Martin W. "Tim" Sheerer graduated with a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering, and his son John said the way his father fell into the profession of law was "not sexy," but it wound up being a more suitable fit than engineering.
"It ended up being the perfect profession for him," John Sheerer said. "He was such a giving man and such a helpful man to so many people."
Mr. Sheerer of Middlesex died Friday of complications from pneumonia at UPMC Presbyterian. He was 75.
Mr. Sheerer was named Martin after his father, and his middle name is Walsh, his mother's maiden name, his son said. But his mother always wanted a little boy named Tim, which is how he got a nickname that is no part of his name.
Mr. Sheerer's son said he put his "heart and soul" into every case. He specialized in school law, and he entered that field during the merger of the Oakmont and Verona schools into Riverview School District, where he served as solicitor for nearly 35 years, in addition to stints as the solicitor for the Fox Chapel and Allegheny Valley school districts.
Mr. Sheerer, who grew up in East Liverpool, Ohio, was an early supporter of the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 2009.
The hall of fame inducts "outstanding citizens" from the Upper Ohio Valley who are accomplished in medicine, entertainment, religion, sports and other fields.
Frank Dawson, of East Liverpool, was a lifelong friend of Mr. Sheerer. Mr. Dawson, a 1999 inductee, said Mr. Sheerer "was very proud" to be inducted into the hall of fame alongside Mr. Holtz.
Mr. Dawson said the hall of fame features a case of memorabilia dedicated to Mr. Sheerer's legal career. It also contains items from his days in East Liverpool, including an elementary school report card.
Mr. Holtz and Mr. Sheerer both attended St. Aloysius School, starting in first grade, and both men graduated from East Liverpool High School. Mr. Sheerer came to Western Pennsylvania and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his law degree from Duquesne University.
Mr. Holtz left Ohio and ultimately became the coach of the University of Notre Dame football team from 1986 to 1996.
Mr. Dawson said Mr. Holtz and Mr. Sheerer were "very close" and that Mr. Sheerer was proud of the friendship.
John Sheerer said his father had been ill but was able to come home for the holidays, something he called "almost like divine intervention."
"He was able to be out of the hospital and be with the whole family at my house for Christmas," he said.
In addition to his son John of Fox Chapel, Mr. Sheerer is survived by his wife of 52 years, Beverly, his other children, Timothy of O'Hara, Edward "Ted" of Aspinwall and Sarah "Sally" of Greensburg and 11 grandchildren.
A Mass will be celebrated today at 10 a.m. in St. Paul Cathedral, Oakland. Interment will be private.
Annie Siebert: email@example.com or 412-263-1613.