James Sharer in Bisbee, Arizona

James at the Queen Mine, Bisbee, Arizona, 15 January 2001

  James T. Sharer
1964 - 2007

Our dear friend, James, passed away on 10 December 2007. We wish to remember all of the various aspects of James and reach out to others that knew James from the many different worlds he touched. He was loved in both the deaf and the gay communities worldwide.

His smile, his endless curiosity, his generous spirit, his wonderfully authentic laugh are among many of the things we'll miss.

We knew him from the places he lived: Dallas, Rochester, Seattle, and San Francisco, as well as the many places he traveled in his too short life.

We will always love you, James, and miss you so much.

Other pages about James:
BearyClean Services - James' business
James' LiveJournal
Obituary - from the Deaf Network of Texas
Photos of James from 1973 and 2001 - from the Jane Brooks School Alumni Association
Photos of James - photos of James from 1998 to 2007
Raymond Luczak's blog entry about James



I first met James at San Francisco Gay Pride in 1998. He moved to San Francisco later that year and worked with me. We became very close and I was very sad when he made the decision to move back to Dallas, where he grew up.

We'd meet many times during both of our travels - to Tucson, Dallas, San Francisco.

He would never miss my birhtday or the holidays and every few weeks, I'd get something in the mail he'd found for me that he thought I'd like: an interesting map, a world's fair item, or just an interesting newspaper clipping.

The last time I saw James was when he flew to San Francisco to surprise me for my 40th birthday. He'll never know how much that meant to me, particularly now.

When I first met James, I knew a bit of sign language. Most of what I've learned since then, though, I've learned from James. Often when I sign a word, I remember the moment I learned it from him, and what we were doing at the time.

- Urso Chappell, San Francisco


I met James while I was at a very difficult time in my life. I had lost my partner of 5 years after a long battle with HIV. I was living alone and still grieving. He was a balm I needed to survive and succeed.

I was taking the last of my prerequisites for the Sign Language Interpreter Training Program at Seattle Central Community College. To fund this I was working two part time jobs and commuting several hours every day to work. One of my jobs was at Spag's, a seedy bar in Seattle that was dubbed the 'Bear Bar' at the time. James walked in with a hearing friend, I think. I was eager to try out my meager ASL skill, and he responded with a smile that involved his whole face. I was bowled over and we had to go out for dinner. I don't remember where we went or what we did, but I do remember thinking he had a sense of humor that I could relate to and we both loved to read.

We soon became very close and I moved into the city with him. The first tenet of our relationship was that I refused to be his interpreter, and he was not my teacher. We shared a place on Capitol Hill in Seattle for a year, until I finished school, and then moved to Crown Hill where we stayed for over a year.

I remember first and foremost his smile and laugh. Everything was funny to James. Weather it was something that happened to him or to someone else, he always laughed out loud.

My favorite times with him were when we would lie in bed and read. We each read totally different things, but those were some of the best times in my life. Spending all day on a Saturday or just an hour every night, reading and being together.

I remember we kept track of whose turn it was to order dinner when we went out.

He collected fonts. It’s a graphic designer thing I guess.

Because of James, I got to go to the first Deaf GLOW event in Denver, Colorado in 1988 and work with one of my favorite interpreters. And I got to voice for some amazing Deaf folks.

I was so proud when he got the job at Goodwill of Seattle. He had been job hunting for the longest time, and had a great portfolio. He would get discouraged, but never quit. When he got that job he threw everything he had into it. He helped them create a new logo that they use to this day.

He was fun and funny. He was Deaf and proud of it. We taught each other a lot about doing what it takes to survive and being proud of who we are. And when we moved apart, I continued to care for him as I moved on with my life.

I am grateful for all the lessons.

Gabriel Majors


I would like to include any expressions from others that were touched by James. If you would like to add them here, add a link, or just comment, email Urso@UrsoChappell.com


I first met James around 2002 / 2003 on Livejournal. He seemed like a fun & intelligent person, and we started chatting on AIM. Some time after we met, he was driving to Washington state for a conference for the deaf, and he wanted to stop at my place on the way. By the time he arrived at my place, he was sunburned and blistered from his 14 hour drive, and in need of sleep. We got burn creme on his burns, and he fell asleep immediately afterwards, leaned up against me. The next morning, we had breakfast, and even though he was deaf, I found it very easy to communicate with him. Shortly afterwards, he left for the conference, promising to stop by again on his way back. We got another chance to visit on his way back, and we spent the day visiting.

Over the years since, James and I grew close. He became someone I cared deeply about. We had many laughs together, and shared tears.
When his mother passed away, he sent me a small, handmade coin-purse that she picked up from St. Anthony, Newfoundland. It's a round, blue coin-purse with a white polar bear hand-stitched into the cover. He told me that she traveled everywhere with it, and that he'd like it to keep traveling. So he asked me to take it wherever I went, and I do.

Now he is gone. I will never see his smile again. Never see that twinkle in his eyes, or share a friendly hug. But I will carry a part of him with me wherever I go. In my pocket, and in my heart.

I miss you James, maybe we'll meet again, in another place.

Stephen Nesbit, Washington State