Paul J. Scaer, an openly gay librarian, educator and musician, died on June 16 after a battle with cancer. He was 63, and lived in the East Falls section of Philadelphia.
Scaer grew up in Van Wert, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University in Indiana. After graduating from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis, he served as pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., and later at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.
In 1986, he earned a master’s degree in library science from Drexel University.
From September 1987 to October 1988, Scaer worked as a children’s librarian at the Falls of Schuylkill branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
“Paul was a respected and valued member of our staff,” said Donald C. Root, a spokesperson for the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Scaer also served as a librarian at Chestnut Hill Academy.
For 17 years, Scaer was a librarian at Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, a public school in the city’s Spring Garden section.
In 2006, Scaer went to work as a librarian at the new Science Leadership Academy. There he also taught a music-theory class and created a music program.
He had been on medical leave from the school since February 2008 due to his cancer diagnosis, said Christopher D. Lehmann, principal of the academy.
“Paul was a truly good human being,” Lehmann said. “He was a kind, thoughtful person with a unique perspective whom I enjoyed talking to every day.”
Lehmann said Scaer was instrumental in forming the school’s gay-straight alliance in 2006. He also said the school’s library has been named the Scaer Library, in his honor.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. July 18 at University Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, 3637 Chestnut St. Memorial donations may be sent to University Lutheran Feast Incarnate, a church ministry that provides meals for the homeless and people living with HIV/AIDS, at 3637 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.