By Pat Maurer
Sixty percent of the 50 people, who, on April 13th, attended the Arlington National Cemetery military funeral of Clare’s Darlene Schunk’s brother Colonel Homer Lear and interment there with his wife Mary Jane Lear, were from Clare.
Besides Clare, family members attended the ceremony from all across the nation including Seattle, Washington and North Carolina.
Twenty-six family members and four family friends took a charter bus from Clare to attend the event honoring Col. Lear, who was featured in a Review Article in March 2012 when he was selected for the “Leading Age’s Celebrate Age exhibit in the Washington Convention Center. He was one of 50 “amazing seniors” from across the country whose stories and photos were featured, one for each year that Leading Age has been in existence.
Lear, who died in mid-April at the age of 92, was interred at Arlington with full military honors along with his wife, who died in August, 2011.
During his nearly 30-year Air Force career, Col. Lear lived all over the United States including in Michigan. For several years he was the commander of the Oscoda Air Force Base. He grew up in El Dorado Kansas where he met his future wife Mary Jane. They were together for 75 years including 67 years of marriage. When he was a young man, his family, including parents, brother and two sisters moved to Clare. He lived here for about six months before he left for the service.
Col. Lear spent 23 of his service years in Strategic Air Command and the Pentagon. He retired in 1968 from the Air Force and for the next 19 years, was an executive with the Weyerhauser Company. Later he was with the International Executive Services Corps where he was involved in three projects in the Dominican Republic, Philippines and in Lebanon.
In his retirement years he continued to be active as an advocate for seniors. He served as Texas Silver Haired Legislature Speaker Emeritus and chair of the State Affairs Committee. He was appointed to the 1995 and 2005 White House Conference on Aging and elected to the first National Silver-Haired Congress in 1995. He was elected four times as chair of the Board of Directors and helped establish a voting precinct in Bexar County for seniors and people with disabilities. He co-authored the 12th TSHL Resolution 33 to request creation of the Legislative Committee on Aging and he served as a Bexar County Election Judge, a member of the Board of Directors of Air Force Village and was an active member of the local Rotary Club.
The couple is survived by their son Steve of Enterprise, Oregon, daughter Rebecca of New Bern, North Carolina; five grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren from all over the United States.
His two sisters, Darlene Schunk and Juanita Green are still part of the Clare Community.