David “Dave” Shearon, 70, former mayor of Watkinsville (2018-2019), lost a long battle with prostate cancer, followed by bladder cancer, and died in his home in Watkinsville on Friday, June 17.
Dave was born on March 24, 1952 in Chicago, IL. He moved to Watkinsville in 1997 with his husband, Mario Castro, and brother Jim Shearon, opening Ashford Manor Bed & Breakfast and Events Facility. Ashford Manor closed its doors in 2019.
Dave had a rich creative history and traveled the globe before landing in Georgia; one of his most memorable life events was celebrating a birthday at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and hearing the natives sing “Happy Birthday” to him in Swahili.
He was raised in Wilmette, IL on the north shore of Chicago, graduating from New Trier East High School in 1970, and Cum Laude from Boston University in 1974. His career highlights include art director for Sears Catalog, advertising director for Telaction, creative director for Talbots, advertising consultant for a Japanese catalog in Kyoto, Japan and creative director for Spiegel catalog.
He met his husband, Mario Castro, in 1993 in Chicago. Mario became his business partner as well in running Ashford Manor. The five-acre estate became the first hospitality venue of its kind in Oconee County, and in just under 20 years hosted 572 weddings, many Concerts on the Lawn, charitable events, and overnight guests, bringing over 300,000 people to Watkinsville.
Dave may best be remembered for his philanthropic ventures and enormous generosity. He especially supported working for the betterment of one’s own community, whether it was offering financial help to local organizations, or reaching out to neighbors.
Dave’s kindness included caring for his mother, Louise Shearon, beloved in the community as “Miss Louise.” She relocated to the Ashford Manor property in 2000, and lived there until her death at the age of 101 in 2015.
Dave is also preceded in death by his father Kenneth Shearon, brothers William Shearon (Nancy Shearon), James Shearon, Gerald Shearon and nephew Kenneth Shearon.
He is survived by his husband Mario Allen Castro; niece Kricki Henderson and her husband Eddie Henderson, and their children Evan and Jeanette Henderson; great nephew Dylan Shearon and his wife Tricia Shearon, and their children, Taylor and Kendall Shearon; and extended family Barbara and Keith Behnke and their children Kelsey and Brandon Behnke.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, July 30.
In lieu of flowers, Dave would want us all to pay it forward. He is irreplaceable and his impact will be felt in this community for generations.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home, WEST, Watkinsville is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com.