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:



Condolence & Memory Journal

Jim was a kind soul and was always a friend in need.

Posted by MIchael Grimaldi - Friend   June 24, 2020

My thoughts and prayers for the Shaer family.
I worked at Shaer's Market in the late 1970's lots of cherished memories, so sad to hear this news.

Posted by Lisa Hopping - Agawam, MA   February 27, 2020

My heart breaks for this sad time in the Shaer family.
Lori Heiden and family

Posted by Laura Heiden - Atascadero, CA - Family Friend   February 24, 2020

Joe ,John, Tom, & family I was surprised to hear of Jim's passing, definitely the most comical of y'all... He will be sadly missed, my sincerest condolences , lots of cherished memories...

Posted by Joseph Liquori - Enfield, CT   February 23, 2020

My thoughts and prayers to James and his family. My you find comfort in knowing he is at peace.

Posted by William Aubin - Fall River, MA   February 19, 2020

I was sorry to hear Jimmy had passed away so young. We had been good friends in Agawam High. We lost contact after high school . Please accept my sympathy at this time.

Posted by Edward Cyran - Friend   February 15, 2020

My deepest sympathy to Nancy and all the family. Jim and I -like many others- go back to the Kerry campaign. We shared a love of collecting political memorabilia. So sad to hear the news. RIP my friend.
Mike Schulze

Posted by A friend   February 14, 2020

Oh Annmarie,
so sorry to hear this news. Know you are in my prayers

Posted by Marcia StOnge - Feeding Hills, MA   February 11, 2020

My Heartfelt Condolences to the Shaer Family

When Dom Shaer asked me to work at Shaer's Market in the early 1970's, I didn't know how boisterous and fun-loving the Shaer family was. I have such fond memories working with Jimmy, Tom, Joe, and John. When we were not taking care of the customers, we would share our dreams of the future. Jimmy was always passionate about politics. I am so happy to see how he lived his dreams and shared his light with the world! Blessings to you, Jimmy and family.

Sandra Adamski Thornton

Posted by Sandra Adamski Thornton - Medford, OR - Family Friend   February 11, 2020

I worked with Jim for many years, from the '82 race on. When I left Melrose, he was responsible for inviting old Kerry comrades to my going-away party, for which I was so grateful. He was the most phenomenal encyclopedia of political facts I've ever known, a super-loyal Democrat and a hard worker. Most important, he had a heart as big as the world. My sincerest sympathies to Nancy, Tom, and the Shaer family.

Posted by Bonnie Cronin - Mitchellville, MD - Friend   February 08, 2020

My condolences to Nancy and all of Jim's family. I met Jim during his many years of public service, first through his work with Senator Kerry where he worked with my father (Jim King) and later as a lobbyist at the State House. Jim was a great person who always greeted me with a smile and was happy to help. His knowledge of political memorabilia was amazing. My father would often tell me that if I ever had a question about a political artifact that I needed to talk to Jim Shaer. He will be missed by me and so many more.

My condolences.

Posted by Sean King - Newburyport, MA - Friend   February 07, 2020

I'm so sorry to hear of Jim's passing.
The Shaer family is such a great part of my memories of Agawam as a boy. My Dad took us to the market so many times and I was always in awe of all the Shaer "men" who were probably just older boys
My condolences to you.

Posted by Michael Knight - Sapphire, NC   February 07, 2020

Dear Nancy and Shaer Family,
I wish you all well. Jim was a friend, but more importantly he was an all consuming person who gave of himself to those who asked. Dedication and trust were hallmark attributes that guided Jim's life. When something needed to get done, he was there to do it. Family, friends, and all who had the honor to work with Jim share the pain of his passing. The fragility of life makes us all need to love the precious moments we share with one another. Rest peacefully, in the arms of our Lord. I loved you Jim and I will never forget you . Be well Nancy.

Posted by Joseph Nowak - Adams, MA   February 07, 2020

So sorry to hear of Jim's passing. My love and prayers go out to Nancy, John, Tom, Joe, and the entire family. Jim was a true gentleman. The Barketts and the Shaers go back many years with fond memories at St. Anthony's Church where Jim, John and I served mass as altar boys. Jim was intrumental in having Senator Kerry visit our Big E White Hut location years ago and made sure I received a personally signed photo of the Senator and I not long after the visit.
Jim always greeting me with a smile and a kind word. God bless all of you.
Bobby Barkett

Posted by Bobby Barkett - Longmeadow, MA - Friend   February 05, 2020

My sympathies and prayers for the Shaer family.

Like so many, Jim and I knew each other from the Kerry campaign as I lived at that time in Chicopee. Jim's warm and supportive nature mixed with his passion for supporting candidates with compassion drew so many of us to him and the candidates he supported. Facebook had reconnected us electronically.

Jim, thank you for making this world a better place. May you rest in peace.

Posted by Mary Przybylowicz-Waldron - Brockton, MA   February 04, 2020

So very sorry to hear about Jim. Remembering the good times and many laughs you all shared will help comfort you during this difficult time.
Sending Thoughts and Prayers to all.

Barbara Blazejowski

Posted by A friend   February 04, 2020

Nancy, I was terribly saddened to hear the news of Jim's passing. Jim and I shared the common bonds of politics and lobbying and sports and many others. I will miss him. I am sorry we cannot be in Boston during this difficult time. I hope you will take solace in the comfort of his many friends and most importantly, all the people who received the blessings of his generous heart over the years.

