The couple returned to his hometown of Glace Bay where Art began a busy practice in Family and Industrial medicine. From his experiences with both workers and returning war veterans, Art identified the need for programs that would achieve better functional results for the seriously injured. He chose to train in the emerging field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) at the University of Toronto. His residency training was done in Halifax, Toronto and as a clinical fellow at the Massachusetts’s General Hospital in Boston. He received his certification in the specialty of PMR (1956), and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (1972). Returning to Halifax in 1956, he accepted the position of the Founding Medical Director of the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre. Two years later, he initiated the Royal College residency training program in PMR in Halifax. Later he established rehab clinics for polio, cerebral palsy, amputations, spinal cord and athletic injuries. He was founder and Medical Director of the Dalhousie School of Physiotherapy (1963 to 1975) and was appointed Professor and Head of the Division of PMR (1977 to 1989). The author of many scientific publications and an inspired educator, he ran a busy physiatry practice in Halifax, as well as a monthly clinic in Glace Bay.
A true visionary in Rehab services, Art served as President of the Internal Medicine Society of Nova Scotia and of the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine. He served as Board Chair for many organizations including the Nova Scotia Polio Foundation, NS Crippled Children’s Society, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society, NS Cerebral Palsy Association, the International Spinal Cord Injury Research Symposium, and the Specialty Committee in Physical Medicine and Rehab of the Royal College.
The University of Saskatchewan and Queen’s University honoured him as a visiting professor. He was selected as a Member of the Scientific Review Committee for the Rick Hansen Man in Motion World tour Legacy Fund. He was further honoured by his colleagues with the establishment in 1998 of the annual Arthur H. Shears Lecture in PMR through The Rehabilitation Endowment Fund, at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. In 1989 he received a Doctorate of Civil Laws from Acadia, the honour of which he was most proud. His community involvement at First Baptist Church included trustee, Chair and member of the Finance Committee and member of the men’s choir. Art was a member of the Board of Governors of Acadia for many years. However, Dr. Shears was best known in his community for his early morning 7 mile run through the streets of Halifax, a daily ritual until well into his seventies. It was during these runs, which changed to walks in his later years, that he connected with fellow Haligonians to tell his story, obtain theirs, or share a joke. He enjoyed tennis with his good friends and playing golf in Chester and, later on, with the G.A.S.P.E.R.S at Ashburn. Art was a lifelong learner and an avid reader, with an innate curiosity about the world around him. His lifelong interest in business evolved in to a second career as a savvy investor.
A role model in many ways, he was an expert in balancing his passions: work, family, personal wellness and community. Most importantly, he was a gifted and generous family man. Devoted to his children and his grandchildren, he instilled in them those foundational values by which he lived: the importance of family, education, physical fitness and always treating fellow human beings with respect and dignity. Whether at the family cottage at Hubbards teaching little ones how to water ski, play chess or tennis, and sail, or in one-on-one chats, he encouraged all to reach their full potential. His particular joy was being serenaded by all his musical grandchildren at our annual summer reunions at Rosewood on the Cove. Throughout it all, as a loving and generous husband, he appreciated the role that his Dorothy played in his success and knew none of it would have been possible without her at his side. He leaves an inspirational and meaningful legacy to all of the lives he touched. Godspeed Dad.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday May 25, 2013 at 10 am at First Baptist Church, 1300 Oxford Street Halifax. A reception in the church hall will follow the service. The family would like to express our deepest appreciation to all those who cared for Art with such skill and compassion since his stroke last July. In particular, special thanks goes to all the extraordinary care given through Always Home. We send our heartfelt thanks to Orinthia and Simone, his Jamaican angels, for the gift of eight additional months with him. Family flowers only please. In Art’s memory, donations may be made to the Canadian Paraplegic Association, QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation: The Rehabilitation Endowment Fund or by cheque to Cape Breton Miners Museum PO Box 310, Glace Bay B1A 5T8.