Camp Horizon and mailed to 5876 Sunset Canyon Dr., Hixson TN 37343 or Venmo @camphorizon. Education fund checks need to be made out separately to Molly Sharpe and McKenzie Sharpe and can be mailed to 5876 Sunset Canyon Dr., Hixson, TN 37343 or Venmo @Lindsey-Sharpe-5 with a note for education fund.
Greater Chattanooga Realtors Staff
Steven Sharpe with his wife Lindsey, and twin daughters Molly and McKenzie