Warning—the conclusion of this post is now known to be incorrect. See the “He’s dead, Jim (or, Down a blind alley)” post for details.
In part 1 of this story, I explained how my inherited last name should have been “Scherer” or “Shearer,” but my grandfather, Vernon, refused to use that surname because his birth father, Zyonia Ray Shearer, abandoned him and his family when Vernon was only 4 or 5 years old. But then I looked briefly at Zyonia’s (Ray’s) childhood and found that he, too, had lost his father when he was only 4 or 5 years old. Family tradition held that Ray’s father, Gilbert Michael Scherer, died shortly before 1900 due to traumatic injuries he sustained in an accident:
“Gilbert Shearer was building a home in Missouri. He was working on the roof when he fell off across a tree stump, bursting his abdomen open. He fell from his house while shingling his roof. He was taken to a sanatorium, but died four days later. He was buried in Edmond Cemetery, 4 miles north of Powersville, MO.”
In part 2 of this story, I introduced Gilbert Michael Scherer and his wife Mary Belle (Coddington) Scherer, and tried to present everything I know (or thought I knew) about Gilbert, his short life, and his death. At the end of part 2, I presented the first piece of evidence that Gilbert was still alive long after his supposed death.
In this third and final installment, I’ll make the case for Gilbert not having died when, where, or how the family tradition maintains he died.