Daniel Joseph Shea

Daniel Joseph Shea

MIDDLETON-ROCKFORD, ILL.-Daniel Joseph Shea, our very favorite person in the entire world, passed away on Sunday, January 29th surrounded by his family.

He was 82 years old. Dan was first and foremost a gentle man, a kind and generous soul. Those fortunate enough to have known him, to have sat at a table with him and exchanged a few stories and a hearty laugh and maybe even raised a glass or two – knew they were in the company of greatness… even though he may have been disguised as an ordinary man. He loved deeply and was loved deeply in return.

A scrappy Irish Catholic kid from the South Side of Chicago who grew up to be (among many things) the greatest father and husband a family could have ever hoped for, and we are all better people to have had him in our lives. Dan was born January 1, 1935 on Chicago’s South Side to Dan and Mary Shea who emigrated from County Kerry, Ireland. He graduated from Leo High School and enlisted in the Navy before going to college at Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa where he met and later married Eileen Gannon. Eileen passed away in 1985. In 1989 Dan married Loretta Fischer. Loretta made our father very happy adding years to his life, and we will be forever grateful to her for that immeasurable gift.

Dan was a man of faith, an active and involved member of St. Bernard’s Parish for the past 45 years and enjoyed annual retreats with his son to the Jesuit Retreat House on Lake Winnebago. He enjoyed fishing, was an avid golfer (most often at Pleasant View), tennis player, diehard Badger Basketball fan, and enjoyed a poker game with the same group of dear friends for over 40 years. He was perfectly happy sitting on the back deck of the “cabin-house” looking out over the water for hours listening to the sound of his grandchildren filling the air. He never passed up an opportunity to attend one of his grandchildren’s many events – and would drive ten hours round trip to help his kids with yard work. He was tremendously proud of his children and his grandchildren and reminded them of that often. He had a very special place in his heart for all his nieces and nephews and was enormously grateful that they always remained close with their “Uncle D”.

He will be profoundly missed by his wife Loretta, his children Sheila Hope (Patrick), Joseph Shea (Erin) and Sarah Shea; step-son, Steve Fischer; and his 10 grandchildren.He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Eileen McCarthy, first wife Eileen Shea, stepdaughter Kim Thompson (Fischer) and nephews Dennis Gannon and Patrick McCarthy.

A special thank-you to Alpine Fireside and OSF St. Anthony Hospice in Rockford, IL for their loving care and support.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. BERNARD’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, 7435 University Ave., Middleton, Wis. at 11 AM on Friday, February 3, 2017 with Father Brian Wilk presiding. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON WEST FUNERAL & CREMATION CARE, 7435 University Ave., Middleton from 5 PM until 7 PM on Thursday, February 2, 2017 and also on Friday at the church from 10 AM until the time of the Mass.

Memorials in Daniel’s name may be gifted to a charity of the donor’s choice.

My father once told me that it was an honor to help another person but that people sometimes misunderstood what that meant. It’s not so much an honor to have more and not be the one in need but to be in a position where you can help someone – when you can feel helpful. That was the honor. We will all find ourselves at one time or another in a position where we need a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on and there is no shame in that – that is part of life. To then be the one who can do that for another is a gift, an honor. My father has done that his entire life – helped others – whether it be in big ways or small – and in his memory I hope that all of us can continue to help one another as well.