Thomas W. Schear, a man of great integrity, who loved his faith and family, was called kindly and swiftly to his maker on June 14, 2014.
A Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Patrick's Church in Milford, officiated by the Rev. Gregory Kelly, with a quiet and beautiful military send-off after Mass.
He married Pauline Podstawski in 1953. His wife so happily remembers their marriage of 60 years.
He was born in Elizbeth, N.J., in January 1925. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School he worked in the labor force until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. He served in World War II in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. He served in Company M 289th Infantry 75th Division as supervisor of seven machine gunners in combat operation. He was wounded in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. He is the receiver of three battle stars, the American Theater Ribbon, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged as staff sergeant in 1946. He joined the Army Reserve until 1953 and became 1st Lieutenant.
He attended Pratt University for a short time under the G.I. Bill and then Seton Hall University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in English and Spanish. He continued on to Columbia University for his bachelor of science degree and masters degree in library science, also completing all studies for a doctorate.
His career as a librarian commenced in 1951 in the reference department of the Elizabeth, N.J., Public Library. Then in 1960 he became assistant director at the Passaic, N.J., Public Library and in 1961 became director. He retired in 1987.
At Passaic he was instrumental in being able to acquire, with the help of the library board of trustees, a Grand Steinway piano, where he began for many years a series of piano concerts, jazz concerts, and other music programs, free to the public. Many famous artists, for a nominal fee, came from New York and elsewhere to play at these programs.
He also helped, with other state library directors, to institute the New Jersey Library Film Circuit, whereby patrons could borrow movie films and cameras for home entertainment. College students always thanked him for the great collection he kept for their reference work. He also initiated programs where the many different nationalities living in Passaic could show and teach their cultures to each other.
He became a member of the New Jersey Library Association in 1962 and was so until his passing in 2014. He was also a member of the American Library Association for many years. In 1971 he was elected president of the New Jersey Association and previously held the offices of secretary, treasurer, ad parliamentarian, and parliamentarian after retiring until 1999.
He was involved with the Boy Scouts in Passaic, where the family lived for a number of years.
Tom was an avid reader and a great listener. When he spoke there was very little or any contest.
He was a music enthusiast and, in his younger years, saw and heard many of the great artists at Carnegie Hall. Pauline remembers being at Carnegie with him and hearing Yo-Yo Ma's first cello solo, playing with the New York Philharmonic. Operas, plays, and small jazz groups were also his listening as well as attendance pleasure. He had a large collection of art, music, and history books. He and Pauline frequently visited museums in many states, especially when special collections were being shown to the public.
He vacationed on Cape Cod for 33 years with his family. He loved fishing with his children, long walks on the beaches, and many trips to the D.Q. with his children. When he and Pauline moved to Milford after his retirement, he began woodworking and pursued it quite passionately. He liked to take long drives and visit places.
Tom was respected by many, and old friends, long time gone.
He dearly loved his children, quietly, and so leaves behind his forever wife, Pauline, and his seven children, Thomas M. and wife, Jane, of Sussex, N.J., David and wife, Susan, of Newark, N.J., Carl and wife, Elyse, of Sussex, N.J., Philip and wife, Debbie, of Paterson, N.J., Diane and husband, Michael Tanoff of Kalamazoo, Mich., Dennis of Butler, N.J., Judith and husband, John McCann, of Rutherford, N.J., and daughter-in-law Ann Donnelly.
The joys of his life, his grandchildren, whom he always read to and played board games with, are Christine, Andrew, Juliette, Justina, Jeremy, Ben Schear Tanoff, and Michelle McCann. He also leaves many nieces and nephews, and his sister-in-law Jane Brown of Colorado.
He was predeceased by his brothers Joseph and Robert, and his older brother Gerard, who passed one month after him. He was also predeceased by his sister and brother-in-law, Rosalie and John Shelesnik.
His wishes were to be interned in the National Military Cemetery in Bourne, Mass.
"We will feel him in the little moments, the stories and familiar places he stepped in and out of."