Jo-Walter Spear, Sr., known to many as “JW,” died peacefully in his home on March 1, 2020.
JW Exuded Love
He was born to Joseph G. Spear and Miriam (Davis) Spear i n Salem, NJ on November 3, 1942. He inherited his father’s devilish wit and mother’s grace and a love for all people. He had a silver tongue, a ready smile, and usually a joke or two for anyone with the time to chat. His warmth and congeniality was a magnet that drew in everyone he met. His best friend and wife, Faith (Ford) Spear, was unable to resist his charm for 54 years.
Education & Employment
Jo graduated from Pennsville HIgh School and went on to receive a biology degree from Rutgers University and a Masters in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He used his captivating gift for communication to teach elementary and high schools in Elsinboro, Olivet, and Vineland, NJ before finding his true calling in solid waste engineering.
He founded a successful business, JSA Environmental, Solid Waste Management Consultants, in 1997, while continuing to honor his love for teaching. He taught solid waste engineering at MSCE Midwest College of Engineering in Chicago and MSOE Milwaukee School of Engineering and was a member and certified instructor of SWANA Solid Waste Association of North America.
Most recently, Jo served on the Lewis Creek Watershed Commission in Staunton, VA. He was a Federal Emergency Management Association certified instructor of disaster debris management.
He was always eager to share his knowledge of environmental management practices. Jo’s love of teaching extended into his weekends and evenings as he was a lifelong member of the Religious Society of Friends and a member of Valley Friends Meeting in Dayton, VA. He taught at the Friend’s Meeting whenever the opportunity presented itself. Leading groups of young Friends brought joy and meaning to his life.
Jo served with pride on the board of MICAH, Milwaukee Intercity Alliance of Churches for Hope during his time in Milwaukee, WI. He was active in Meeting and served on various committees throughout his long tenure as a Friend.
Bringing People Together
Jo believed strongly in equality and representation for all people. He enjoyed volunteering his time to promote causes that would bring people together or shed light on inequalities. He believed in community, cooperation, and inclusion. Jo was an initial organizer of the Bridges International Potluck in Harrisonburg, VA, bringing people of all cultures and backgrounds together for meals and laughs.
Listening, Loving, Laughing
Where Jo really shined was anytime he was with the important people in his life. He could make anyone, friend or family, feel like the most important person in the room. He was a listener and a thinker and a teller of tales. He was strong, but tender, fun-loving, but dignified, and always dedicated to his loving wife, Faith, who will forever miss him. He will also be missed by his sons, Jo-Walter Spear, Jr. and Fritz Flynn; daughter, Morgen Flynn; and his cherished granddaughter, Erin Faith Flynn. The family says no one will ever make them laugh quite the same way, but they will continue to joke and tell stories as he would have wanted.
Valley Friends Meeting will hold a celebration of Jo’s life at the meetinghouse, 363 High Street, Dayton, VA on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 11 am (one-hour service), to be followed by a light potluck lunch and an ice cream social. All are welcome. Please bring a dish to share, or simply show up and enjoy the camaraderie, but please do not forget your smile and your sense of humor.
Valley Friends Meeting Provides Two Scholarships for Peace in 2020
In 2020, Valley Friends Meeting chose two applicants to receive peace building scholarships to Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI). A total of $2,250 in scholarships was awarded to Josephine Santiago of San Francisco, California and Maha Mehanna of Palestine.
For the past eleven years, VFM has supported peace builders attending EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Recipients have come from around the world, including Australia, Burundi, Kenya, Pakistan, South Korean and United States.
Valley Friends Supports Peace, Awarding Three Peace Building Scholarships in 2019
In 2019, Valley Friends Meeting chose three applicants to receive peace building scholarships to Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. A total of $3,000 was awarded to Eunkyung Ahn, Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth Po, three global peace makers.
All three recipients will share their peace building experiences in free discussions at the Valley Friends Meetinghouse, 363 High Street, Dayton, Virginia.
Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth Po, global peace activists from Australia, will discuss the implications of their Summer Peacebuilding Institute studies on their work with the UN, Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty having just attended the conference prior to coming to Virginia. Their presentation will be held Sunday, May 19, at the VFM meetinghouse, from 11:30 am-1:00 pm. The discussion is free and open to the public.
Eunkyung Ahn, a teacher and peace builder from South Korea, is attending the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR 1) program. Ms. Ahn will discuss her peace building activities in a presentation on Sunday, May 26, at the VFM meetinghouse, from 11:30 am-1:00 pm. The discussion is free and open to the public.
For the past ten years, VFM has supported peace builders attending EMU’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute. Recipients have come from around the world, including Australia, Burundi, Kenya, Pakistan, South Korean and United States.
Valley Friends Meeting to Host Guest Speaker: Jerry Knutsen
VFM’s April 28, 2019 Worship & Second Hour Discussion will be led by Special Guest, Jerry Knutsen, author of “Individual Spiritual Discernment: Receiving, Testing, Implementing Leadings from a Higher Power,” Pendlehill Pamphlet #443.
This pamphlet presents—in a kind of how-to format—methods for receiving individual spiritual guidance; testing the guidance using methods that give both reliable and ambiguous results; and implementing the guidance. The pamphlet concludes with suggestions on using spiritual disciplines to build a better relationship with a Higher Power. Discussion questions included. ~ Amazon
Join Valley Friends Meeting in reflective Meeting for Worship at 10 AM followed by a discussion of spiritual discernment on Sunday, April 28. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, October 7, 2017, during the Dayton Days Autumn Celebration, the Quakers/Valley Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends held space in their booth for a Silent Peace Vigil.
Friends sat in silence with others, praying for peace. We lifted up our silent prayers to help the world heal and bring healing to those who suffer.
Valley Friends also offered respite from chaos during the day in their meeting house, located at 363 High Street, Dayton. People were invited to stop by the meeting house for tea or joinin our Silent Peace Vigil at our booth at the Autumn Celebration.
Singing for Peace, Saturday, November 11, 2017, 7-8:30 PM
Everyone welcome. The Quakers/Valley Friends Meeting will host “Singing for Peace, Songs of Peace and Light,” an evening for one and all to sing songs around the campfire and pray for peace. Join us at 363 High Street, Dayton, around the campfire behind the meeting house. Light refreshments provided. Help us lift our voices for peace. FREE.
Intergenerational Games Night, Saturday, October 14, 2017, 7-8:30 PM
Everyone welcome. Family games night at the Quakers/Valley Friends Meeting, 363 High Street, Dayton. Light refreshments provided. Come join us. FREE.
If there is a threat of inclement weather, the Valley Friends Meeting Ministry, Worship and Clerking Committee (MWC) will decide by 6 p.m. on Saturday evening whether Meeting for Worship will be held the next day. If possible, cancellations will be announced before 11 p.m. Saturday through this website, our Facebook page and the local TV Station, WHSV TV.