Joseph James “Joe” Shea, 90, accomplished his dream of becoming a teacher

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Joseph James "Joe" Shea
Joseph James “Joe” Shea

WILMINGTON — Joseph James “Joe” Shea, 90, passed away peacefully at the Bradley Creek Health Center on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. He was born in Detroit, Mich., to the late Joseph Shea and Josephine Bradshaw Shea and spent most of his childhood years in Onaway, Mich.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife of nearly 59 years, Marie Hallenbeck Shea. He is survived by his daughter, Teresa Shea Pierce of Leland, and her husband, Jerry Pierce.

After graduating from St. Charles Borromeo High School in Detroit, he joined the U.S. Navy at age 18. He served his country as a storekeeper in the U.S. Navy in the Philippines. After discharge from the Navy, he worked on an ore freighter in the Great Lakes.

With the assistance of the G.I. Bill, he went to Central Michigan College to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher. He graduated with a degree in English in 1950. After graduation, he taught in a number of different school systems in Michigan and New York. He then decided to pursue a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan. He received his Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan in 1964.

Joe then taught education at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, for four years. In 1967, he moved his family to Gainesville, Fla., where he taught at the University of Florida for more than 25 years. In 1981, Joe retired from teaching. He and Marie moved to the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, where they renewed their love of small-town living and Joe pursued his interest in wookworking.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Wilmington Funeral Chapel. The family will see friends one hour prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 406 W. 43th St., Kansas City, MO 64111 (www.vfw.org); or Matthews Ministry, 5149 Fernwood Drive, Southport, NC 28461 (www.matthewsministry.com/make a donation).