Remembering a Business Giant in the Inland Empire

Remembering a Business Giant in the Inland Empire
Hardy Brown Sr.

Hardy Brown Sr.

“Larry was a businessman who gave to his community not only with his time but also with his money. Larry was an exceptional man and leader and remained active even though sick. I will miss him along with so many others in our region.”

These words written by Publisher-emeritus Hardy Brown share the sentiment of those who knew Larry Sharp, the former President/CEO of Arrowhead Credit Union in San Bernardino.

Sharp passed away recently after battling cancer.

Throughout his life, Sharp was humble, respectful of all, focused on the success of others, and was a visionary. He was a beloved father, grandfather, and husband. He was a respected businessman, community leader, and philanthropist.

Larry began his credit union career at the age of 23 as the General Manager of Solar Federal Credit Union. After 14 years of success there, Larry took the helm of San Diego Navy Credit Union, where he served until joining Arrowhead (then San Bernardino County Central) Credit Union. As President, Larry led Arrowhead Credit Union for decades, and it grew more than twenty-fold in size. As President and CEO of Arrowhead, Larry also became a national leader in the credit union industry, advising regulators and political leaders, while lobbying for reforms to benefit everyday working people. The industry honored him in 2008 with the prestigious the Leo H. Shapiro Lifetime Achievement Award for his “lifetime contributions to the credit union movement.”

Larry Sharp

Larry Sharp

In addition to his leadership in the credit union industry, Larry served as leader for a number of business and community organizations, including service as Chairman of Inland Action, Chairman of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, Chairman of the California Inland Empire District Export Council, President of the San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce, three terms on the Board of the San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association (two as Chairman), the board of the California Chamber of Commerce, and Vice Chair of the Enterprise for Economic Excellence, among many other business organizations he served. His exceptional contributions were recognized on multiple occasions including being awarded the “Arrowhead Distinguished Chief Executive Award” by CSU San Bernardino in 1998, being named Business Leader of the Year by the San Bernardino Sun in 2000, receiving the “Excellence in Business Development Leadership” award in 2002, and the Donald G Hagman Award from the Southern California Association of Governments in 2003. In 2009, California State University San Bernardino, from which Larry had earned an MBA in Finance, awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his business and community leadership.

Larry’s contributions, however, were not limited to the business world. He served, and contributed in numerous ways to many charitable organizations, including Arrowhead United Way, the Inland Empire Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Loma Linda Children’s Hospital, for which he served as Chairman of its Foundation Board, and the California State University San Bernardino Philanthropic Foundation Board, on which he served until his death.

After completing his career in the Credit Union Industry. Larry’s leadership skills and contributions to business and philanthropy were recognized when he was named Vice President for University Advancement at California State University, San Bernardino.

Epitomizing his dedication to the betterment of his community, Larry served on a number of local, state and federal political campaigns. While staunchly conservative in his views and a republican, Larry would often “cross the aisle” to support candidates and causes he felt would best serve his community. In doing so, Larry served as a model for polite political discourse and respect.

Larry Sharp was an accomplished pilot, owning several planes, and loved the freedom flying afforded him.

But the role he most loved, and most excelled at, was that of a family man. Larry Sharp was the loving and dedicated father to five children: Darcy Cloutier-Fernald of Redlands, Keith Sharp of Orlando Florida, Kenneth Sharp of Tucson Arizona, Jason Cloutier of Banning California, and Jon Cloutier of Austin Texas. He was the loving grandfather to Harrison Sharp, Xander Fernald, Logan Cloutier, Hannah Cloutier, Dylan Bueter and Landon Bueter. After losing his first wife to Leukemia, Larry was married to his wife Cassie Sharp for more than 35 years. He is survived by two sisters: Louis Justice, and Verna White. He was preceded in death by two other sisters Mary Kalin and Dorothy Haynes, as well as his parents Howard and Odessa Sharp.

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