John Gatewood Sharpe
Farmer, visionary for Kentucky
agriculture and across the nation
John Gatewood Sharpe passed away unexpectedly in his home on June 5, 2019. He was born May 3, 1956, the third child of the late Joann Duncan Sharpe and Ray C. Sharpe. John was a farmer at heart, as well as a visionary and entrepreneur in Kentucky agriculture and across the nation. Above all else, John was a loving husband, father, brother, uncle and grandfather. To John, family always came first.
In his early years, John’s family won more blue ribbons than any other family in the state of Kentucky two years in a row, and earned the title “KY State Blue Ribbon Farm Family.” John was an active participant in 4-H and FFA, earning blue ribbons across the state in competitions from citizenship, to tobacco and showing beef cattle. John graduated from Scott County High School in 1974.
John was a 1979 graduate from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s in agricultural science. While enrolled, John was a member of the Farm House Fraternity, the Block and Bridle and the UK Livestock Judging Team. Following graduation John worked at the KY State Shows and Fairs office in Frankfort before returning home, to run the family farms.
In the early 90s, and well ahead of the local food movement, John founded HomeGrown Beef Inc. bringing beef from local farms to the grocery and on to the tables of Kentucky families. The first company of its kind in Kentucky.
In 2007 John co-founded Grasshoppers, a pioneering food delivery business, which supplied families and restaurants in Louisville and the surrounding areas with fresh, local, food and produce. During its busiest season, Grasshoppers supplied over 1,000 Louisville families with produce collected from over 70 local producers.
Active in the local community, John served on the Scott County Planning and Zoning Commission for 10 years, and the Kentucky Vegetable Growers Association. John also served as President of the Community Farm Alliance. The CFA uses several strategies to build democracy, create good public policy, and aid community development in agriculture.
Passionate about the quality, care and marketing of American raised cattle, John was a member of the American Angus Association, the Scott County Cattlemen’s Association, the Simmental Association and served as a Livestock Coordinator for the North American Livestock Exposition.
Most recently, John and his sons have founded and operated the successful HomeGrown Direct LLC, a distribution business-working with local producers to supply Kentucky grown products to markets statewide. John found great pride and joy in working alongside his sons daily on the family farm.
John Gatewood Sharpe leaves behind his loving wife and best friend, Shawna McClain Sharpe; son, Jacobb McClain (Megan) Sharpe and granddaughter (Jacqueline McClain Sharpe); and son, John Beckham Sharpe (Amber Aneszko).
John was preceded in death by his parents; youngest brother, Joseph Waits Sharpe; and his sister, Janice Duncan Sharpe. His surviving siblings are James Ray (Dr. Martha Bird) Sharpe, Jeanine Taylor Sharpe (Alfred) Glass.
His nieces and nephews are Sage Autumn Sharpe (Bob) Jump, Jessica Rae (Tim) Cummings, Jennifer Reed Wilbers (Pete Noftsger), Joshua Duncan Wilbers (Katlynn Sacco), Joseph B. Glass, Jett Taylor Glass, Jennifer Glass (Brent) Perry, Rachelle Flann, Stephanie (Zac) Penn, Samantha Robertson, Anthony (Lauren) Robertson and Kathy Flann (Howard Yang).
Visitation will be Monday, June 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Tucker, Yocum and Wilson Funeral Home. Mr. Sharpe’s service will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, at the funeral home. Burial will follow the service at Georgetown Cemetery with pallbearers: Jacobb M. Sharpe, John Beckham Sharpe (sons) Joshua D. Wilbers, Anthony Robertson, Joseph B. Glass, Jett T. Glass, (nephews) and Ian T. Cummings (great-nephew) and honorary pallbearer James R. Sharpe (brother).