James D. Shaer

  • Born: August 27, 1958
  • Died: February 1, 2020
  • Location: Melrose, Massachusetts

Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176

Tel. (781) 665-1949

Tribute & Message From The Family


Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to James by adding your memories and photos.

James D. "Jim" Shaer of Melrose was known to many as a person who helped others and worked for the greater good in his community, state, region and nation while being a devoted family man. He consistently reached such heights in daily life and his 40-year career in public policy and service, government relations and media. Jim died Saturday, February 1st. He was 61.

Jim is survived by his wife of 26 years, Nancy (Tine) Shaer, recently retired from State Street Bank. Together, they traveled to Alaska, Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Caribbean and on baseball excursions. Jim and Nancy presided over dozens of gatherings in their warm, welcoming homes.

One of six children born to Domit J. and Eva N. Shaer of Agawam/Feeding Hills, Jim is survived by siblings Annmarie of Springfield, Dr. Catherine M. (Dr. Victor Sank) of Rockville, MD, Joseph D. (Rainbow) of Agawam/Feeding Hills, his twin Thomas G. (Lisa Shelnitz) of Chicago, IL and John N. (Lynne) of Rockville, MD. He is also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.

Everyone knew they could call on "Uncle Jimmy" or "Friend Jim" for anything, any time. He modeled a dedication to family, ethics, equal rights and public service. At weddings and other events, Jim's speeches traced family roots and achievements as he tied them together with the seemingly unrelated paths of others. He never missed a graduation, dance recital or other event of importance to relatives or friends.

Born August 27, 1958 in Springfield, Jim graduated from Agawam High School and later earned a B.A. in Political Science from American International College. He became active in Massachusetts politics as a teenager and went on to participate in many conventions of the Democratic National Committee (twice as a delegate) and Massachusetts Democratic Party.

At a state convention, Jim served on a team working for the nomination of John Kerry for Lieutenant Governor - won after multiple ballots. It was the biggest early step in Kerry's political career and, after Kerry was elected a United States Senator, Jim served 15 years on his staff, first as Assistant to the Senator then Assistant State Director.

Helping individual constituents and independent businesses became Jim's specialty. His files contain a huge volume of letters thanking him for solving problems and assisting companies, which saved jobs. Jim was also the lead member of Kerry's staff in developing major provisions of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

Jim Shaer's belief in John Kerry was unstinting, and the senator on numerous occasions personally expressed profound appreciation to him for securing the 1996 endorsement of Kerry by the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, which usually endorsed Republicans. Kerry would later say it made "an enormous difference." That key factor changed a narrative six weeks before Election Day, and Kerry beat challenger William Weld.

The next phase of Jim's career was as a government relations director for universities and a communications company. His most recent position was Executive Consultant for Advocacy and Public Policy for the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. National, state and local officials, along with community leaders, recognized Jim's contributions and expressed gratitude for his skill and commitment.

Residing with Nancy in Melrose since 1995, Jim served on local government and political committees and wrote the Around Town column for the Melrose Weekly News. He worked to elect various candidates and in 2005 helped redraft the Melrose City Charter.

Though passionate about public affairs, Jim, with his wife, still found time to avidly follow the Boston sports teams. He attended six Red Sox World Series, a Celtics title-clinching game, a Patriots Super Bowl, several All-Star Games and the Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series.

This was a man who humbly yet strongly impacted others. Jim had a great sense of humor and enjoyed the simple things in life. He will be dearly missed.

Family and friends will gather Thursday, February 6th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose (www.gatelyfh.com). A Mass celebrating Jim's life will be held at St. Mary of the Annunciation Church, 9 Herbert St., Melrose. on Friday, February 7th at 11:00 a.m. Burial at Lakeside Cemetery, 501 North Ave., Wakefield.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital (https://www.stjude.org/) or Smile Train (https://my.smiletrain.org/login).

News Story written and published by The Springfield Republican at the link below:

https://www.masslive.com/news/2020/02/family-friends-mourn-death-of-james-shaer-longtime-john-kerry-aide-and-agawam-native.html