December 1, 2021
Risë Anne Spearman passed away on December 1, 2021, just a few weeks after having been diagnosed with cancer. Risë was born March 16, 1951 to Charles and Dorothy Spearman of Felton, Georgia. She loved her family, loved teaching at both the high school and university level, and loved traveling to Europe. During her years as a student at Buchanan High School, Risë was an enthusiastic cheerleader and a state rifle champion (thanks to her father’s training). With the help of Anne Scoggins, the county Home Demonstration Agent, she was the state 4-H champion in Forestry. Risë earned her B.A. at West Georgia College in 1973 and her M.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Georgia in 1977. She taught visual arts in the Gwinnett County School System for thirty years. Risë launched the fine arts program at Meadowcreek High School in 1986, and she taught there until her retirement. During her years at Meadowcreek, she sent more students to the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program than any other teacher in Georgia. In 1997, Risë was recognized as a national Distinguished Teacher by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Many of her students went on to careers in the fine arts, and many others, who established careers in other fields, told her how she had inspired them to develop to their fullest potential. After her retirement, Risë became a professor of visual art at Mercer University in Atlanta for more than a decade. As she had been with her high school students, she was incredibly successful at Mercer in convincing students who said, “I can’t do art” that they actually could create art and enjoy doing it. At the same time, she taught them to love art and art history. Risë loved to travel, she loved fine food, and naturally she loved to visit art museums. She and her husband, Dr. Howard Shealy, traveled to Europe nearly every summer, sometimes more than once in a given year. They visited cities from Istanbul to Edinburgh, but her favorite cities were Paris and Rome. She always said that she knew the streets of Rome better than those of Atlanta. Her home-away-from-home, however, was the tiny Italian hill town of Montepulciano. In every town she visited, she somehow always found the best hotels and the very best restaurants, becoming a regular at several of them over the years. Risë is survived by her husband, Dr. Howard Shealy, her nephew Chris Spruell, her niece Shala Hainer, and great-nephews Jackson and Dylan Hainer. She will be deeply missed, both by her family and by her numerous friends, both here and in Italy. If any of her friends would like to make donations in Risë’s name, they can contact the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. Please make sure to indicate that you are donating to the Art Education Fund, in memory of Mrs. Risë Spearman.
Risë Anne Spearman passed away on December 1, 2021, just a few weeks after having been diagnosed with cancer. Risë was born March 16, 1951 to Charles and Dorothy Spearman of Felton, Georgia. She loved her family, loved teaching at both the... View Obituary & Service Information
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