John W. Shearer

John W. Shearer was one of two children born to John L. Shearer of Kansas and Ethel Shaw of County Kildare, Ireland. The younger John was born in Highland Park, Michigan, in 1927. He died in Redlands, California, in 1998.

The decedent’s only brother Richard was married twice but never had any children. Our research eventually identified thirteen first cousins of John W. Shearer who either survived him or who had predeceased John with living issue.

A modest estate was opened for John by the local Public Administrator with no known heirs or relatives. After the initial estate was opened, some additional assets were located.

In the end, we located forty-one individuals who were judicially determined as John’s legal heirs-at-law. Some of these first cousins were three times removed or great-grandchildren of some of John’s first cousins.

John himself never married. It was easy to see how John drifted away from his family as we learned more about his life. John served during World War II in the Merchant Marines from 1941 to 1945. Our information eventually suggested he may have been as young as fourteen years-old when he left home.

His military career eventually included considerable assignments as a professional photographer. He was stationed in Germany, Okinawa, Viet Nam, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, to name a few ports of call. He was eventually discharged with the rank of Technical Sergeant from the U.S. Air Force in 1980. After retirement from the service, John settled in Southern California and worked as a Photo Technician for the West Covina Police Department.

In our long history, Brandenburger & Davis has worked on many cases involving people who have drifted away from their families because of their jobs, military service, or some other reason. Our research is fascinating because every decedent provides a wonderful, and sometimes, exotic story like that of John W. Shearer.