Trib newsman Dick Mears remembered for his creativity, problem-solving skills
Richard “Dick” Mears was always there for his friends and family, whether it was to lend a helping hand or offer a laugh.
“He was always willing to help anybody at all and make a difference whether it was a co-worker, a family member, a neighbor or whoever,” said Frances Mears, his wife. “I just think that was his personality. It was just so ingrained in him.”
Mears, 71, of Aspinwall died Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, after a battle with lung cancer. In addition to his wife, Mears is survived by his children, Bridget Mangold and Richard Mears, and five grandchildren.
A longtime newsman, he started his journalism career at the North Hills News Record. He then moved to the Herald in Aspinwall before transitioning to the Valley News Dispatch and finally the Tribune-Review, where he retired in 2014. He worked as a reporter and editor before moving to the technical side of news when it started shifting to computers and online.
“The interesting thing about Dick is not only that he was a problem solver but also how much he loved a challenge,” said Dirk Kaufman, who worked alongside Mears and took over as systems editor. “He would talk through a software problem not only to find a solution but to find a solution that worked best for the employee who had the problem. That meant a lot to people.”
While he was all business at work, he also liked to keep his co-workers laughing after the work day ended.
“He was a great guy, and he was a good newsman,” said Rick Monti, a retired Trib Total Media editor who is now a consultant for the company. “We would have these newsroom Christmas parties, and Dick would be the MC and these were the funniest (parties).”
Mears also took up woodworking and would create handmade wooden Christmas ornaments every year.
“We still have some of those ornaments, and we put them on our tree every year,” Monti said.
Frances Mears said her husband liked to stay creative and always had a project going.
“When he wasn’t writing, I think this was one of the many avenues of being able to utilize his creativity,” she said.
Mangold remembered her father’s enthusiasm for homemade Halloween costumes.
“He made a stoplight that worked, he made a ‘Wheel of Fortune’ costume,” she said. “I got first prize many years in a row for all of the different costumes that he made for me.”
His kids said they will remember him for his kindness and ability to always be there for them no matter what.
“I remember as a little kid driving around running errands and there was someone stuck on the side of the road in a shopping mall parking lot,” Richard Mears said. “He was insistent that this person needs some help.”
Visiting hours for friends and family will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home, 100 Center Ave., Aspinwall. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1719 Mt. Royal Blvd., Shaler. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial contributions to the American Lung Association.