Tributes for

Dear, Joseph

On February 26, 2014, our beloved father, husband, cousin, nephew, and friend, Joseph Albert Dear, left this earth in peace. Surrounded by his loved ones, he ended a years-long battle with prostate cancer that robbed him of his health but not his spirit. His unshakeable will showed through until his last breath.

We will remember Joe as a humble, principled public servant who wielded his sharp intellect with kindness. While always dedicated to his professional life, Joe loved backpacking, running, reading, and spending time with his family.

Joe was born on June 7th, 1951, in Washington, D.C. to Ann Winn Blevins and Joseph Albert Dear IV. He grew up in Bethesda, MD, graduating from Walt Whitman High School. He spent several years exploring the country before falling in love with the Pacific Northwest during his time at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where he graduated with a degree in Political Economy in 1976. Upon graduation, he co-founded the nonprofit People for Fair Taxes. In 1980, he began working with the Washington State Labor Council, where he served as Research Director until joining the state Department of Labor and Industries in 1985. In 1987, he ascended to the role of Director. In 1993, he joined the Clinton Administration as Deputy Secretary of Labor and head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Two of the programs he managed at OSHA and the Department of Labor and Industries received Innovations in Government Awards from the Ford Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Joe returned to Olympia in 1997 to serve as Chief of Staff for Washington State Governor Gary Locke. He left the governor's office in 2000 for a short stint at Russell Investments but soon returned to the public sector to serve as Executive Director of the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB).

After six years at WSIB, Joe became Chief Investment Officer at CalPERS, the nations largest public pension fund. There, he helped the fund rebound from sharp losses during the financial crisis and a bribery scandal that occurred before his arrival. While at WSIB and CalPERS, Joe served as Chair of the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Investor Advisory Committee, and was a board member of the Pacific Pension Institute. He also served four terms as Chair of the Council of Institutional Investors.

Joe is survived by his wife, Anne Sheehan, and two children from a previous marriage, Annie and Ben. A Funeral Mass in celebration of Joe's life will take place Tuesday, March 4th, at 11:00AM at Holy Spirit Church in Land Park, with a reception immediately following at the Sutter Club.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be directed to the Joseph A. Dear Memorial Scholarship Endowment at The Evergreen State College Foundation.


Mortuary: W.F. Gormley and Sons Funeral Home