5 thoughts on “T. Leslie Shear Jr.

  1. Robert Weir

    Here is one of my favourite memories of Professor Shear. One day over lunch in the summer of 1992, while I was a student volunteer at the Agora dig, I heard an archeologist associated with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens talk about all the wonderful things that could be learned from the floatation of soil samples. Drowning clods of earth to let trapped seeds and spores float to the top could tell a lot about the ancient environment, she said. Full of the zeal of the newly-converted, I approached Shear immediately after lunch break and said that I thought we should be doing floatation regularly. Without skipping a beat, he lowered his eyes to meet mine and said, with the slightest of smiles, “Stelai don’t float.” Inscribed stone slabs of the sort that Shear was discovering regularly at the Agora do not float, of course, and some archaeologists may now shake their head at this anecdote because they think it shows how stuck he was in the past and unwilling to innovate. But I have never understood it this way. Besides illustrating that occasional flash of wry humour for which Professor Shear was known, it embodies a valuable lesson that I learned from him: don’t waste your time jumping onto every latest bandwagon that rolls by —remember the emperor’s new clothes!— but find what your passion is, what you believe important, what you are good at, and focus on that.

  2. Jack Davis and Shari Stocker

    Shari and I send deepest condolences to Julia and Lexi. From the time that I became director of the ASCSA until very recently we would socialize with Leslie each summer. We will greatly miss those special evenings with him and Julia.

  3. Nassos Papalexandrou

    More memories: Professor Shear was master of his game in the classroom, in an unflamboyant and matter-of-fact way… Professor Shear was never condescending towards his students and he carefully attended to our presentations while being a good sport about our mistakes or oversights. In the seminar, his dry, intelligent humor could spice things up in unexpected ways. For example, I would never forget his amusingly blunt response to a question by a graduate student, a doctoral student of his, who had fallen asleep rather loudly during an important seminar: “you would never had asked this question, dear Mr…, had you not fallen asleep during the most critical point of my presentation.”

  4. Diane Harris Cline

    I’m not sure why, but his graduate students called him “Mr. Shear” instead of Dr. or Prof. or Leslie or Bucky. It was a Princeton thing. The seminars were peak intellectual experiences; I recall feeling exhilaration after every meeting. I was so proud to be his student, and I was so grateful for his support. Visiting for the funeral on a beautiful fall day, I retraced my old path, walking from the graduate college to McCormick Hall for classes. The beauty of the architecture led to a strong feeling of gratitude for having had Mr. Shear in my life.

  5. Mary Stieber

    Three words: I revered him. I wish I could say I ’ve emulated him , but that would be impossible. And he will always be “Mr. Shear” to me too.

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