Margaret Dixon Shearer
February 24, 1929 – January 15, 2023
(Amie) Margaret Dixon Shearer was born on February 24, 1929, in Los Angeles, California. She entered into rest on January 15, 2023. She was the 2nd child of Paul William and Sarah Elizabeth (Baily) Dixon. Her elder brother Paul William Jr. took his job as “Big Brother” very seriously, giving her advice and guidance throughout her life. Her family returned to the ancestral home, named 7 Oaks, in Sac City, Iowa, when she was 9 years old. She lived in her family home with her parents and grandmother, Amie Williams Baily.
She attended the all-girls boarding school of Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, MN, and graduated in 1948. She went to Lindenwood School for Girls in St. Charles, MO, before transferring to Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She graduated from Carleton with a degree in Art History. She later received her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Margaret lived in New York City, working at Macy’s for a time, and later lived in Rapid City, SD, working as a secretary before settling in Des Moines, IA. There she taught high school typing and secretarial science for a number of years at Valley High School. It was there that she met a young student, Judy Shearer, who introduced her favorite teacher to her divorced father, and the next chapter of her life began.
Margaret was married to Harry Kenneth Shearer on April 2, 1966. On November 14, 1967, her first daughter, Paula Rae, was born. Her second daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born on November 6, 1968. Her youngest child, William Harrison, was born on August 6, 1971. The family lived on a farmstead outside Sac City, Iowa. In 1975, after divorcing, Margaret and her children moved to Omaha, NE, so that she could return to school. Soon after arriving in Omaha, Margaret was fortunate to find All Saint’s Episcopal Church, where she was a member for the rest of her life.
In Omaha, Margaret taught classes at Metropolitan Community College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha while she pursued her Masters degree. It was during her studies that her interest in computers was kindled. Her Masters thesis, written in 1982, focused on the advances of computer word processing in education. Her thesis was one of the first written and turned in on a computer at UNO.
She started her own business, The Computer Classroom, teaching computer processing to Omaha executives while continuing to explore computer developments as a hobby on her own. After selling the business and retiring, Margaret continued to act as the President and Treasurer of one of her family’s Iowa farm companies, Riverview Apartments Ltd.
Margaret was an avid world traveler. As a college student she spent a summer bike riding across France. She also spent time in Munich Germany and heard the Pope speak in Rome. While teaching in West Des Moines, she traveled independently to such places as Cuba and the Caribbean. She continued to explore the world once her children were old enough to travel. She took them on adventures to New Orleans, Yellowstone, Canada, California, Florida. She focused on giving them new experiences – she took the children by car, by plane, by train and by bus. They camped, stayed in high end hotels and cute B&Bs. Once her children were adults, they continued to travel as a family.
They traveled extensively in the US, saw a show on Broadway, took a cruise to the Bahamas and saw shows in Las Vegas. Margaret and her daughter Mary spent a month in a rented flat in London. A trip to the Orient in 2008 included a Yangtze River cruise in China, a hot springs spa in Japan and a cable car ride in Hong Kong. Exotic Morocco included palaces, souqs, and mosques. In 1990 the Shearers saw the once-a-decade Passion Play in Oberamergau Germany. For Margaret’s 90th birthday her daughters and grandchildren took her to Hawaii, where she enjoyed a luau, the beach, visited Pearl Harbor, and was the oldest person to ever go on the whale watching tour they joined. The family traveled to Europe multiple times, the last being just a year ago, where they spent Christmas with Margaret’s niece, Marla, in Madrid Spain and New Year’s in Paris France. Her final trip was in September to visit stepdaughter Judy in Denton Texas.
In keeping with Margaret’s love of art, she was a Docent for many years at the Joselyn Art Museum in Omaha. She created many of the tours, such as Animals in Jocelyn’s Art and Musical Instruments in Jocelyn’s Art, that are still being used today.
Margaret was a third-generation P.E.O. who served in nearly every officer’s position in her Omaha Chapter of GB. Both her daughters Paula and Mary are members of GB as well. While Margaret was serving as President she said, “If you don’t have Pro Tem officers, grow your own.” She and daughter Paula created and published the Chapter’s quarterly newsletter GB Notes for many years.
In addition to her love of travel and art, Margaret was a great lover of music. She played the flute in her high school band, played the piano and loved music in all forms. She supported the Omaha Symphony, Opera Omaha and Ballet Omaha for years through the Omaha Community Foundation. She introduced her children and grandchildren to classical music at a very young age, taking them to the symphony, the ballet and plays often.
Margaret loved to read as well. She read the mysteries of Dick Francis and Mary Higgins Clark and did the World-Herald crossword puzzle – in ink – until her eyesight gave way. She loved poetry and word games. Where other families played flag football, Margaret led her family in “Cultural Literacy Trivia”
For all her love of travel, art and music, her greatest joys were her three grandchildren, Paula’s sons Logan William & Eli Richard and Mary’s daughter Lilibeth Margaret. Her face would light up when she spoke of these precious children. Their futures and success prompted her to encourage a private education for them at Omaha’s Brownell Talbot where she was a frequent visitor to their plays and musical events. For many years her favorite afternoon activity was to ride along to pick the children up from school.
Margaret’s daughters and grandchildren were blessed to be able to have her live with them during her final years. Each evening was spent watching the news and Jeopardy. Her room, walker and chair were decorated with drawings and stickers from her little Lilibeth.
Margaret died peacefully at home with her family on January 15th, 2023. She was preceded in death by her son, William, her grandson Charles, her brother Paul, her sister-in-law Barbara, and her parents Paul and Elizabeth. She is survived by her daughters, Paula and Mary, and stepdaughter Judy Martin-Tafoya (Steve), her grandchildren Logan, Eli, and Lilibeth, nephew Paul Dixon (Ruth), nieces Karen Corbid, Ann Eiswerth (Mark), and Marla Dixon-Morato (Jose Luis), cousin Mary Hoffman, and special friend Allison Ortiz.
Family will receive friends Wednesday, January 18th from 5-7PM at West Center Chapel
Funeral: Thursday, January 19th, 11AM at All Saints Episcopal Church (9302 Blondo Street)
Interment: Flower Hill Cemetery
Memorials are suggested to PEO International or to the Omaha Community Foundation