Information from Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Peninsula Community Book (San Mateo County, CA), pages 382-383, summarizes Dr. Sharpe’s life:

Otis and Alice Sharpe

Otis Allen Sharpe, M.D., prominent specialist of Burlingame, whose practice is devoted exclusively to the eye, was born in Escondido, San Diego County, California, on February 26, 1883, a son of John C. and Eunice (Allen) Sharpe. His father was a rancher and stock raiser, who went to the Escondido Valley in 1880. His mother was a descendant of Ethan Allen, who took part in taking Ticonderoga in 1775.

Dr. Sharpe first attended school in Escondido, and finished high school in Compton, California. He subsequently attended the old State Normal School [a teacher’s training college that later became UCLA] in Los Angeles. For one year he taught school in Long Beach, and for three years was an instructor in manual training at the State Reform School in Ione, California.

He then entered the University of California, and graduated with the degree of B.S. in 1912, and M.S. in 1913. While there he helped to pay his expenses by teaching night school in Oakland. His medical training was taken at Stanford University, and completed there in 1916. He practiced general medicine in Oakland for the following two years, and later moved his offices to San Francisco, and there began specializing in eye, ear, nose and throat work, ultimately confining his practice exclusively to the eye. Dr. Sharpe has studied abroad, having taken courses in diseases and surgery of the eye at the University of Vienna, and at the Royal Opthalmic Hospital, London, England.

Otis and Alice Sharpe and their children

In 1925 Dr. Sharpe took up his residence in San Mateo, and maintained his offices in San Francisco. In 1932 he established offices in Burlingame as well, and for about ten years maintained offices in both places, but since 1941 he has devoted his practice entirely to the Peninsula, having given up his offices in San Francisco in that year.

Dr. Sharpe is President of the San Mateo County Historical Association. For three years he was President of the Peninsula Forum. He is a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, a member of Burlingame Rotary Club, and belongs to Alpha Kappa Kappa medical fraternity. Professionally, he is affiliated with the American, State and San Mateo County Medical Associations, as well as the San Francisco Opthalmological Society.

He married Miss Alice Beebe, who was born in Kansas City, Kansas. They have two children: Alice (Mrs. Walter C. Kosters), and Otis Allen Jr., who has recently been honorably discharged from the United States Army, having served in the Medical Corps for about two years in the Far East.

E-mail from Dick Barry (nephew to Otis Allen, Sr.) dated September 19, 2005:

“Dr. Sharpe and his wife were very advanced in their use of natural remedies for illnesses and strengthening the immune system. One such was the regular use of fresh vegetables which they grew in their large back yard in San Mateo. Included in their garden were lots of onions and garlic. Dr. Sharpe used to eat an onion just like the rest of us would eat an apple. In addition to using onions and garlic in their cooking, Dr. Sharpe used to eat a raw garlic to improve his immune system, and he was quite healthy for most of his long life. We can just imagine how it must have been for his patients when he was examining their eyes and talking to them after eating his garlic. He must have wondered why their eyes seemed to water so easily. One day we were going on a picnic at Tahoe and asked your Grandpa Sharpe what kind of sandwich he would like. We were surprised to hear him request his favorite which was “plain onion and mustard on rye.” We thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t.

“One afternoon Dr. Sharpe was treating patients in his office when his receptionist had the day off. While testing a lady’s eyes, he needed to dilate her eyes so he could examine the retina. After placing several drops of the medication in her eyes, he directed her to sit for about 20-30 minutes in one of his small darkened rooms for the drug to take effect. In the meantime, Doc was distracted with another patient and forgot the first lady. Being late in the afternoon, when he finished with his last patient, Doc closed the office and started for home. He was almost in his driveway at home when he finally remembered the lady waiting in the darkened room. He quickly retraced his steps, opened the office, put on his white coat, knocked on the door, and told the lady that he was now ready to examine her eyes. He never told her that he had almost locked her in his office for the night.

“In late spring of 1915, the Sharpes and the Waldorfs (Grandma Sharpe’s oldest sister, May and her husband), drove up to what was to become Lassen National Park (1916) to enjoy the geologic wonders of this newly opened recreation area. Uncle Creighton Waldorf was a geologist and mining engineer (later a science teacher) who loved to observe, first hand, the forces of nature as exhibited by the boiling hot springs and other signs of volcanic action that had started the year before in the form of intermittent emission of steam, ash, and small amounts of lava from the crater at the top of the mountain. During the 1914’s, Lassen was an interesting attraction here in California, however, the Sharpe party got more than they were looking for. While they were camping on the south or east side of Mount Lassen, they were awakened on the morning of May 19, 1915, with terrible rumblings, shaking of the whole mountain and explosions from top of the mountain. Rocks started tumbling down the side of the mountain toward their camp site. The Sharpes and Waldorfs picked up their camping equipment as quickly as they could and headed down the mountain to their car. On the way, Doc Sharpe said that he saw a rock flying right toward him. He ducked and held up his hand to protect his face. Unfortunately, the rock hit one of his fingers and broke it. When they reached their car, a ranger told them that the mountain had started to violently erupt and everyone was to evacuate the area immediately. On the north side of the mountain, hot lava poured down the mountain, melting snow and causing massive mudslides. Three days later, a massive explosion of hot gases blew down many trees. There is still a huge scar on the north side of the mountain where the mud slide occurred and the explosion had blown down a swathe of the trees.”

Otis Allen Sharpe died May 25, 1969, in Los Altos, Santa Clara, California. He was 86 years old. After he died, his wife went to British Columbia, Canada, where her son Otis Allen, Jr., lived. She died in British Columbia on October 15, 1973, at the age of 87.

Back Row: Rudy and Leone Kanka, Eva, Alice, Dorothy and Allen Sharpe
Front Row: Lorraine Barry, her children, and Dr. Otis Sharpe


John Conrad Sharp was born on March 21, 1854, in Guilford, Missouri. In 1880, he married Eunice Alice Allen. Their marriage record reads as follows: “State of Missouri, County of Nodaway. This certifies that Mr. John C. Sharp of Maryville in the State of Missouri and Miss Eunice A. Allen of Maryville in the State of Missouri were at Mr. John H. Allen’s in said county by me joined in the holy bonds of matrimony on the 24th day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty.” They immigrated to California in April of 1881, and to them were born four children: Floyd Reuben Sharpe, Otis Allen Sharpe, Lillie Bell Sharpe, and Harold Henry Sharpe. Probably after 1910 John C. Sharp added an “e” to his name. The family is found in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses living in Downey, Los Angeles, California.