Velma Mary Miller Shearer
January 2, 1921 – March 22, 2019
Velma was born January 2, 1921, the next to the last of the seven children of Floyd
and Mary (Ross) Miller, in Bimidji, Minnesota. Her parents had a dairy farm
operation. Velma had 2 brothers – 1 was her twin – and 4 sisters. They enjoyed
horse-drawn bob-sled riding on the way to church.
Velma graduated as Salutatorian from Hines High School in 1939. She graduated
from the University of Minnesota and became a Registered Nurse in 1944. She
received certification as a Public Health Nurse in 1945. Velma later attended the
University of Dayton earning a Master of Fine Arts, and she earned a Master of
Divinity degree and then a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1987 at the age of 66 from
United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio, in 2004. “I always had a faith that
humanity had capabilities for living cooperatively and respectfully together without
the need for defense.”
She was ordained in 1989 and is a member of the Manchester Church of the
While in Brethren Service in the 1940s, Velma met her future husband, Byron Cleo
Shearer, in Castañer, Puerto Rico. Byron was a Conscientious Objector working as a
carpenter, plumber and mechanic. They were married on November 3, 1945, in
Castañer. Velma has one daughter, Mary Jane Shearer, who lives in North
Manchester, Indiana, and one granddaughter, Daisy Dawn Schmidt, who also lives
in North Manchester. The family enjoyed camping along Lake Michigan.
Travel has taken Velma throughout the United States, into Mexico and Canada,
and also to Spain, West Africa, and Russia. Her favorite place remains Minnesota
where she met with the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Velma has enjoyed horseback riding, playing a reed organ, making drawings, and
doing a cancer mortality study of Ohio, locating nuclear material sites. Her
interests continued especially in Fine Arts, but also in public health concerns and
nuclear contamination from the 1960s Utah tests fallout. Her research located
cancer mortality rates for different areas.
On January 7, 2011, Velma moved to I 212 from her home in North Manchester.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorial contributions may be made to One Earth Peace, PO Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776-0188, https://www.onearthpeace.org.
Graveside services will be held 11:00 AM Tuesday, March 26, at Old Ludlow Cemetery, Laura, Ohio.
A memorial service will be held at Timbercrest Chaple in New Manchester, Indiana, at a later date.