James "Butch" Ferrell Sharber, Jr.

Born in San Diego, CA on March 6, 1940

Departed on December 10, 2016 and resided in Fairview, TN

  • Visitation and Celebration: The Pavilion at Harpeth
    • Saturday December 17, 2016 2:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Interment: Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery
    • Monday March 6, 2017 11:00am

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James Ferrell “Butch” Sharber, Jr. was born on March 6, 1940 in San Diego, CA to James F. Sharber, Sr. and Mary Drazinsky. He later moved to Murfreesboro, TN and joined the U. S. Air Force. He completed tours in France, the Philippines and Okinawa. After the service he enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University and received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology.

James began his career in environmental science with the State of Tennessee Water Quality Division. He went on to work for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency until 1980. At that time he went to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District until he retired in 2000. He enjoyed his retirement years on property in Williamson County.

He is survived by his children: Jonathan Sharber (Kimberly) Morrissey of Fairview, Lara Christine Sharber of Murfreesboro, Joshua Kyle (Jerrica) Sharber of Kingston Springs and Rachel Lindley Sharber of Fairview; three grandchildren: Jon Christian Morrissey, Isabella Grace Morrissey and Dillon Maxwell Morrissey; and 11 nieces and nephews. He is also survived by three sisters: Beth Sharber and Partheny Sharber of Murfreesboro and Merle (Danny) Lenihan of Brentwood; and two brothers: Steve (Gloria) Sharber of Clarksville, VA and Hugh (Virginia Anne) Sharber of Chattanooga.

James was preceded in death by his mother, father and stepmother: Patricia Farrell Sharber.

James was a poet, artist, taxidermist, naturalist and hunter-fisherman. He had an unrivaled love of the outdoors and his massive knowledge of the natural world has been passed on to his children and grandchildren. He will be truly missed by his family and friends.

His family will receive friends for a time of visitation and Celebration of Life on Saturday, December 17 from 2:00 until 6:00 PM in the lakeside Pavilion at Harpeth Hills, 9090 Hwy 100, Nashville, TN.

With military honors, James will be laid to rest at 11:00 AM in Middle Tennessee State Veteran Cemetery on, what would have been, his 77th birthday, March 6, 2017.

24 Comments to James "Butch" Ferrell Sharber, Jr.

  1. Jeff and Teresa Rossman
    December 13, 2016 12:46 pm

    Uncle Butch was a truly amazing person. He loved the outdoors like no one else I have ever met. He passed that love on to Jon Jon and the rest of his children and grandchildren. He had a beautiful voice and played a wonderful 12-string guitar. I wish I had made the time to see him since I retired from the Air Force. I will certainly miss him. Out thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  2. Jeff Linkinhoker
    December 14, 2016 6:51 pm

    Jim was truly a renaissance man. He could accomplish almost anything and was among the most talented and creative people I ever met. His sense of humor was unrivaled – a very fun and entertaining person to be around. His family was surely blessed to have him.

  3. Lorenda Sharber Hooper
    December 15, 2016 10:03 pm

    Yes, he was truly a talented and most intelligent man. He was the kind of man that is unique in this age of helplessness. He knew how to fix almost anything…he came from a generation of self subsistence. He taught me so many things about life, one of which I hold dearly…..the art of stream fishing will be something I will never forget. He was a great fisherman and we enjoyed hauling in many a fish over the years.

    I thank him most of all for my two children that I am so blessed to have. I am glad we spent so many good times together even if all did not turn out as planned. Rest in peace JFS.

    • Maurice Simpson
      December 16, 2016 10:38 am


      Hopefully, you’ll remember me too “from the Corps days.” Jim was one of my favorite people and co-workers. I wanted to keep up with him more after he retired, but he became quite reclusive and didn’t keep up with those of us who would have liked him too. When I heard of his death, I tried to find people who had a few more details, like had he gone through some long illness, cancer, or whatever – just for closure. I wasn’t successful, so I’m hoping you can tell me more. Jim was one of the most humorous people I’ve known. He could take an ordinary story and have us laughing in the aisles. If we tried to re-tell it, the story would fall flat. I grew bonsai for years and kept some in my office. Jim took a bunch of multi-colored wires and made me a “care-free” bonsai tree that I still have prominently displayed. If you feel comfortable with it, you can reach me at 615-305-4583. Or, simply respond to this message. My email address is maurice.simpson65@yahoo.com. I know things with you and Jim “did not turn out as planned,” but he always spoke highly and fondly of you.


