Online Obituaries and Tributes

Robert Lawrence Shearer

February 25, 1944 - September 18, 2016

Melbourne Beach

Robert Lawrence Shearer died in his home at 10:22 a.m. on September 18, 2016. He was 72 years of age. Born to Samuel Larry and Mary Berrien Shearer in Louisville, Kentucky on February 25, 1944, Bob earned a doctorate in philosophy from Florida State University and taught for Florida Tech for 35 years, making significant contributions, largely via his role in the faculty senate, during that time. His passions for existential philosophy and music guided his teaching, and also his life, as perhaps best demonstrated by his poetry. As he stated in a poem titled Existential Philosophy:

No answer not a question;

No question not a labyrinth;

No labyrinth without a trailing thread

unspooling from entrance to center;

No center not the axis of the spool.

Bob dedicated much of his life to the study of temporality and existence, perceiving “That life can’t end, to the extent that I exist now; That ‘temporary immortality’ is not a contradiction in terms; That a moment of joy can be cast into the temporal architecture of the eternal; That life is too profound to be defined by death, a negative; That, happily, the negative is negligible in the face of the positive.”

In addition to his wife, Bob is survived by his sister, Diana Vardaman, her children, and her grandchildren.

Bob was a passionate pianist and an avid sailor, as well as a dedicated teacher to all who knew him. He had an overarching sense of the impact of love and loss, of presence, memory, and the effects of time:

We live again when the joy of past founds

The present sent to withhold and allow.


Memory, it seems, redeems the past of time;

It makes near what is dear, and only mine.

Funeral Information

A reception was held in his honor on September 24, 2016 at Djon’s, where he completed two books of philosophy, two novels, several short stories, multiple papers, and numerous poems during his years of nightly visits. Florida Tech hosted a memorial service for him on October 14, 2016.

Donations Information

It is requested that those who wish to contribute in Bob’s honor or memory send donations to Florida Tech, the Florida Wildlife Hospital, or Smile Train.

Robert Lawrence Shearer

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