Harry John (Mick) Shortt, born September 15, 1928, passed away on March 7, 2013. He was surrounded by his wife of 63 years, Marilynne; his five children, Matt, Mali, Tim, John and Anne; his sister, Judith S. Tafuto; as well as several loving grandchildren, including Rachel Reeves, who was a major part of his final years, and son-in-law, Jim Frye. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Harry was a long time resident of Fort Lee, New Jersey as well as Titusville, Florida, prior to his retirement, when he then moved to Rockledge, Florida in 1993.
Mick served in the Armed Forces as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, as well as the 11th Airborne Division, stationed in Occupied Japan immediately following World War II. His love of adventure continued as he became an early advocate of skydiving. To that end, he made the world news in 1961, as one of the first skydivers to survive a free fall from 7,200 feet due to a malfunctioning parachute while with the Hudson Valley Skydiving club, in New Jersey. Hitting the ground at almost 100 mph, he survived (with multiple broken bones) and was back to construction work three months later.
Mick worked in New York City with Local 46 Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers for 35 years, and helped change the New York City skyline, including the Pan-Am building and the World Trade Center. He will be well remembered for his deep love of family, selflessness, fearlessness (except for rats and needles), as well as a strong sense of pride, work ethic, honesty, unique sense of humor, his suspenders, and his amazing gift for storytelling. His great qualities came naturally, due to his Irish/ English/ Shawnee Native American heritage. His countless brushes with death, including assaults by gangs, and at least a dozen other violent crimes while working in NYC, incredible bicycle, motorcycle, and glider crashes, countless work-related accidents, a lightning bolt to a coffee thermos in his hands, being shot at a time or two, hit by grenade fragments, and much more, all of which he found amusing, instead of traumatic.
His was a life well lived and inspirational, and in return, he will be long remembered by family and friends as "The Man of Steel", a hero, the most devoted husband in history, and a great role model, with love and affection.
No services are planned, according to his wishes (He wasn't even keen on having an obituary. Sorry Mick).
In lieu of flowers, we are sure that he would have liked donations to go to Joe's Club, of Melbourne, Florida.
Published in FLORIDA TODAY from Mar. 30 to Mar. 31, 2013