Paul J. Sheehy
Former, State Senator, Lowell City Manager, respected Attorney
LOWELL -- Paul J. Sheehy, beloved husband of Molly (Gleason) Sheehy, passed away on March 10, 2014, at his home in Lowell, surrounded by his family.
Born in Lowell on November 1, 1934, Paul was the youngest of seven children of Mary Ann (McLarnon) and Joseph A. Sheehy. He graduated from St. Patrick's Grammar School and attended Lowell High School before graduating from Keith Academy with the Class of 1953.
In 1958, Paul earned a bachelors degree in education at Lowell State Teachers College where he played both varsity basketball and varsity baseball. As a member of the Lowell State Teachers College baseball team, Paul saw action at third base, shortstop, second base, outfield and pitcher with his batting average in 1957 at .318. He was captain of the baseball team in 1958, scoring the winning run in the title clash at Worcester State University. For his collegiate athletic pursuits, in 1981, Paul was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
While teaching in the Lowell public schools, Paul attended Suffolk University Law School earning his Juris Doctorate in 1964.
Paul served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1965 through 1972, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and Vice Chairman of the Committee on Education. During this time, Paul began his lifelong advocacy to expand educational opportunities for the people of Lowell and the Greater Lowell area. Among his many legislative accomplishments as a state representative are his sponsorship and instrumental role in securing the passage of legislation merging Lowell State Teachers College and Lowell Technological Institute into, what is now, the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He advocated for and obtained legislative funding for a Doctoral Program in Education at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Paul also authored and sponsored legislation establishing Middlesex Community College in Bedford and establishing the Greater Lowell Regional Technical High School.
In 1972, Paul was a candidate to represent the Massachusetts Fifth Congressional District in the United Stated Congress. After a narrow defeat in the Democratic primary election, finishing second in a nine-candidate field, he went on to serve as Lowell City Manager from 1974 to 1975. He later served on the congressional staff of his former House colleague, Worcester Congressman Joseph D. Early and on the congressional staff of Lawrence Congressman James M. Shannon.
In 1984, Paul was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate for the Third Middlesex District, serving on the Senate Ways & Means Committee and as Chairman of the Committee on Election Laws. As a member of the State Senate, Paul was respected and admired for his strong and forthright positions on sometimes controversial issues. Most notable among his numerous accomplishments as a member of the Massachusetts State Senate was his advocacy for and success in delivering funding for the construction of 14 new public schools in Lowell and proposing and obtaining funding necessary to locate a permanent Middlesex Community College campus in Lowell.
Paul's passing during Lowell's Irish Cultural Week befits his love of his Irish heritage, his frequent travels to Ireland with family and dear friends and his great interest in Irish history.
In addition to his wife, Molly, he is survived by his cherished children and grandchildren, a son, Timothy P. Sheehy and Kathy Masterson of Dracut; three daughters, Maria, Anne and Elizabeth Sheehy, all of Lowell; seven grandchildren, Paul J. Sheehy II of Portsmouth, NH, Daniel M. Sheehy of Canton, MA, Fiona K. Sullivan, Eilis C. Sullivan, John Q. Flood, Catherine W. Shanahan and Molly M. Flood, all of Lowell; and one great-grandson, Connor Sheehy; and many dear cousins, nieces and nephews.
Paul was pre-deceased by his children, Michael G. Sheehy, Kathleen Sheehy and a son, Edward P. "Ned" Sheehy, who died on January 28, 2013.
He also leaves a brother, Thomas F. Sheehy and his wife, Patricia (Wojcik) of Tyngsboro; and sisters-in-law, Patricia (Cox) Sheehy of Chelmsford, and Fleurette (Ayotte) Sheehy of Lowell.
He was the brother of the late John E. Sheehy, Joseph P. Sheehy, Frederick J. Sheehy and Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Townsend and Dorothy A. Richards.
SHEEHY -- In Lowell, MA, March 10, 2014, at his home, Paul J. Sheehy, 79, beloved husband of Molly (Gleason) Sheehy. Friends may call at the O'DONNELL FUNERAL HOME, 276 PAWTUCKET ST. at Fletcher from 2 to 7 P.M. Friday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Saturday morning at ST. PATRICK CHURCH at 10 o'clock. Burial in the Lowell Cemetery. E-condolences/directions at odonnellfuneralhome.com. Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to the Paul Sheehy Memorial Scholarship (supporting students who demonstrate a commitment to their community and who plan to transfer from MCC to UMass/Lowell), online at: www.middlesex.mass.edu/PaulSheehy or by check to Paul Sheehy Memorial Scholarship/c/o MCC Foundation, P.O. Box 716, Bedford, MA 01730. Arrangements by Funeral Directors James F. O'Donnell, Jr. and John W. Crane (978 or 866) 458-8768.
J.F. O'Donnell & Sons Funeral Home
276 Pawtucket Street Lowell, MA 01854
Published in Lowell Sun on Mar. 13, 2014