On Augu. 28, 2019, Robert (“Bobby”) Sharpe passed away after a heroic battle with terminal brain cancer. He died peacefully in his home in Snowmass Village, Colorado, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his 101-year-old mother, Rose Jean Sharpe; by his wife, Deborah; and three children: Sarah, Jennifer and Jeremy, and their spouses, Rob Mugford (fiancé), Charlie Ridley and Alexis Sharpe; and his sisters, Vicki Bacal, Linda Sharpe, Margie Hayes, and Deborah Sharpe. Bobby also leaves behind two grandsons: William and James Ridley.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Bobby’s incredible career took him to the movie business in Los Angeles and the garment industry in Minnesota before being drawn to Tucson, Arizona, where he earned a law degree in 1982 from the University of Arizona. His vision to create the most affordable, lifestyle-oriented community in the country began in the early 1990s when he acquired the land that would one day become Rancho Sahuarita, a community that has received both local and national accolades.
Today, Rancho Sahuarita, at only half complete, is a thriving community, of more than 18,000 residents and 5,700 homes. Its residents have access to hundreds of events, beautiful amenities, and community conveniences like shopping and dining. Now, nearly 20 years after the first home closed, families call Rancho Sahuarita home. Families have grown there and experienced all that Bobby envisioned. The community thrives because his initial vision – of “Creating a Better Life” for families.
Bobby’s legacy is forever imprinted in neighborhoods of Southern Arizona. His signature tree lined neighborhood streets with sidewalks – an innovative concept for Southern Arizona when built in the 1990s – and the award-winning master planned community of Rancho Sahuarita, have impacted tens of thousands of people.
Bobby was an active member of the Urban Land Institute for over 25 years. His unquenchable thirst for knowledge and best practices was prevalent throughout his personal life and professional career, and he was always quick to share what he learned for the benefit of others. He served in many member leadership roles for the global organization, spoke on panels, and organized and funded research projects to further the dialogue about the challenges facing the industry.
After being diagnosed with glioblastoma in March of 2015, Bobby approached the battle with the disease head on; with the same tenacity, persistence and determination that made him a successful land developer. He devoted himself to the search for a cure, with hope for himself, but with greater hope for the future. He raised over $1 million for brain cancer awareness and research. Research that holds the promise of benefiting others with this disease. Through a partnership with the National Brain Tumor Society, the Sharpe Brain Cancer Research Awards have helped to fund top institutions throughout the county in their effort to provide better treatments for individuals with brain cancer that can quickly move to clinical trial phases.
Bobby’s eternal optimism is evident in his motto, “Today is Good Day.” He has passed out over 10,000 “Today is a Good Day” stickers, established the Today is a Good Day Foundation and touched thousands of people through his inspirational story and outlook on life. Bobby’s bright light will be missed, yet those that knew him and those who have heard his story will continue to be inspired by his indomitable spirit, his eternal optimism, and his kindness towards others.
Contributions may be made in memory of Bobby to the National Brain Tumor Society via www.braintumor.org or via check mailed to 55 Chapel Street, Suite 200, Newton MA, 02458. Please include his name.