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Obituaries 07/21/2022

Betty Shearer

WATER VALLEY – Betty Shearer, born on September 24, 1937, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 15, 2022, surrounded by family. Her passing was a direct result of a 16-month battle with cancer.

A fixture at the North Mississippi Herald on Main Street in Water Valley for over 60 years, Mrs. Betty’s presence will be missed at the family business she so dearly loved. Born the first child of a sharecropper/gin manager and his seamstress wife in Calhoun County, the family continued to grow and made their way first to Crowder and later to Pope.

After graduating from Crowder High School in 1955, Betty attended Northwest Mississippi Junior College, where she graduated with an Associate’s Degree in science with the goal of becoming a pre-med student. That all changed, however, when she met Ed Shearer III, the son of a newspaper owner in Water Valley. They married in 1958 and joined the staff of the North Mississippi Herald, which at that time also ran an office supply business and an extensive job printing shop in addition to publishing the weekly newspaper. Betty quickly became an integral part of the front office staff, and over the years, she mastered every part of the newspaper and printing business.

In 1964, the couple welcomed their only son, Jim, who also joined the North Mississippi Herald staff at 10 days old. In 1977, the elder Edward B. Shearer, who was then the publisher and editor of the paper, passed away suddenly after a brief illness, and Ed III and Betty took over all day-to-day operations of the paper. They eventually closed down both the job printing and office supply portions of the business and transitioned the paper away from a letterpress process (hot lead type) to a variety of more and more modern offset computer and printing systems.

Her beloved husband, Ed Shearer III, was tragically killed in an automobile accident in late 2003. Betty elected to sell the paper to David Howell, himself the son of an area newspaper family, and though she no longer owned the paper, she continued to do all the same jobs she had always done until the onset of cancer in early 2021. Even throughout her long cancer battle, she continued to write her somewhat infamous column “Betty’s Week” until shortly before her death.

Beyond work, Ed and Betty Shearer were devoted Christians, serving in various roles for many years at Camp Ground Baptist Church, and then later becoming founding members of Woodland Hill Baptist Church, both in Water Valley. Ed often served as Minister of Music, and Betty taught a wide variety of Sunday School Classes. In addition, she served on numerous committees throughout her long tenure at both churches, and she was also regularly noted as one of the best cooks for any Sunday dinner or other church function.

She leaves behind one son, Jim (Celeste) of Las Cruces, New Mexico. She also had five brothers, Terry Kilgore (deceased), Cliff Kilgore (deceased), Hugh Milton “Bo” Kilgore (Carolyn), Rance Taylor Kilgore (Ginny), Don Kilgore (Gina), and one sister, Jimmie Cole (Bill). She is also preceded in death by her mother, Beanice Hubbard Kilgore, and her father, Wiley Frank Kilgore.

Services are being handled by Seven Oaks Funeral Home of Water Valley. There will be a visitation at Seven Oaks on Friday, July 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will take place at Woodland Hills Baptist Church beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, 2022, followed by a brief graveside service at Oak Hill Cemetery, also in Water Valley. In lieu of flowers the family requests that you consider making a donation to Woodland Hills Baptist Church or the church of your choosing.


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