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Edmund H. Shea Jr.

Obituary Condolences

In Loving Memory of Edmund H. Shea, Jr. Aug. 15, 1929 - Aug. 13, 2010 Edmund died peacefully at home in San Marino surrounded by family members. He was a devoted husband, a faithful brother, a loving father, and a doting grandfather. He was among the pioneer venture capitalists beginning in the 1970's. He also successfully ran, with his cousin and brother, J. F. Shea Co., Inc., a heavy construction company and owner of Shea Homes, the country's largest private homebuilder. He was born in Portland, Oregon. In his early years, he lived in the San Francisco Bay Area where his father supervised the construction work on the piers for the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1935, his family returned to Los Angeles. He was graduated from Loyola High School in 1947. After a year in the Jesuit Novitiate and then at Santa Clara University, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1952. He served in the US Air Force Intelligence for two years. He began work in the construction business in the early 1950's on Southern California reservoir jobs in partnership with his cousin John. They moved on to tunnel jobs in Oregon and Northern California. He also established an aggregates and cement business in Redding California, which continues to this day. In 1958, they began operating their generation's version of J. F. Shea Co., with his brother Peter Shea, as a successor to their family's construction business, which their grandfather had begun in 1881 as a plumbing contractor in Portland Oregon. The predecessor Shea companies had principal roles in the construction of iconic American public works like the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate and San Francisco Bay Bridges. During the 1960's and 1970's he personally managed some of J. F. Shea Co.'s most significant construction work, building tunnels--including the Berkeley Hills tunnel--and underground stations for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District and the Washington D.C. Metro systems. During the late 1960's J. F. Shea began a homebuilding business that became Shea Homes in 1974. He became a venture capital investor during the late 1960's. Over the next forty years, he made early investments in hundreds of start up companies including Activision, Adobe, Altera Corporation, Brocade, Compaq Computer, Genentech, Affymax, America West Airlines, AES Corporation, and Peet's Coffee & Tea. He loved this style of investing because it allowed him to stay "on the cutting edge" and to keep learning new things. He had a long relationship with H&Q, the investment bank noted for its focus on the technology and internet sectors during the 1980's and 199O's. Bill Hambrecht said, Ed was a great partner of mine in every sense of the word, for over 42 years. He served as a director of H&Q Group, Inc. until shortly before Chase Bank acquired it in 1998. He actively supported all levels of Catholic education from inner city Catholic elementary schools to the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He served on boards for Loyola Marymount University and Loyola High School both in Los Angeles, the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California and Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena. He earned many awards, including Loyola High School's Cahalan Award for his outstanding achievements and for remaining true to the Ignatian ideals. He is survived by his brothers Peter (Carolyn) of Newport Beach, CA and Henry (Joan) of Stockton, CA and his sisters, Margaret Deneher (Pat) of Newport Beach and Mary Elizabeth Callaghan (John) of Los Angeles, CA, by Mary Shea, his wife of 52 years; by six children: Colleen Morrissey (John) of Pacific Palisades, CA; Edmund H. Shea III (Liz Snow) of Charlotte, NC; Mary McConnell (Britt) of Pasadena, CA; Kathleen High (Steve) of San Marino, CA; Timothy T. Shea of Santa Barbara, CA; Ellen Dietrick (Jerry) of Newport Beach, CA; and by fourteen grandchildren. His daughter Maureen predeceased him in 1985. Visitation/Rosary will be Tuesday, August. 17, between 5:00-8:00 p.m. at St. Andrew's Church, 311 N. Raymond, Pasadena. A funeral mass will be said on Wednesday, August 18, at 3:00 p.m., also at St. Andrew's Church, followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Edmund's name to the Peter Claver Scholarship at Loyola High School (1901 Venice Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90006) or the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins (http://www.alscenter. org/donate/).
Published in Pasadena Star-News from Aug. 17 to Aug. 18, 2010
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