Pacific Beach – La Jolla Chapel

4710 Cass Street, San Diego, CA


Jacqueline Gay Sharpe Sinclair

September 18, 1941May 6, 2019

Jacqueline Gay Sinclair passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully, on Monday, May 6, 2019.

Born in Meadville, Pennsylvania on Sept 18,1941, Gay was the daughter of Howard and Margaret “Peg” Sharpe. After World War II, her father’s service as a Naval Officer ended, and he resumed his career with the Talon Zipper Company. In 1952, Talon relocated her family (including brother Kip) to Mexico City for two years. Perhaps Gay’s love of Mexican and South American culture began here!

In December 1954, her father was transferred to Canada, and the family stopped in San Diego to visit Peg’s sisters, Laura, Martha and Janet and her brother Andrew. While there, on Christmas night, Howard died suddenly. Peg decided to stay in San Diego and bought a small house on Gravilla Street and enrolled Gay and Kip in La Jolla Junior/Senior High School. Gay graduated in 1959 and went on to attend University of California, Berkeley until 1962, when she married former LJHS boyfriend, Richard Lee –a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

The family grew to four, and Richard’s Naval career moved them to multiple states including California, Idaho, Connecticut, Hawaii and Virginia. Gay’s employment with Pan American Airlines allowed the family to enjoy many international trips. While in Norfolk, Virginia, Gay completed her Bachelors degree at Old Dominion University. In 1973, having tired of the Navy lifestyle, the couple separated and Gay and the kids returned to La Jolla to be with family.

As a single mother in the 1970’s, Gay had many jobs around town, including at Carino’s Pizza, Scripps Clinic and a plant store located on Prospect Street. On the other side of Prospect Street, she noticed a man who she assumed was the maintenance man – however, it turned out, Robert “Bob” Sinclair was the business owner! He had opened Pannikin Copper, Tea and Cookware, and was experimenting with roasting peanuts and coffee. Eventually Gay started helping with his bookkeeping. They married in 1977, adding Bob’s two sons to their blended family.

Together, Gay and Bob grew the Pannikin business into a local coffee roasting company with cafes, retail stores, and wholesale accounts. Their personal taste was reflected in the stores’ inventory and displays, and their extensive travels added to the diversity and colorful nature of each location. The couple worked tirelessly to establish 10 locations extending from downtown San Diego to North County.

Oftentimes, their location choices were considered “risky”, establishing their businesses in up-and-coming neighborhoods, which later were deemed “visionary”. Gay and Bob were instrumental in the redevelopment and renovation efforts in the Gaslamp Quarter, downtown San Diego and East Village, and eventually Taos, New Mexico. While Bob was the front man, Gay was the CFO behind the scenes, and every one knew who signed the paychecks!

While the coffee and tea industries offered many opportunities to travel, their growing interests in ethnic and folk art, fiber arts, ethnographic arts and textiles, became the focus of their world travels.

From an early age, Gay had tremendous skills in hand crafts, including knitting, quilting, embroidery, needlepoint, applique, to name a few. She achieved the status of “Master Weaver” several years ago, becoming a judge for junior weavers. She made custom quilts and knit Christmas stockings for each member of the family, as well as elaborate needlepoint holiday decorations. Over the years there were many beneficiaries of her prolific output of scarves, quilts, hats, blankets and garments. Her colorful wardrobe reflected her eclectic style and love of fabric arts.

Gay had many passions including her Borzois (she had nine over the course of several years); following Gourmet recipes, baking and hosting holiday dinners for her family, always extending invitations to others. Gay was a major supporter of the San Diego Opera, and shared her season tickets with many friends and family. She meticulously tended to her garden, and selected her roses based on their fragrance. She always had a puzzle on her table, and enjoyed listening to books on tape, or opera and watching movies.

Gay is predeceased by her husband, Robert (Bob) C. Sinclair. She is survived by daughter, Megan and her husband David, son Torrey and his wife Kimberly, four grandchildren Madeline, Gabriella, Carver and Peyton, stepsons Kenneth and Harold, brother Kip and her two beloved Borzois, Letka and Coulter.

Family and friends will celebrate Gay’s amazing life on June 15. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the National Borzoi Rescue Foundation, the San Diego Opera or the La Jolla High Alumni Association.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Jacqueline Gay Sharpe Sinclair

have a memory or condolence to add?

Marti McCready

May 26, 2019

I worked at The Pannikin for about 10 years in the 1980s, at the La Jolla location and the former Pt. Loma store.
I have memories of Gay dropping by every now and then, always with a smile on her face.
Gay and Bob came to my wedding and after my twins were born, Gay gifted them with 2 of her beautiful, handmade quilts. We were very touched and still have those quilts.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Megan, Torrey and the entire family.
God bless.

Billie Hakes

May 12, 2019

May 12th...Gay, You were such a loyal and sincere friend and I will miss you always. Your home was such a comfort to me and a favorite chair was my peace spot when I had worries..... Thank You for always being a friend. Love Billie Hakes and Farley (dog) We also shared our four legged pets..... Today being Mothers Day..we miss you already....