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Family-Placed Death Notice
Joseph Gerald Shea, 85, of Marietta, died Thursday, August 4, 2005. Mr. Shea was born in Brookline Massachusetts on September 20, 1919. He was the third child in a family of four sons born to Frank Shea and his Irish born wife, Alice Mary. The family moved in with their paternal grandmother after his mother's death when he was eight. Mr. Shea joined the Army in 1942, after working at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and the Boston Navy Yard. He served in the 36th Division as a Command Sergeant Major. He joined troops being sent to Europe on the Queen Mary, which was being used to transport troops overseas. The ship nearly went down at sea when hit by a rogue wave, but miraculously righted itself and the 15,000 troops aboard were safe. He traveled to Italy, France and North Africa during World War II. Following the war, Mr. Shea attended Boston College and majored in Accounting. After graduation, he started working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, beginning as an Identification Clerk. In February 1951, he was appointed Special Agent. During his career, Mr. Shea worked in several offices, including Louisville, Chicago and Atlanta. He worked on a number of interesting cases including the Barbara Jane Mackle kidnapping and the Frank Abagnale case. He retired on December 31, 1977. Mr. Shea met and married Sarah Blakernan while in Louisville in May of 1953. They have two daughters, Reva S. Austin of Marietta and Ruth S. Pitman of Raleigh, NC; and nine grandchildren, Adam J. Austin of Marietta, Jennifer A. Tawney of Holly Springs, Drew H. Austin of Marietta, Brent D. Austin of Marietta; Carly D. Spowart of Raleigh, NC; Paige M. Spowart of Raleigh, NC; Matthew K. Austin of Marietta, Melanie R. Spowart of Raleigh, NC; and Sarah R. Austin of Marietta. There are two great-grandchildren, Avery Shea Austin of Marietta and Mason James Tawney of Holly Springs. After his retirement, Mr. Shea moved to Kentucky, where he and his wife lived on a farm and visited St. Thomas each winter. They returned to Marietta to live in 1997. Mr. Shea was very devoted to his family and enjoyed spending time with them. He was very loved by nieces and nephews, everyone's favorite, "Uncle Joe". He was especially devoted to his wife, who develped Alzheimer's disease in 1997. He was known as "Papa" by his grandchildren and always had time to spend with them. Mr. Shea was also an avid golfer, and enjoyed playing with friends and fellow Kiwanis Club members, as well as his buddies in Kentucky. He was loved by family and friends and will be deeply missed. Funeral services were held at 4:00 PM, Saturday, August 6, 2005 at Georgia Memorial Park Funeral Home, with Rev. David Eldridge officiating. Burial was in Georgia Memorial Park Cemetery.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Aug. 7, 2005