Posted by Bill Carito - Portland, ME   February 04, 2020

Jim Shaer was all Tom mentioned in the obit! He helped my daughter, Lindsey, when she went to work for Congressman Dale Kildee some 20 years ago. Jim gave her advice about getting a job on the hill and how to navigate.
My time with Jim revolved around sports, particularly the Red Sox. He was a big fan and always had thoughts on their play. Jim was fun to be around an very easy to know.
My deepest sympathy to the family on the passing of a great guy!

Posted by William Beck - Fountain Hills, AZ - Friend   February 04, 2020

Tom, to you and your family, I extend my condolences to you over the passing of Jim. I remember moments with both you and Jim in HS, and met up with him once when I was working at Boston U about 12 years ago. He was more active in so many great works and influenced many more people.
Be at peace through your sorrow. A great man has left us.

Posted by Bruce Fontaine - Pelham, NH   February 04, 2020

I remember Shaer's Market fondly, as well ast Jim's mother and father.

Posted by A friend   February 04, 2020

Rest in Peace our good friend and Neighbor.
Richie and Ginny Ford

Posted by richard ford - melrose, MA   February 04, 2020

This is a big loss for our family. Jim was the best guy. Larger then life when he entered a room yet very humble. So many good times at our family reuntions. He will be missed.

Nancy, you are in our prayers.

Rest in Peace Jim. Your heart was just too big for this world.

The Hetsko Family
Scott and Jennifer

Posted by Jennifer Hetsko - Henrietta, NY - Family   February 04, 2020

I am truly sadden at the passing of Jim.

I met Jimmy (as I called him) in 1982, when John Kerry asked me to Chair his Springfield
Campaign for Lieutenant Governor.
Jimmy was the Field Co-ordinator. His sheer drive and hard work resulted in Kerry winning the Primary and then going on to win the Lieutenant Governorship, along with Governor Dukakis.

After the election of 1982, Jimmy came to my home and presented me with a document that outlined a campaign plan to get me elected to the Springfield City Council.

His plan included a political commercial that would play on the difficulty of pronouncing my last name.

Although I was hesitant to run for the City Council, competing against 66 other candidates in a City wide election, Jimmy finally convinced me to seek a seat on the 9 person City Council.

His leadership of the campaign resulted in a victory.

Jimmy and I teamed up again in 1984 to lead the Kerry Senatorial campaign. Together we opposed the entire Western Massachusetts political establishment and we were victorious as Kerry went onto serve 5 plus terms as the Senator from Massachusetts.

Jimmy was a kind, intelligent and hard working individual.

Many people have received the benefit of his advice. But more importantly his friendship.

Rest in Peace Jimmy, in the Arms of Our Lord.

Mitch Ogulewicz

Posted by Mitch Ogulewicz - Greer, SC   February 04, 2020

I knew Jim at AIC in the 70's. He was a very friendly guy. I pray for his soul and his family.

Posted by PAUL CZYNODEL - Ludlow, MA - Friend   February 04, 2020

Very sad news. I knew Jim over our 40 years in Bay State and national politics. He was a funny guy and a good person.

Posted by Matt Barron - Chesterfield, MA   February 04, 2020

My heartfelt condolences to Nancy and Jim's family and friends. He was a true gem, his joy and warmth will be remembered. We have known each other since childhood catechism classes. May he rest in peace.

Posted by Maria Miller Larson - Cambridge, MA - Friend   February 03, 2020

Dear Shaer Family,

I did not know Jim but am close friends with his twin brother Tom. I know the love that Tom had for his brother so I wanted to share my condolences with the family. My deepest thoughts of love and sympathy are with you.

Kathy Posner

Posted by Kathy Posner - Chicago, IL - Family Friend   February 03, 2020

He was a good friend and without a doubt Jim has already been enshrined in the Loyalty Hall of Fame. He just was a good kind man.

Posted by Chris Greeley - Amesbury, MA - Friend   February 03, 2020

Having Jim as a friend since 1971 it is hard to put into words the sadness I have felt since his much too early passing, He was always positive and a fun person to be with, he will be missed!

Posted by Doug Paquette - Agawam, MA - Friend   February 03, 2020

Jim and I were best friends back in Jr. High and High school. We played games like Off the Wall or Kick the Can. We did errands for Shaer's Market. We sat and listened to old radio shows on his reel to reel. We even went to a Red Socks game together. His mom and dad had me over several times for dinner with the family. I can see him laughing now, not a care in the world. We were just kids yet we certainly knew how to make the best of each day. I will forever hold on to all my memories of Jim and the fun times we had....My heart felt condolences go out to Jim's family and friends. He was loved by many and will be missed by all. Rest In Peace my friend until we meet again.

Posted by Dennis Lamoureux - Myrtle Beach, SC - Friend   February 03, 2020

Jim was more than a friend to me,he was like having another brother.I will never forget things we did together Cal Ripkin Night,Ted William's night at Fenway,Beanpot Hockey and Nancy and his Super Bowl Party to name a few. He was also the ultimate prankster. As they said in the movie Stand By Me,"friends come and friends go" but for me Jim will never leave he will always be in my heart.RIP my brother until we meet again.

Posted by Richard Ford - Melrose, MA - Friend   February 03, 2020

Not sure what was more fun, being on the freshman football together or talking politics A very interesting person guy to talk to.

Posted by John Tinnemeyer - Chicopee, MA - Friend   February 03, 2020

So sorry for your loss

Posted by Kathleen Hennessy Amirault - Winter Haven, FL - Friend   February 02, 2020

My deepest condolences to Jim and Nancy's family. I have so many good memories of the good times with Jim and especially all the Kerry political campaigns and laughs we had. I've met a lot of people in politics and Jim had one of the biggest hearts of them all.

Posted by Fred Koed - Cohasset, MA - Friend   February 02, 2020

Family Album