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Apopka loses a giant: Shirley Sharpe-Terrell dies at 74

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Apopka lost a giant in the community last week when Shirley Terrell-Sharpe died on December 6th at the age of 74. Her obituary gives the facts, but not the impact she had on Apopka and Orange County.

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Shirley Sharpe-Terrell 1947-2021
Shirley Sharpe-Terrell 1947-2021

With heavy hearts, we announce the death of Shirley Sharpe-Terrell (Orlando, Florida), who passed away on December 6th at the age of 74. Family and friends can send flowers and condolences in memory of the loved one. Leave a sympathy message to the family on the memorial page of Shirley Sharpe-Terrell to pay them a last tribute.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, December 16th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Experience Christian Center (5230 Indian Hill Rd, Orlando, FL 32808). A funeral service will be held on Friday, December 17th at 12:00 PM at the Lord Ministries (8053 Gilliam Rd, Apopka, FL 32703).

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“Humble servant... that is the phrase I think of when I think of Shirley Sharpe-Terrell," said former Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer.  "Shirley Sharpe-Terrell wanted to serve, and was humble in her leadership and in her service."

A graduate of Rollins College, Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell followed a career in the communications industry by joining District 2 Orange County Commissioner Robert Sindler as an aide.

"Shirley Sharpe-Terrell was relentless in her efforts to resolve every challenge that a District 2 resident faced and presented to her," said Brummer. "If there was a way to help the constituent, Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell found it. The Commissioner for District 2 often never heard of the issue and almost never heard of the issue’s resolution. Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell was humble in her success."

But Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell did not end her service to the community with her position as an aide. She was relentless in her service to the community as a community member.

She served in the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance and was the catalyst for the annual Marvin Zanders Love Recognition Banquet that honors those members of the South Apopka community that serve and lead to bring continued success to all the area’s residents. Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell was herself the Honoree at a Love Recognition Banquet just a few short years ago. 

"Rest in heaven Elder Shirley Sharpe-Terrell, a faithful and dedicated member to the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance," said Pastor Hezekiah Bradford, the Alliance's President. "Scholarship and service to mankind!"

Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell was also a founder of the “Apopka City Hall Steps” National Day of Prayer event. At noon on the first Thursday in May (the National Day of Prayer) community members, Pastors, elected officials and others gather on the front steps of Apopka’s City Hall to pray for the community, state and nation.

She was also a founder of Apopka’s National Prayer Day Breakfast. 

“God gave me a vision. He told me to speak with Mayor (John) Land and ask if it would be okay to pray for him and the City of Apopka.” That’s how Shirley Sharpe-Terrell remembered the inspiration to start a prayer breakfast in Apopka. “I took the list of Apopka churches and called every single one,” she said.

Since 1996 there has always been a day of prayer in Apopka. From the beginning, the organizers chose the first Thursday in May, which coincides with the National Day of Prayer. For the first 11 years, people came to the steps of City Hall to pray for the city and the nation. But in 2007 an additional event was added due, in part, to her efforts -  The Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. 

"Shirley was quite simply amazing," said Commissioner Doug Bankson, who is also the President of the Apopka Christian Ministerial Allliance. "Along with all her other accomplishments, she was also a member of the ACMA and an integral part of the planning team for the annual prayer breakfast, and is irreplaceable in both her work and her spirit. She was especially dear to my heart and I credit her prayers as the foundation for all the alliance is doing with the prayer breakfast and beyond. She is missed immensely but deserving of both honor and her heavenly reward. Loved and admired by all, Shirley’s life was and is truly an inspiration."

The Apopka Christian Ministerial Alliance also awarded Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell that group’s highest accolade: The Pillar Award, which goes to individuals that have worked the most to improve life in our community.

"Shirley was a wonderful lady with a godly spirit," said Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson. " always willing to help anyone in need. She will be missed."

"I have known Elder Shirley Sharpe-Terrell for more than 25 years," said Commissioner Alexander Smith. "No matter what role she was in she always served with a servant's heart. National Day of Prayer was her baby. She would light up each time she asked someone to participate in the program. She always spoke with a soft smooth voice that represented her Savior. She will be missed but her spirit will forever live within all those she touched."
 
"I first met Ms. Shirley Sharpe-Terrell, when I entered public office in 2013," said Commissioner Diane Velazquez.  "She was a wealth of knowledge. She had a heart of gold and a welcoming smile. I felt like she knew everybody in Apopka.  She was a positive Godly personality. She was the definition of Grace."
 
Her friend Monique Morris will miss her greatly.
 
"Shirley Sharpe-Terrell was very active in the Apopka community with the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance.  She had a heart for children and wanted to make sure students participated in our annual Scholarship and Oratorical program!  It was her desire that all students would succeed. She lived the true meaning of “having faith of a mustard seed!”  
 
Morris also said that Mrs. Sharpe-Terrell was selected as the Grand Marshal of the 13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Parade on January 17th, 2022 as the Humanitarian of our community by the South Apopka Ministerial Alliance at last last meeting in November. 
 
"We will still honor her legacy by inviting her family to participate," Morris said.

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