      • Lorenda Sharber Hooper
        December 16, 2016 8:41 pm

        Yes Maurice, I do remember you well. Thank you for your kind words.
        Jim was quite reclusive the last few years. He got to where he would not even come to my house which was 1/8 mile down the road for Thanksgiving. We would just bring him a plate and he was happy , pretty much the same thing with Christmas. We did see each other probably a few times a month for short visits or for him to pick up our daughter.
        He died of complications of COPD, respiratory failure. Sadly our daughter is the one who found him.

        I have you number now so I will call. Wish you could come to the Celebration of Life for him tomorrow but I understand how that goes.
        Take care, Lorenda

  4. Larry Nash
    December 16, 2016 10:28 am

    I worked with Jim at the Corps just before he retired. He was a true naturalist. He also mentored many of us coming behind him to truly understand how important it is to preserve our natural resources. He will be missed by many My prayers are with you all.

    • Lorenda Hooper
      December 16, 2016 8:45 pm

      I remember you as being a manager at Percy Priest Dam ??
      Thank you so much for your kind words and I hope this finds you well.

      Yes, he as a true naturalist and we plan to celebrate that and other great aspects of his life tomorrow.
      Complete with some of his taxidermy, poems, etc.


  5. Greg Thomas
    December 16, 2016 11:31 am

    I also worked with Jim at the Corps of Engineers. I most remember his wit and sense of humor – unmatched!! He was a pure naturalist and his knowledge was truly missed when he retired in 2000. Prayers to his family!

    • Lorenda Hooper
      December 16, 2016 8:48 pm

      You are so right about his sense of humor. He could tell a joke or spin a yarn like no other. His oldest two sons have both inherited that talent so the Sharber lives on.
      Thank you for prayers.

  6. Mike Patterson
    December 16, 2016 11:50 am

    My cousin and I brought a couple of game birds from Utah for Jim to mount.
    I thought he did an excellent job on them. I also was privileged to see his collection of mounted ducks and ti meet Lorenda and the kids at their home in Fairview..
    I enjoyed Jim’s friendship and sense of humor .
    Like Maurice, I often wondered what he was doing after the split.


    • Lorenda Hooper
      December 16, 2016 8:56 pm

      Yes, I remember those taxidermy projects. As you know that was one of his great talents, he could do anything he set his mind to.
      Jim and I separated in 2002 and I moved 1/8th mile up the road where there was a barn and pasture for my daughter’s horse. We divorced in 2006 and I remarried in 2009. We still kept in close contact, talked several times and saw each other for short visits during the course of a month. We were friends and tried to continue parenting even as the children became older.
      He became more reclusive the past few years. It is so sad because he had so much to offer the world. Thank you for your memory.

  7. Todd Yann
    December 16, 2016 12:06 pm

    Jim and I worked together at the Corps of Engineers for several years. He was a born storyteller and possessed an enviable sense of humor. His stories about hunting and life as a youth in rural Tennessee kept all of us in the office laughing and made our days brighter! Condolences to his family members and may they know that he touched the lives of many of us who had the honor of working with him.

    • Lorenda Hooper
      December 16, 2016 8:58 pm

      Thank you Todd. I can just see it now…..him telling you all jokes and stories at the office.
      He will be missed by many and has left a large hole to fill for many folks.

  8. Avis Kennedy
    December 16, 2016 7:56 pm

    It was my privilege to be Jim’s supervisor for a few years near the end of his career in Natural Resources Management Branch in Operations Division. He was one of the most memorable people I ever met. He reminded me of an old-fashioned naturalist in his ability to identify any plant or animal and I brought him more than one insect or spider over the years for a definitive identification. He could step out of the federal building at lunch and return with deceased specimens of migrating birds, and once, a live bat hidden in the finger of his glove. He could write anything, in any style, serious or humorous. He could mimic anyone and tell stories in dialect. Some of my favorites were: Tipping the Water Delivery Man in Mexico, No Lettuce Only Cabbage in Spanish Wells, and How the Monkeys Stole the Wedding Feast in India. He valued our public lands and was an innovative thinker, finding ways to protect this precious legacy. He made a lasting positive impact on our natural environment. He loved his kids. The world is a little less bright without him and I am so glad I knew him.

