Edward M. Sharpe was born on a farm in Bay County, Michigan, on December 18, 1887. He was of Scottish and Irish descent and attended rural public schools in his youth. Sharpe graduated from Ferris Institute and then from the University of Michigan Law School in 1914. He was admitted to the Bar that same year.
For five years, Sharpe was a teacher in public schools before he made law his chosen profession. He entered a law practice in Bay City in association with James L. McCormick. Sharpe served as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Bay County from 1915 until 1918.
Sharpe was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1933 and began his service in 1934. He was re-elected in 1941 and 1949 and served until December 31, 1957. Upon his retirement, Sharpe, having served 23 years, had seniority status.
Sharpe was always very active in Democratic Party affairs. “In 1927, as keynoter of a Democratic state convention, Sharpe led the party pretty close to the edge of radicalism for those days. He proposed a referendum on the repeal of prohibition, urged abolition of the state tax on real estate, and sought an old age pension law.” (Muller, Will. Michigan Biographies. Michigan State Library, Michigan Clippings VF. “Michigan Politics,” File on Edward M. Sharpe, c. 1956.)
He was a member of the Elks, the Independent Order to Odd Fellows and the Masons. The Ferris Institute conferred upon him a Doctor of Laws and he also had a life membership in Lions International.
Sharpe married Mary A. Corven in 1914. The couple had two daughters and four grandchildren. Edward M. Sharpe died at the age of 87 on March 3, 1975, in Bay Medical Facility. (Taylor, C.W. Jr. Bench and Bar of Michigan, San Francisco, 1938.)
Portrait presented on: (Click link to read transcript)
January 23, 2002
Oil on canvas
30″ X 40″
State of Michigan
Hall of Justice – 4th Floor: Rotunda
Portrait photo by:
Robert Maniscalco – October 2001