Joseph E. Shea, Sr

January 19, 1922 ~ September 25, 2010 (age 88)
U.S. Veteran

Joseph E. Shea, Sr., 88, of Farnum Road, a well known youth sports leader of RI, passed away peacefully Saturday, September 25, 2010, surrounded by his wife and daughter while visiting his son, Joe, Jr., and his daughter-in-law in Greensboro, Georgia. He was the beloved husband of Mildred M. (Olex) Shea with whom he was married for 65 years.

Born in Pawtucket, RI on January 19, 1922, a son of the late Timothy and Alice (Walsh) Shea, he grew up in Providence and graduated from Hope High School. He and his family resided in the Elmwood section of Providence until 1972 before moving to Warwick. He was a Navy Veteran of World War II as Chief Petty Officer in Aircraft Carrier Aviation serving aboard the USS WASP and Naval Air Stations Norfolk, VA. and Manteo, NC. After the war, Mr. Shea returned to RI and worked for East Coast Aviation, Inc. and later for the U.S. Government at Naval Air Station Quonset Point from 1947-1973 as an aviation maintenance supervisor. From 1976-1989, he had a second career as an Equal Opportunity Employment Officer for Rhode Island.

Mr. Shea was an active member of the Warwick Knights of Columbus and Saint Timothy Church where he taught CCD for 13 years. He was a past commander of the American Legion Post# 1. From 1958-1965, he coached CYO Basketball at the Assumption Parish. Mr. Shea received the Catholic Inter-Racial Justice Award in 1959. He and nine childhood friends established their own "The Ten Pals Club" in 1940, a lifelong commitment to each other and the community. "The Ten Pals" Club was active in volunteer work, and three members of that club survive him.

Spending many years coaching and managing, Mr. Shea directed the formation of the Elmwood Little League and the Providence Babe Ruth League in the 1950''s. Mr. Shea''s slogan was "No youth will be turned away".

Prior to this time, leagues had a limited number of teams and selected only the best players after tryouts. Mr. Shea increased the total number of teams to accommodate all the youths that wished to play baseball; thereby, no one was turned away. He was elected as state commissioner of the Rhode Island Babe Ruth League in 1964 and reelected for a total of 30 years (1964-1993). Mr. Shea started the Jimmy Fund in RI and the annual Jimmy Fund Tournaments. He received numerous awards and recognitions for his decades of volunteer service for the youth of RI including presentations from the Pawtucket Red Sox, Jimmy Fund, and Tomorrow Fund.

Mayor Traficante of Cranston, in 1985, presented Mr. Shea with the key to the City of Cranston for his assistance to the Cranston Babe Ruth Leagues. In 1989, Mr. Shea was inducted into the Providence Recreation Hall of Fame. Mayor Cianci of Providence, in 1991, presented Mr. Shea with the key to the City of Providence for dedicated service to the Providence Babe Ruth Leagues. In 2001, Mr. Shea was inducted into the National Babe Ruth Hall of Fame in Baltimore, MD. The Pawtucket Red Sox presented Mr. Shea the Hometown Hero Award in 2003. He was a lifelong avid Red Sox fan.

Besides his wife, he is survived by two sons, Joseph E. Shea, Jr. and his wife Ellen of Greensboro, GA, and Daniel T. Shea of Warwick; a daughter Kathleen S. Fielder of Coventry; a sister, Marie Bruce of Derry, NH; four grandchildren, Kristen Fielder of Naples, FL, Katelyn Fielder of Coventry, Brian Shea and his wife, Andrea of San Diego, CA and Adam Shea and his wife Jennifer of Columbus, OH . He was the father of the late Thomas G. Shea.

His funeral will be Saturday at 9 AM from the Frank P. Trainor & Sons Funeral Home, 982 Warwick Avenue, Warwick. Mass of Christian Burial in St. Timothy Church 1799 Warwick Avenue, Warwick at 10 AM. Calling Hours Friday 5-8 PM. In lieu of flowers donations in his memory to Friends of Saint Dominic Attn: Sister Joseph Mary 500 Western Hwy Blauvelt, NY 10913-9913 will be appreciated. Burial with military honors will be in St. Joseph Cemetery, West Greenwich. McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of local arrangements. Visit us at to sign the online guest register.

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