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Melrose, MA 02176
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Memories & Candles

“Jim was a kind soul and was always a friend in need. ”
1 of 34 | Posted by: MIchael Grimaldi - Friend

“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. ”
2 of 34 | Posted by: Lisa Hopping - Agawam, MA

“My heart breaks for this sad time in the Shaer family. Lori Heiden and family ”
3 of 34 | Posted by: Laura Heiden - Atascadero, CA

“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...Read More »
4 of 34 | Posted by: Joseph Liquori - Enfield, CT

“My thoughts and prayers to James and his family. My you find comfort in knowing he is at peace. ”
5 of 34 | Posted by: William Aubin - Fall River, MA

“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...Read More »
6 of 34 | Posted by: Edward Cyran - Friend

“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...Read More »
7 of 34 | Posted by: A friend

“Oh Annmarie, so sorry to hear this news. Know you are in my prayers ”
8 of 34 | Posted by: Marcia StOnge - Feeding Hills, MA

“My Heartfelt Condolences to the Shaer FamilyWhen Dom Shaer asked me to work at Shaer's Market in the early 1970's, I didn't know how boisterous and...Read More »
9 of 34 | Posted by: Sandra Adamski Thornton - Medford, OR

“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...Read More »
10 of 34 | Posted by: Bonnie Cronin - Mitchellville, MD

“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...Read More »
11 of 34 | Posted by: Sean King - Newburyport, MA

“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...Read More »
12 of 34 | Posted by: Michael Knight - Sapphire, NC

“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...Read More »
13 of 34 | Posted by: Joseph Nowak - Adams, MA

“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...Read More »
14 of 34 | Posted by: Bobby Barkett - Longmeadow, MA

“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. ...Read More »
15 of 34 | Posted by: Mary Przybylowicz-Waldron - MA

“Nancy-Annmarie-Catherine-Joe-Tom-JohnSo very sorry to hear about Jim. Remembering the good times and many laughs you all shared will help comfort...Read More »
16 of 34 | Posted by: A friend

“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...Read More »
17 of 34 | Posted by: Bill Carito - Portland, ME

“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. ...Read More »
18 of 34 | Posted by: William Beck - Fountain Hills, AZ

“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...Read More »
19 of 34 | Posted by: Bruce Fontaine - Pelham, NH

“I remember Shaer's Market fondly, as well ast Jim's mother and father. ”
20 of 34 | Posted by: A friend

Honor Guards “Rest in Peace our good friend and Neighbor.Richie and Ginny Ford ”
21 of 34 | Posted by: richard ford - melrose, MA

“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...Read More »
22 of 34 | Posted by: Jennifer Hetsko - Henrietta, NY

“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 SpringfieldCampaign for...Read More »
23 of 34 | Posted by: Mitch Ogulewicz - Greer, SC

“I knew Jim at AIC in the 70's. He was a very friendly guy. I pray for his soul and his family. ”
24 of 34 | Posted by: PAUL CZYNODEL - Ludlow, MA

“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. ”
25 of 34 | Posted by: Matt Barron - Chesterfield, MA

“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...Read More »
26 of 34 | Posted by: Maria Miller Larson - Cambridge, MA

“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...Read More »
27 of 34 | Posted by: Kathy Posner - Chicago, IL

“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. ”
28 of 34 | Posted by: Chris Greeley - Amesbury, MA

“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...Read More »
29 of 34 | Posted by: Doug Paquette - Agawam, MA

“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....Read More »
30 of 34 | Posted by: Dennis Lamoureux - Myrtle Beach, SC

“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...Read More »
31 of 34 | Posted by: Richard Ford - Melrose, MA

“Not sure what was more fun, being on the freshman football together or talking politics A very interesting person guy to talk to. ”
32 of 34 | Posted by: John Tinnemeyer - Chicopee, MA

“So sorry for your loss ”
33 of 34 | Posted by: Kathleen Hennessy Amirault - FL

“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...Read More »
34 of 34 | Posted by: Fred Koed - Cohasset, MA - Friend


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