Legacy Gift in Memory of Dr. John O’Meara Made 43 Years After His Passing

June 2024

In a testament to how planned gifts transcend over time, a legacy gift from the Forrest H. Judkins Trust has been made in support of the John O’Meara Annual Memorial Scholarship at Kean University 43 years after O’Meara’s death.

John H. O’Meara was a professor of communication sciences at Newark State College, now Kean University. He joined the faculty in 1959 and served until his death at the age of 62 on February 28, 1981.

When O’Meara passed, donations were made to establish an annual scholarship in his memory, which was awarded to seniors demonstrating humanitarian qualities. An auditorium was also named in his memory in Hutchinson Hall on Kean’s main campus in Union, New Jersey.

In addition to donations that followed immediately after his death, a charitable provision was included in the Forrest H. Judkins Trust, held by the late Lila O’Meara Judkins, O’Meara’s sister-in-law. Judkins, whose first husband was O’Meara’s brother, William, passed away in October 2023.

A unique individual in every respect, John O’Meara was characterized by his warmth, openness, enthusiasm and love of people. An extremely popular figure among students, alumni, faculty and staff alike, he touched the hearts of all who knew him in a very special way.

In his eulogy, the late Nathan Weiss, Ph.D., former president of Kean College, noted O’Meara’s “marvelous sense of humor, cheery smile and sunny nature.”

“With his ever-present bowtie, Dr. O’Meara always had kind words for everyone he met, and his optimistic view of life affected all of those around him.” Weiss said. “If he were to look at a partially filled glass of water, he would view it as half-filled, never half-empty, thus characterizing his positive outlook on life. He had a certain charming innocence about him, always looking at the brighter side and believing that there is good in all people.”