If you’ve ever crossed paths with Ross Desmond Shearer, you wouldn’t soon forget. He had an infectious smile and an inspiring attitude toward life that made an unquestionable impact on those around him. When you asked Ross how he was feeling, the answer was always—without hesitation—“excellent.” His passion, dedication, and resilience inspired his family, friends, colleagues, and those he helped through his 29-year career as a firefighter and District Chief of Chinguacousy and Brampton fire departments, and later as a longtime volunteer driver for Helping Hands in Orillia, Ont. He showed his tremendous generosity through his philanthropic support of countless not-for-profit organizations, as well as with peanuts and treats for local wildlife and his beloved family pets.
Ross died on Monday, January 3 in Glenburnie, Ont., at age 88. He was surrounded by family—a testament to the life he and his wife of 49 years, Dorothy, built from love.
Ross was born on August 15, 1933, in Toronto, Ont. He met and married Dorothy (Anderson) and moved to Bramalea where they had three beautiful children (all his favourite). Ross lived for his family. His daughters have fond memories of camping trips, traveling by car to Red Rock, Florida, and Virginia Beach, pool parties, and gatherings with Ross and Dorothy’s close friends at their home in Bramalea. They also remember his unique sense of humour that embarrassed them on more than one occasion. Dawn and Tracey recall their father showing up in uniform while they worked at McDonalds and loudly trying to order pizza. But his awkward humour only added to his charm. This was embraced by his grandchildren, who relished visits to their grandparents’ Wasaga Beach home. Ross shared his sense of adventure and leisure with his grandkids, whether it was through trips to the beach or trail rides on Ross and Dorothy’s snowmobiles. His children and grandchildren remember Ross’s love of the changing seasons, gardening, woodworking, and Dorothy.
In 2000, Ross and Dorothy had a serious collision that resulted in Ross having a life-altering stroke. Despite a challenging prognosis, Ross underwent intensive rehabilitation and, through his determination (stubbornness) and strength, learned to manage his condition and regain his independence. In 2006, Ross faced Dorothy’s passing with the same strength.
In recent years, Ross loved to sit in front of a fire and watch Nascar (cheering for Jeff Gordon), trips to the casino, talking politics, and spending time with family, including his great grandchildren. In 2020, Ross moved to eastern Ontario with his daughter, Dawn, and family. In recent months, Ross made it clear he lived a good life and didn’t miss an opportunity to tell his family he loved them.
He is survived by his children Darlene (Graham) Bragger, Dawn Shearer, Tracey (Cam) Watts, grandchildren Danielle van den Brink (Alan Lewis), Christopher (Jen) Bragger, Alison Bragger, Kerrie Watts, Kristen Watts (Liam Lalor), Ben Matthews (Lenda Alberico), Adden Hall (Jillian Little), and great grandchildren Harper, Ayva, Hudson, Maxine, and Carson (Christine Hall). He is predeceased by his wife, Dorothy, granddaughter, Samantha van den Brink, and his sister, Betty Lamondin. He is beloved and dearly missed by nieces Brenda Humphrys and Bonnie Lamondin and many other nieces and nephews, as well as his extended family in Red Rock (Salminens, Nelsons, and Fawcetts), and friends (Stevensons, Ganes, Forgies, and his fire department family).
We are confident Dorothy, Samantha, and his family pets welcomed him to his next chapter with open arms. We will forever carry Ross’s undeniable and indistinguishable spirit that made a lasting mark on us all.
Ross will be laid to rest with Dorothy at the Allenwood Cemetery in Elmvale later this year. There will be no visitation or funeral
The Shearer family would like to send their sincere and heartfelt thanks to the staff at the Fairmont Home in Glenburnie. Without your compassion and support our family could not have endured the past months.
In lieu of flowers, our family would like to ask—in Ross’s spirit of giving—for donations to be made to the Fairmont Home.