31 Jul Couple of the Month: Neal and Fredricka Sharkey
HIS STORY: Neal L.
Where did you grow up: Greenville, Miss.
Education: Associate of Arts from Mississippi Delta Community College; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northwestern State University; Master of Business Administration from Webster University, St. Louis, Mo.
Work: Division Manager, Historic Mid-Atlantic District of the United Parcel Service (UPS).
Parents: Henrene and Neal Sharkey Jr. of Greenville, Miss.
Community activities: Most of my community activities are with my fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., through my local chapter, Omicron Lambda Lambda. I also participated in a couple of COVID-19 testing events.
Church activities: I am a member and deacon of St. John Baptist Church in Little Rock. We also work at the food pantry at our church. Our children and I volunteer as often as we can. We pick up food from distribution centers, help fill the food boxes, deliver to cars, and anything else they need.
Hobbies/special interests: Golf, camping with my children, evenings with my wife.
How would you describe yourself: Tenacious, dedicated, sincere, a hard worker, and fair leader.
What is one thing people don’t know about you: I was a professional athlete with the Houston Oilers.
What is your motto: Why wait when you can do it now?
What do you enjoy most about living in the 501: Everything is accessible. Parks, trails, and even a mountain are all right here.
HER STORY: Fredricka B.
Where did you grow up:Indianola, Miss.
Education: Bachelor of Arts from Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss.; Master of Arts from Webster University, St. Louis, Mo.
WORK: Director of Media Relations for the University of Central Arkansas.
Parents: Wilma and Joe Stiffin, deceased.
Community activities: Most of my community activities are with my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., through my local chapter, Little Rock Alumnae Chapter. I also participated in a couple of COVID-19 testing events.
Church activities: I am a member of St. John Baptist Church in Little Rock. I love working with the food pantry, although my children and husband have been able to do much more than I have.
Hobbies/special interests: Couponing.
How would you describe yourself: Driven, motivated, mothering, and curious.
What is one thing people don’t know about you: I am an introvert.
Most enjoyed weekend activity: Nothing! With so much of our time dedicated to our calendars, I enjoy nothing more than sleeping in on a Saturday and hanging around the house.
What do you enjoy most about
living in the 501: Trails, parks, community spirit.
When/how we met: We met February of 1997 at the March of Dimes telethon in Greenville, Miss.
The proposal: Neal was determined to ask my parents first, so he did; however, he did it while I was at the house, too, as well as my aunt and uncle who were visiting from Florida. They all got to see the ring, play around with it, and try it on while I waited for the proposal. It was different.
Wedding bells: May 29, 1999, at First United Baptist Church in Indianola, Miss.
Children: Neal IV, 21; Sarah, 19; Frederick 18.
Pets: Fredricka is not a pet person, so the only dog the children ever had stayed in Mississippi at Grandma Henrene’s house. Her name was Coco.
Family activities WE enjoy together: Family dinner – We have dinner together almost every night. Even if it is McDonald’s, we pray together, then eat as a family. We cook together quite often. It’s much harder now with the children working and attending college. We also took family vacations to Branson and Orlando. We had educational trips to the space center in Huntsville, Ala.; Winterville Mounds in Greenville, Miss., and in Chucalissa, Miss.