Shearwood, known as “Wood” to many of his classmates, died Aug. 13, 2023, after a long illness. He left us having achieved his chief aim in life, which was always to make a difference.

Shearwood hailed from Gary, Ind., where his father worked in the steel mills. Valedictorian of his high school class, Shearwood went on to Princeton. He was a member of the Woodrow Wilson Society and roomed in 1937 Hall with Marion Sleet, Bob Middleton ’70, Gerald Horne ’70, and Bob Collins ’71. Shearwood was active in Orange Key, Harlem in Princeton, and the Association of Black Collegians.

Predicting his future profession, Shearwood’s friends often called him “The Doctor.” A gentle giant of a man, possessed of deft dance moves and “a Sidney Poitier smile,” it seemed inevitable that he would meet, and later marry, Yvonne Thornton, who loved medicine, music, and people as much as Shearwood.

He earned a medical degree from Columbia and completed his orthopedic residency at Columbia-Presbyterian. Following voluntary military service, Shearwood served for 25 years as director of orthopedic surgery at Harlem Hospital Center and associate professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at Columbia.

As a doctor, Shearwood was a foot soldier for the poor and disenfranchised. He was not only a great arthroplastic surgeon, but also had the understanding, compassion, and dedication to practice in an inner-city hospital. He joined with Yvonne to pursue this mission as an exemplary couple. Yvonne survives him, as do his children, Shearwood III and Kimberly. The Class of 1969 joins them in mourning the death of this admirable man.

Class Year: 
Undergraduate Class of 1969