Paul J. Scaer, 63, of East Falls, a school librarian, died of cancer Tuesday at Hooverwood, a nursing home in Indianapolis, where he had lived since January to be close to family.

In 2006, after 17 years as librarian at Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Spring Garden, Mr. Scaer joined the staff of the new Science Leadership Academy on Logan Square. Besides being a librarian at the academy, he had taught a music class and was setting up a music program at the school. He had been on medical leave since his cancer was diagnosed in February 2008.

"Bringing Paul to SLA was one of the great stories of the birth of the school," said Chris Lehmann, the founding principal of the high school, a partnership between the Philadelphia School District and the Franklin Institute.

Lehmann had asked Mr. Scaer to recommend a candidate for the librarian position and was surprised when he said he would be interested.

Mr. Scaer's first vocation was as a Lutheran minister. A native of Van Wert, Ohio, he earned a bachelor's degree from Valparaiso University in Indiana. After graduating from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis, he was pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., and later of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.

In 1986, Mr. Scaer earned a master's degree in library science from Drexel University and changed careers. He was a librarian at Chestnut Hill Academy and the Free Library of Philadelphia before joining the Masterman faculty.

He often was the piano accompanist for student musicals at Masterman, including The Wizard of Oz and The Music Man, said his sister, Mary Loe. He also played bass with a group of musicians who performed at Falls of Schuylkill Library in East Falls.

In addition to his sister, Mr. Scaer is survived by brothers Richard, Herbert, and Robert.

A life celebration will begin at 4 p.m. Monday at Masterman School, 1699 Spring Garden St. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. July 18 at University Lutheran Church, 3637 Chestnut St., where Mr. Scaer was a member of the council.

Memorial donations may be made to the church's University Lutheran Feast Incarnate, a church ministry that provides meals for the homeless and people living with HIV-AIDS.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.