O'MEARA, JAMES E., JR. (5 May 1908-14 Nov. 1988) earned an international reputation in education, law and labor. Born in Cleveland to James and Anna (Freidel) O'Meara, he graduated from the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS and received an M.A. and Ph.D. from JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY. In 1933, he began a 39-year teaching career in the Cleveland Public Schools. He also served as an instructor at John Carroll University and Telshe Yeshiva. He was admitted to the bar in 1941, and subsequently earned his J.D. in 1968 from Marshall Law School. Sioux Empire College also honored him with the Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
In 1934, he became a charter member of the CLEVELAND TEACHERS UNION. Over the course of his career, O'Meara held leadership positions in the Cleveland Teachers Union, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of Teachers. He also served the United States government as a delegate to the U.S. Department of State Conference on Foreign Affairs for Education. He was also director of the National Organization on Legal Problems in Education, and one of the trustees of the Militancy Fund of the American Federation of Teachers for six years.
His involvement in civil rights activities led to service on the Civil Rights Committee of the Cleveland AFL-CIO, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the United Negro College Fund Committee and the Urban League (see URBAN LEAGUE OF CLEVELAND).
He married Margaret Riester in June, 1935 and was the father of four children: James, Thomas, Mary Catherine and Terrence. He died in Cleveland and is buried in CALVARY CEMETERY.