    • Harold T. Sansing
      December 16, 2016 8:56 pm

      Nice eulogy Avis, describes Jim to a “T” … storytelling, Jim takes after his dad Jim, Sr. who could keep you enthralled and on pins and needles waiting for the “punch” line. Pretty good writing yourself, wished I had known you at the District.. hts.

    • Lorenda Hooper
      December 16, 2016 9:05 pm

      I remember you, met you a few times at Corps functions and the office. He always spoke well of you even if you were his supervisor. 🙂
      He definitely loved his kids and they are really going to feel the loss in their lives.

      Thank you for your memories and kind words.
      Hope this finds you well and have a nice Christmas time.


  9. Harold T. Sansing
    December 16, 2016 8:32 pm

    Where to begin? . Peggy and I have been knowing Jim for a number of years, knew his family as we both lived in Murfreesboro. We socialized many times together, particularly during holidays. Jim and I first started working together as Biologists for the Tennessee Division of Stream Pollution Control back in the sixties. We ran benthic surveys on many streams throughout the state. Ironically, one of the first was investigation of a gravel mining/extraction activity in the tailwaters of Center Hill Dam on the Caney Fork River. Normally a survey like this involves investigation upstream (control) and downstream (impacts) but Jim and I found something strange about or data. Long story short, the dam was having greater impacts on the stream than the gravel operation. Our report really upset Colonel Fishback, DE of the Nashville Corps at the time and the irony being we both would later go to work for the same District. I was a Best Man at Jim’s second wedding to Sue Sharber. Jim served Steak and Eggs at the bachelor breakfast that he prepared himself, best breakfast I ever had bar none. He was an excellent chef. He could gently sauté up a mess of turtle you wouldn’t believe, Fish and game birds were his specialty. Through the years we toasted the important things and even sang a few folk tunes plunking on our old guitars. I had been corresponding via cyberspace with Jim for some time and I thought all was well, we swapped stories about old times as well as discussions of current events, his sudden demise comes as a sad surprise. Rest in peace JFS, a true friend indeed..

    • Lorenda Hooper
      December 16, 2016 10:18 pm

      Thank you Harold and Peggy,
      I know how close you all were in the past, he spoke of you often. Sure wish you could be here as you knew him well.
      I am so glad he and you were email pals the last several years.

  10. George Murphy
    December 17, 2016 12:06 am

    Butch was one of my first graduate students as I served as major professor for his MS degree at MTSU in the early 1970’s. We spent a couple of years putting transmitters on snapping turtles and tracking their movements, fishing the Stones River, sampling his homemade wines, and enjoying good music. He was multi-talented, quick of wit, musician, naturalist, and remarkable in so many ways. Butch was a humble man that we were privileged to know.

  11. Lorenda Hooper
    December 17, 2016 8:18 pm

    Thank you for the nice comments and memories. The family appreciated you making the trip over there for his Celebration. He would have been honored to know that you were there.

  12. Kelly Sharber
    December 18, 2016 2:17 pm

    To all of Butch’s family, you are in my heart. The video is lovely & seeing all the photos of the past is heartwarming. The photos tell a beautiful & lively story of Butch’s life. My hope is that your many memories will bring you peace & healing. All love to you.

  13. Lynn Bowden
    December 23, 2016 1:20 pm

    I can’t improve on anyone’s remarks here. Just to say I met Jim at the Corps of Engineers in our basement office along with George Green and others, who may comment later. I was the video guy and audio guy for the Corps during those days. Jim would drop in often and all of us would have a laugh session like no other. Jim would be sitting and as he would laugh he would shuffle his feet and nearly scoot out of the chair. He was a very intelligent, knowledgeable, and creative joke teller. And subject matter expert when we talked business…a wonderful personality and friend for many years. I can’t put it all into words here. A great laugher. I know he is smiling down upon us now and forever…

    Sorry I couldn’t attend as I am overcoming my own emotional difficulties.

    Bless all of you!

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