FLORENCE — Kathryn Sharp Lansdell was born on January 1, 1931, to Fannie Stults Sharp and James David Sharp. She died on August 27, 2022. Kathryn was the youngest of eight children. She grew up in Florence, Alabama, on Cloverdale Road.
Kathryn described her childhood as one filled with family and friends, with plenty of chores to do, but also time to play house, play in the nearby creeks, sit on the porch at night to count stars, catch lightning bugs, or play hide and seek behind many of the trees which still grace her property. She also said her family walked to church every Sunday and they would either host or visit family and friends after church.
Kathryn’s work ethic came from her parents and her siblings. The entire house rose early in the morning, with Kathryn’s mother cooking a big breakfast before school or work. Her father was the only auctioneer in the northwest area of Alabama, and as such was always working at the local sale barns, farms, or at county fairs, and Kathryn would often go with him.
When Kathryn was ten years old, all six of her brothers joined the war effort in World War II. During the war, two of her brothers were injured, one of which was missing in action in Germany. It was at this time (about 1943) that her father became ill and died. During the war, it was mainly Kathryn and her mother who maintained the house and property. In addition to duty and responsibility to family, Kathryn’s father and mother taught her the lesson of generosity in everything. Kathryn exhibited those virtues consistently throughout her life.
While Kathryn was in the 10th grade at Central High School, she met the love of her life, Marvin Robert Lansdell, Jr. In December of 1950, Kathryn and Marvin were married and Marvin’s career in the military necessitated a move to Columbia, South Carolina. Fortunately, that move was also with Marvin and Kathryn’s friends (and cousin) William and Joyce Hale, and Gerald and Peggy Pigg. The three couples shared a three-bedroom, two bath house for a year. Marvin and Kathryn then moved to Fort Stewart in Georgia and on to Indiana before returning to Florence.
Upon their return to Florence, Kathryn and Marvin bought land next to Kathryn’s mother’s property and built what is now their house.
Kathryn worked as the church secretary for over fifty years and retired at age 85. She and Marvin also owned Town House Florist for many years.
Kathryn and Marvin were blessed with three wonderful children, Robert Steven Lansdell (Nancy), Michael Lee Lansdell (Lynne), and Kathy Diane Lansdell Ludwig (Scott). They were also blessed with seven grandchildren, Caroline Diana Lansdell McNamara (Jason), Jason Robert King Lansdell (Mary), Emily Beth Lansdell Bailey (James), Charles Robert Chase Ludwig, Andrew Michael Lansdell (Amber), Nathan Hayes Ludwig, and Brian Alan Lansdell. They were also blessed with two great-grandchildren, Sawyer Bishop Bailey and Evelyn June Lansdell.
Kathryn was known as a Godly woman who never spoke ill of anyone. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and wife to Marvin for 61 years. She loved tending to her flower gardens around her property. She also enjoyed working in her vegetable garden and canning and freezing those vegetables. Kathryn looked forward to her Annual Day Lilly Garden Party where she hosted many friends and family members.
Kathryn believed in feeding everyone and anyone if she was able, and it was not uncommon for Kathryn and Marvin to have a church-wide fish fry on their property. She also loved to cook for the friends of her children and often had a table full of boys or girls over for home cooked meals. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, the table was full of delicious food she prepared from her garden. After dinner all of her children and grandchildren spent the night at her home in beds, on couches, cots, and sleeping bags to be together. For over 35 years, she treated her family of fifteen to a summer beach trip creating wonderful family memories—and she always made sure to bring her famous tea cakes.
Kathryn left this world the way she came in—as a blessing to everyone she ever met. She will be missed, but her family and friends know there is a big celebration in Heaven because Kathryn has arrived at her heavenly home and she surely has heard from our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2:00 p.m., on September 6, 2022, at Magnolia Church of Christ in Florence, Alabama. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Kathryn’s honor to Magnolia Church of Christ.
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