Age 88, passed away at 3:05 a.m. on May 3, 2021 at
Commonwealth Senior Living in Hagerstown, where she had been receiving wonderful care while suffering the ravages of Alzheimer's. Since she was a
devout Christian, we believe and affirm that although her physical life has ended, her
spiritual life is continuing. She was born in Middletown, Ohio, third child of the late Russell F. Evans and Audra C. Evans on November 5, 1932. Her two older siblings, brother Thomas and sister Barbara, are both
deceased. A younger brother, Frank, survives and lives near Springfield, Ohio.
The Evans family moved from Middletown to the Springfield area when Marilyn was a child, and she attended elementary school at nearby Lawrenceville. She graduated from Springfield High School in 1950 and was elected Homecoming Queen her Senior year. She attended Wittenberg University for two years in the pre-nursing program, after which she was an RN student at the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. On Valentine's Day in 1953, she met her future husband,
Wilson A. Shearer, for the first time, at a party arranged by the hospital chaplain who was also a professor at the theological seminary in Dayton where Wilson was a student. They
became engaged in the Fall of 1953 and married on August 29, 1954. In order to begin Wilson's career as clergy with him in Pennsylvania, she discontinued her studies.
As clergy wife and eventually a mother of two, grandmother of five, and great-grandmother of three (with one more
expected in September), Marilyn made a tremendous positive impact on the lives of many people of all ages from little
children to senior citizens. She made intelligent use of her many gifts and graces in her role as a pastor's wife, and especially in classrooms both secular and sacred. For several years she was part time Director of Children's Ministries for the
Susquehanna Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren denomination, and frequently led training sessions for local church teachers of children. She was a remarkable storyteller who entranced all ages, but especially children.
After moving to Hagerstown with Wilson when he was appointed pastor at Otterbein United Methodist Church
(formerly St. Paul's EUB) she became a highly acclaimed pre-K teacher in Washington County's programs of Head Start and Title One. She taught at Broadway school, at Maugansville and at the special facility on campus of then HJC, even after moving to Frederick in 1976 when Wilson became a District Superintendent. She retired from teaching in 1982 because it was too far to commute from Baltimore when Wilson became the Administrative Assistant to the bishop. For three years she worked as Wilson's secretary preparing for, and helping with, the momentous task of entertaining the Bicentennial General Conference of The United Methodist denomination at
Baltimore in 1984. Part of her distinguished contribution to this work was traveling to churches throughout Maryland, Delaware, and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia who invited her to present a monologue in costume as Barbara Heck, the so-called "Mother Of American Methodism."
When Wilson was appointed by the bishop to return to Hagerstown as the Pastor of Otterbein Church in 1985 Marilyn happily resumed her interesting and creative life both spiritual and secular. At Otterbein she sang in Chancel Choir, taught in the Children's Department, was active in Altar Guild, started a very successful class for young adults that chose the name "Steeple People", and was instigator of a wonderful holiday church-wide activity called the "Dickens Village Christmas Fair". In 1989 she was voted the church's "Teacher Of The Year", and in 1993 on Mother's Day she was named "Woman Of The Year" by the unit of United Methodist Women.
Marilyn also started a circle of UMW called "Wednesday
Window". Socially she was an active leader in The Women's Club and The Crossroads Garden Club.
In addition to her husband of 66 years. Marilyn is survived by a son, Timothy, and wife Carole who live in Drums, PA, their daughter Brynn Franks, her husband Matthew, and son Will, who live in Raeford, NC, also Tim and Carole's son, Grant, and wife MaryAnn, who live in Indiana, PA. She is survived by a daughter Barbara Pickett, husband, John, and son Ben who live in Hagerstown, also Barbara and John's daughter
Meredith Collins, husband Tyler, and children Aidan and Emmalynn who live in Falling Waters, WV, and by Barbara and John's son Alex, and his fiancee Samantha, who live in Needmore, PA.
During an early stage of dementia Marilyn decided to donate her body to the State Anatomy Board of the Maryland
Department of Health for medical research. When her remains are returned to the family they will be interred in a Shearer family plot located at the St. Peter's (Lischey's) United Church of Christ Cemetery near Spring Grove, PA. with a graveside service for family and friends. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the Shiloh United Methodist Church, 19731 Shiloh Church Rd, Hagerstown, MD 21742, or to
Hospice of Washington County, at 747 Northern Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21742.