Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In Memoriam + John S. Shea, Jr. + 1909 - 2006

John S. Shea, Jr., my father and a lifelong resident of Monroe, died Sept. 5 at 6:10 a.m. at Arden Hill Hospital in Goshen after a brief hospitalization for pneumonia. He was 95.

The son of the then-Sheriff of New York County, John S. Shea, and Mary [Alcok] Olcott, he was born in New York City on January 30, 1909.

John was the loving husband of Nina D. Shea of Monroe, who survives him. They were married in New York City on November 30, 1936.

He is also survived buy his daughter, Mary Ann Kies of Long Beach, Calif., William P. Shea of Monroe, Ga., Joseph P. Shea of Bradenton, Fla., and Patrick O'Farrell Shea of Falls Church, Va., and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. His eldest son, John S. Shea III, preceded him in death.

John was a career Federal civil servant who began his career with the New York City Division of Elections, the Internal Revenue Service, the state Dept. of Corrections and the United States Air Force, where he served as Deputy Comptroller of the 32nd Air Division during the Cuban Missile Crisis and also as a Single Integrated Operations Plan officer at Misawa AFB on the Japanese island of Hokkaido during the Vietnam War, where he prepared nuclear battle plans for the defense of the United States. He also served with Military Manpower Command of the United States Army after his retirement from the Air Force, and finally as Director of Internal Audit for the U.S. Customs House in New York City, where his father was Paymaster in 1892.

He will be remembered with love and laughter by his family and many friends as an unfailing pillar of strength and a man of great good humor whose quips, stories and advice sustained all of them through difficult times. He was also an astute investor who was working on Wall Street as a courier of stocks and bonds during the Great Crash of 1929. He served in the latter stages of Wiorld War II in the U.S. Army, and during the Occupation of Germany. He was campaign manager for his brother William S. Shea when the late State Supreme Court Justice won election to the bench in Manhattan in 1954 by 64 votes in what was the only Republican victory in Manhattan since John's father was elected Sheriff of New York in 1909. After his father's death, he also served as District Leader in the East Side Republican Club of Manhattan, from which Mayor John Lindsay later emerged. Despite his many accomplishments, he possessed a simple humility, and his deep faith in God was well known to his family. He took great pride in his family's Revolutionary War-era home on Rye Hill Road, which his father purchased from New York Herald Tribune publisher Whitney Reid in 1909. He was living there with his beloved wife Nina at the time of his passing.

Friends may call on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 7 and 8, during the hours of 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush at 117 Maple Ave. in Monroe.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, where he was a lifelong parishioner. Burial will be at the family plot at St. Anastasia Church in Harriman, N.Y.

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