Death Of A Notable Tar Heel

Seems like I have been writing more about death recently than I would prefer but the passing of a person or an institution affords us an opportunity to summarize our final feelings towards those who depart. Sometimes we know the individual involved, other times we only know OF these individuals. Even when we don't know them personally, their membership in a group to which we both belong makes their passing more meaningful than a simple obituary in the newspaper.

So it was with sadness that I read in the Richmond newspaper last week of the passing of Julian W. Scheer, a UNC alumnus , noted author and public servant. Mr. Scheer at the time of his death at the age of 75 was a resident of Faquier Country, Virginia where he owned a large horse farm. Over the years, Mr. Scheer authored numerous pieces in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Newsweek, Life and The New Republic. He authored two children's books and three adult books. My first exposure to Mr. Scheer was when, in the late 50's, he co-authored the first biography on "Choo Choo" in collaboration with Bob Quincy, the former head of the Sports Information Office at UNC. Most recently, Mr. Scheer headed a successful effort to prevent the Disney Corporation from building an historic theme park in Haymarket, Va., an accomplishment that will benefit generations to come.

Mr. Scheer, as a reporter for the Charlotte News, got to know JFK well during the presidential election and followed John F. Kennedy to Washington after his election in the early 60's. He was asked by the administration to establish the Public Affairs Office at NASA. When he took the assignment, he thought the duration of the job would be for six weeks but he served as the Asst. Administrator for Public Affairs from 1962-1971. He was awarded NASA's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal.