Remembering Curtis Tharpe

Published 8:32 am Thursday, February 25, 2016

On Thursday the Charlotte County community lost a friend and longtime business owner after an almost two-year fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Curtis W. Tharpe, 71, was known throughout the area as being a hard worker and a friend to many.

“He believed in getting up early and working hard every day,” said Tharpe’s daughter, Beverly Tharpe Kunath.

She said her father’s famous words were “if it was easy, anybody could do it.”

According to Kunath, Tharpe was diagnosed with ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in June 2014.

During his time in Charlotte County, Tharpe owned and operated Curtis Tharpe Trucking (CWT) for 44 years and BMC Rock Quarry for nine years, Kunath said.

“They were both family businesses,” she said. “He was a jack of all trades.”

Kunath said she and her two brothers — Chris and Mike — all worked with the family’s trucking company at some point.

Kunath’s sisters-in-law also worked at the family business. Tharpe’s wife, Margaret, was a dedicated worker within the company from the very beginning.

“I had the pleasure of working with Curtis for 21 years,” said Sherry Hudson Tharpe, his daughter-in-law. “I learned more working with him than I ever did in any classroom.”

In addition to operating his own businesses, Tharpe taught a variety of trades to people throughout the years, which included teaching people how to spread rock at the quarry and drive trucks.

“He expected us to work hard, but he never asked us to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself,” Sherry Tharpe said.

Kunath said that Tharpe also was known to provide a listening ear to many within the community.

Over 400 people attended the homegoing service for Tharpe, according to Kunath.

At the service, Sherry Tharpe said each of the grandchildren provided reflections about their grandfather. The youngest grandchild, 12-year-old Curstan Tharpe said, “My papa taught me to never give up even if the battle is hard and to smile through it.”

According to his obituary, Curtis Tharpe is survived by his wife, Margaret, three children, Beverly (Kerwin), Mike (Sherry) and Chris (Elaine), eight grandchildren, three brothers and several nieces and nephews.

“He left a legacy behind that will never be forgotten,” Sherry Tharpe said.