JW Spear, Sr. Obituary

Jo-Walter Spear, Sr.

JW Spear, Sr.
JW Spear, Sr.

November 3, 1942—March 1, 2020

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.

Nonprofit Support

Jo’s favorite nonprofits were Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley and Southern Environmental Law Center.

Celebration of Life

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.