Lee Shearer, self-proclaimed Emperor of Knights Ferry, moved onto his next adventure on July 26, 2022.
Lee was born April 25, 1931 in Martinez, CA to Vincent and Marion Shearer. Lee, his parents and younger sister Jean moved to Knights Ferry and Lee had his mother as his teacher at the Knights Ferry Elementary School. He went to Oakdale High School and then to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo when it was a boys only school. He was active in putting together their Rodeo, graduated with a BS in Agricultural Science and post graduate studies in Education.
He returned to Oakdale and married Wanda Weeks. Moved to the Bay Area where daughter Patti was born. Went into the Army where he was a Counterintelligence Agent. After the Army, son Michael arrived. Lee then worked as an undercover agent for the Southern Pacific Railroad. After losing son Michael, the family moved back to Knights Ferry and Lee became a Stanislaus County Probation Officer.
While in the Ferry, Lee helped start what is now known as the annual “Knights Ferry Pumpkin Roll” after a party that ended up with pumpkins being thrown around, to the idea of rolling them down the street. He officiated the event as judge for 50 years.
After his divorce he met Mary Sue Sutton at Frontier High School in Modesto, where Mary Sue worked, they married in 1979 and moved into the home he was building on his folk’s property. Lee also had an office in Sonora where he did counseling on Saturdays.
Lee became very active in the Knights Ferry and Oakdale communities. He served on the Oakdale High School Board and was on the Civil Grand Jury. Lee was a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge #170, served as President of the Knights Ferry Community Club, Oak Grove Cemetery, Board and Knights Ferry History Museum. Because of his love of the town history he became “Emperor” and led many school children and adults on tours of the town, complete with period costume. The highlight of the tour was locking children and teachers in the old jail. Lee starred in an episode of California’s Gold hosted by Huell Howser. When Knights Ferry celebrated their 150 years of being a town, Lee was instrumental in putting the two-day celebration together.
For 39 years, the Shearer Hill hosted family and friends to an Easter celebration with an egg hunt, food and drinks. Lee enjoyed having everyone there.
Second only to Mary Sue, Lee loved his 356 Porsche. He also acquired a 1929 Model A Coupe, and was a member in the Porsche and Model A clubs touring in many parades.
Lee is preceded in death by son Michael and survived by his wife Mary Sue, sister Jean Hickey (Harvey) and children Patti Sandoval (Andy), Jeff Shearer (Leah), Cindy Davis (Neil), Victoria Krippner (Scott), grandchildren Joselyn Serrano (Tony), Wyatt and Sterling Shearer, Ridge Fisher, Alex Krippner (Jeramie), Claire Krippner, Gwyn Howard (Corey), great-grandchildren Millie and Sophia Serrano and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family thanks Community Hospice for their care of Lee.
Services will be September 10 at 11 a.m. at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Historic Knights Ferry, followed by a “Send Off Shindig” at both the Knights Ferry Community Club and Odd Fellows Hall in Downtown Knights Ferry.
Remembrances can be made to: The Knights Ferry History and Museum Associates, P.O. Box 861, Knights Ferry, CA 95361.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
Aug. 31, 2022