Owen C. Sharkey

Owen C. Sharkey


Owen Sharkey (1922-2014)

Owen Charles Sharkey was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 28 October 1922. He was the eldest son of Owen Francis Sharkey and Caroline (Carrie) Marie Sinnott. Owen had two younger siblings, Ida May (born 10 March 1924 in Kamsack SK) and William A. (born 9 June 1926 in Kamsack SK).

His mother Caroline Marie Sinnott was born in Morell, Prince Edward Island, and his father, Owen Francis Sharkey, was born in Cardigan, Prince Edward Island. The two were married on August 9, 1921 in PEI.

The Sharkey family lived in Western Canada for the first six years of Owen's life, primarily in Kamsack SK, very close to the Manitoba border. When Owen’s father, Owen Francis Sharkey, died on 17 August 1929 in St. Boniface, Manitoba, Carrie and the children moved back East, but not directly to PEI.

In the 1930 U.S. Census, Carrie, young Owen, Ida, and William were living in Boston MA with Carrie’s older sister Mary, a public school teacher.

In 1931, they (although it may just be Owen and his brother William) moved back to PEI and Owen went to school in Morrell. For High School Owen went to Prince of Wales College and after graduating went to Levis PQ to learn French. In 1940 Owen came back to PEI to study at St. Dunstan’s University. During his time at SDU he maintained the highest aggregate academic score for all four years of his time as a student.

By October 1940 Owen’s mother and sister were living in Dorchester MA, a neighbourhood of Boston. Both Carrie and Ida were living there in 1941, when Carrie petitioned for U.S. citizenship. Owen remained in Charlottetown, and his younger brother lived in Rollo Bay PEI at the time of her application.

According to an edition of the Red & White published in 1943, Owen Sharkey was elected president of the student council. He graduated from St. Dunstan’s University in 1944 with a Bachelor of Arts.

In 1948, Owen was ordained at St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto. Immediately after his ordination he returned to St. Dunstan’s University where he worked for six years. Owen was a dedicated scholar. During the summer months, between 1952-1956, he studied Educational Administration and Psychology at the Catholic University of America.

Owen left St Dunstan’s to take his Masters in Psychology at Dalhousie University. While at Dalhousie, he worked as a notary for the Halifax Regional Tribunal (a court for the Catholic Church). He graduated with his Master’s degree in 1958, the same year his mother, Caroline Sharkey, died in Massachusetts.

After completing his masters, Owen Sharkey began his PhD at Columbia University in New York. He returned to St. Dunstan’s in the fall of 1961, as he finished up his doctoral thesis. His PhD thesis paper focused on the theory of Achievement. He proposed that positive people, with high self-acceptance, fared better than negative people with a drive to be successful. Since Owen had already returned to St. Dunstan’s University in the midst of his thesis, he employed freshman students, in Fall of 1961, to test this theory. He created a test to see if student success was determined by how content or discontent they were. In January 1962 he officially rejoined the faculty as a psychology professor.

After receiving his doctorate Dr. Owen Sharkey continued to work for St. Dunstan’s University for many years, and was still there when it became the University of Prince Edward Island in 1969.

Owen was a well loved Psychology professor, and later became the head of the Psychology Department. He was also the SDU Registrar for a number of years.

Owen Charles Sharkey died on 7 November 2014 in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Charlottetown, at the age of 92.


1891 Census of Canada. Census Place: Lot 53, Kings, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Roll: T-6382; Family No: 42

1901 Census of Canada. Census Place: Lot (Township/Canton) 53, Kings, Prince Edward Island; Page: 15; Family No: 125

1911 Census of Canada. Census Place: 16 - Part - Lot 52 and 53, Kings, Prince Edward Island; Page: 12; Family No: 114

1921 Census of Canada. Census Place: Lorne Valley, Kings, Prince Edward Island; Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 103; Page Number: 11

1930 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0392; FHL microfilm: 2340686

The Boston Globe. 4 July 1958, p.22.

Boston Massachusetts City Directory, 1930, for year ending August 1931, page 1891.

Father Sharkey Re-joins Faculty 29 January 1962, page 4.

Obituary for Ida May (Sharkey) Jay

Obituary for Owen C. Sharkey

Owen Sharkey and Carrie Sinnott Marriage Record, PEI. PARO. RG19/s3/ss6: Marriage registrations, 1921.

Owen T. Sharkey Death Record, PEI. PARO. Patriot newspaper, 31 December 1929.

Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 - 12/1911 ; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21. National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts.

Red & White 1943, page 28.

SDU Expands Facilities, Courses, As Student Body Mushrooms. Charlottetown Guardian-The Evening Patriot. 27 February 1963, p.25A.

UPEI Communications: Former Faculty Member Owen Sharkey Passes Away.


SDU Digital Archive. Class of 1944.

Subscribe to Owen C. Sharkey RSS feed