TEWKSBURY, MA — Bernard J. “Bernie” Shea, age 96, died peacefully Thursday morning, February 15, at the Blaire House of Tewksbury Assisted Living Center. He was the husband of the late Irene H. (Murphy) Shea, who died in 1996.
He was born in Somerville, July 5, 1921, a son of Bernard P. and Harriett E. (Flynn) Shea. He was raised in Cambridge and Somerville, but had lived in New York and Connecticut before moving to Tewksbury in 1956.
He served in the U.S. Navy from June 1944 until March 1946. His service included time in the Asian-Pacific theater, and he was honorably discharged as a disabled veteran. He began his career in 1940, as an electrician at the Boston Navy Shipyard was promoted to Electrical Foreman, and retired as a Planner-Estimator in 1978.
Bernie was active at St. William’s Church, as a Eucharistic Minister, an Usher, a lector, a member of the Man’s Club, and the Holy Name Society. He also served St. William’s as Church Fair “Flying Santa,” was the former paper drive chairperson, and was an original member of Food Share Program, which became so successful, it was expanded to become the Tewksbury Community Pantry, for which he served as the first Chairperson.
Bernie was a 3rd Degree member of the Fr. Coppen’s Council K of C in Tewksbury, and 4th Degree member of the Bishop Delaney Council of greater Lowell. He was also a member of the D.A.V. Post 110 in Tewksbury, American Legion Post 259 in Tewksbury, V.F.W. Post 2458 in Wilmington, and the China-Burma-India Veteran’s Association. He served in many capacities for the Boy Scouts Of America, Troop 49 for over thirty years, was a member of the B.S.A. Lay Committee on Scouting, and received the St. George Medal scouting honor.
Also active in civic events and organizations, he served as president of the Tewksbury Taxpayers Association, was member and former chairman of the Tewksbury Personnel Board, a member of the Patriotic Activities Committee, and a former member of the Massachusetts Rationing Board for the town of Tewksbury. Long into retirement, he worked as a school bus driver for Tewksbury Transit and as a Special Needs bus driver. In his “Golden Years,” he also enjoyed membership in the Tewksbury Golden Age Club, was a frequent visitor and volunteer at the Tewksbury Senior Center, a driver for Meals on Wheels for the Merrimack Valley Nutrition Project, member of A.A.R.P. and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.
He also served as the unofficial guardian, friend, and surrogate parent for his two special nephews, Scott and Bruce McLellan of Tewksbury, throughout their lives. He is survived by two sons, Michael B. Shea of FL, William J. Shea of Hudson, NH, a daughter, Irene M. Mack of Spring, TX; three daughters-in-law, Brenda (Rush) Shea , Kathleen (Novo) Shea, and Kathy (Clayton-Shea) Bennett; three grandchildren, Andrew Shea, Patricia Fitzgerald, and Douglas Shea; a sister and brother-in-law, Dorothy (Shea) and Larry Gagne of Laconia, NH; and was predeceased by his sister, Virginia A. McLellan.
Visiting hours Sunday, Feb. 18, from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. in the Tewksbury Funeral Home, corner of 1 Dewey and 975 Main Sts. (Rte. 38) TEWKSBURY CENTER, Ph. (800 in MA or 978) 851 2950. His funeral will begin Monday at 10:30 a.m. from the funeral home, followed by a Funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. in St. William’s Church, 1351 Main St. (Rte. 38) Tewksbury. Burial with Navy Honors at Tewksbury Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Oblate Fathers Infirmary Fund, 486 Chandler St., Tewksbury, MA 01876 will be appreciated.
(NOTE: The above obituary is from the Tewksbury Funeral Home.)
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