Janet Elaine Shearer Matlock left this world August 19, 2020, the morning after her 68th birthday. She fought a valiant battle with cancer. Janet was born August 18,1952 to Preston and Estelle Shearer in the rural community of Wilburn, Arkansas. In true style, she tried coming into the world feet first so she could get a fast start on her precocious, hyper-active young life. After three attempts, the doctor convinced her to turn for an easier arrival. Janet was her older brother Danny’s little shadow. She would often sneak off to play or fish in the river sparking her love for the nature of the Cleburne County area. After the death of her mother, at the young age of 5, she clung to her older brother Danny to weather the storm of grief and search for a place to belong. Through the love of grandparents, aunts, uncles and sisters, she was cared for in a collective effort. Most of her grade school education was in Little Rock, Arkansas, and then moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1968 where she graduated from Southside High School in 1970. She attended Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida, and then returned to Fort Smith, which became her forever home.
In 1969, Janet discovered her love for women’s softball. She began pitching for the teams then called Whitson’s, McGinnis Oilers, and later Reeder Simco. There she met her soul sisters and found a heart home. The team soon learned tenacity was in her blood. So determined was she to keep her new family, never to be replaced or relegated to the bench or, heaven forbid, cut from the team, she would endure line drives to the chest, face, you name it. Or cover her foot cast in plastic to pitch in the rain with black mascara streaks running down her face. Whatever the challenge, her spitfire energy seemed to welcome and conquer them all. These relationships, formed with mutual love and support, carried her through life’s trials and celebrations. Her love and devotion to the game and her cherished team of sisters helped define the Janet we know and love. Known to them as “JJ”, these sisters supported Janet through her cancer battle carrying a #TEAMJJ campaign with Janet as their coach. One sister said Janet taught her, “...at the end of a long season, team matters most,” and she gave her heart to the team.
Janet worked many years at First National Bank, downtown Fort Smith making lifetime friends. She cut her teeth in the world of sales with radio advertising. Her debut as an entrepreneur was the successful creation of Happy House, a residential hygiene service, followed by Corporate Accommodations, an early version of corporate Air B&B, and on to Sharp Personel putting people to work.
Community service and philanthropic endeavors were an integral focus of Janet’s daily life. This was her passion! She committed tireless efforts in fundraising support for organizations including the FS Children’s Service League and FS Boys & Girls Club, which were closest to her heart. Supporting children in need was often her catalyst for leaving the world a better place. “I can’t stand the thought of babies being hungry or cold.”
Other volunteer efforts include service with the Old Fort Days Rodeo (Golden Nugget), 10 years with the Fort Smith Classic PGA Tournament where she received National Volunteer of the Year. Janet served at the Special Olympic Trivia Nights and on various boards including the River Front Blues Society and the Board of Realtors, which she served as President. Her career in real estate garnered her multiple awards including Million Dollar Seller and Realtor of the Year. Again tenacity, determination and endurance became her trademark. Her work in real estate and charities wasn’t about awards, but rather her love of helping people. Whether she was serving our community and building a better future or “your realtor for a lifetime” and found the perfect home for you, it is guaranteed she was definitely your friend for eternity.
The crowning jewels on Janet’s ball caps and visors are her son Chad, his wife Theresa, and their sons Max and Jett; Travis and Jeanine Matlock and their children Katelyn, Emily, Alexis, and Mason; Grant and Amanda Matlock and their children Caylinn, Logan, Laya and Landon; and Ty and Meagan Matlock and their daughter Haven; who, with her loving husband Donnie, courageously cared for her through the end.
A Memorial gathering will be held at Community Bible Church, 9201 Dallas Street, Fort Smith, AR, 72903, Wednesday, August 26, 2020 from 5-6 for family, 6-7 for friends and will be live-streamed through the Community Bible Church of Ft. Smith website www.communitychurch.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to FS Children’s Service League PO BOX 10008 FSA 72917 and The FS Boys & Girls Club 4905 North O Street, FSA 72904. Honorary Pall Bearers are her soul sisters: Gaylene Wurtzbacher, Diana Marre, Sally Whitmer, Debbie Derrick Jennings, Sally Wright and Lynda Rogers and her GAP Girls.
Janet is preceded in death by her parents, Rev. Preston Shearer and Beulah Estelle Ledbetter Shearer of Heber Springs, AR; brother Harris Daniel Shearer of Benton, AR; and nephew Jimmy Jarrett of Rogers.
Janet is survived by her husband of 29 years, Donnie Matlock, four sons and their wives, 11 grandchildren, her sisters Dathel Shearer Stair Balch of Clewiston, FL; Mara Shearer Stark Jarrett of Searcy, AR; nieces and nephews: Valerie Kaye Stark Newsome and husband Kevin and son Logan of Tampa, FL; Marla Estelle Stair-Wood her husband Andy of Knoxville, TN; Ellisa Stair Martin of Clewiston, FL; nephew Dr. Scott Shearer and wife Christy of Branson, MO; Twins Michael Shearer & Melissa Shearer of Benton, AR; Aunt Bea Tharp and cousin Jessica McNeil and her son Ryan and wife Tracie Gorman and son Graham of Deland, FL; cousins Keith and Kevin Ledbetter of Searcy, AR; and numerous friends whom she loved dearly.
Services are entrusted to Edwards Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be sent to www.edwards funeralhome.com