Cover photo for Sara "Sally" Shea's Obituary
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Sara "Sally" Shea

April 29, 1934 — December 7, 2023

Roscoe, New York

Sara "Sally" Shea

Sara (Sally) Sharpless Shea was born on April 29th, 1934. Right on her literal heels came her twin, Janet. Janet and Sally were inseparable through all of life’s twists and turns. Sally and Janet joined their parents, Alice and William (Jake) Sharpless , and their two brothers, William (Bill)and Edward (Ted). Jake passed suddenly in 1939, a difficult time in the family; however, Alice soon married Norman (Cy) Gordon and the family grew. Patricia(Patty), DeLinda (Linda)and Constance (Connie) Gordon expanded the happy family to nine. Soon after, in 1942, Alice Norma was born, the youngest and final child.

Sally and the Sharpless-Gordon clan lived in East Orange NJ for a time, then moved to Mendham, NJ in 1948, but their happiest times were the summers spent in Beaverkill, NY. They spent their idyllic summers swimming, golfing, riding horses and of course, weeding the expansive Victory Garden on the side lawn. Sally met her best friend, Margo Banks, in Beaverkill and they remained lifelong (mischievous) friends.

Sally graduated from Morristown High School in 1952 then went off to Hadley, MA to attend Mount Holyoke College, where she was a member of the class 1956. She met some of her closest friends at Mount Holyoke and remained in touch with many of them throughout her life. She later earned her M.A. all the while working and raising her three children.

Sally met Richard (Dick) Shea in 1955 and they soon married and started their family, moving to Basking Ridge in 1961. Rick came first in 1957, followed by Laura and Tom. Sally found a career in teaching and administration at The Lord Stirling School (in Basking Ridge),which served emotionally disturbed children. Sally’s patience, kindness and compassion were vital in her role with the students, many of whom came from difficult family backgrounds. Sally was forever buying the students needed items, cooking and baking for them, and tending to their many emotional needs. She spent 30 years at the school, and helped to change the trajectory of many a young person. Sally, Dick and the family lived in Basking Ridge from 1961- 1999 and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the of small town throughout their time there.

After retirement, Sally and Dick moved to their beloved Beaverkill, where again they swam, played golf and generally enjoyed country life. They also enjoyed yearly visit s to Florida. Sadly, their youngest son, Tom, was diagnosed with ALS in 1999. Tom moved home to live in Beaverkill and Sally, his family and his nurses cared for him until he passed in 2012. Sally was a devoted mother and caregiver throughout his entire illness.

Sally loved everything about life,life and and embraced it fully and completely. She lived a life gratitude on a daily basis. Always the optimist, Sally encouraged all who surrounded her --except when showing no mercy to her grandchildren when playing Rummy 500. She passed peacefully in her home in Beaverkill, NY, surrounded by her family. Sally is predeceased by her husband, Richard, and her son, Tom, who both passed in 2012. She is survived by her sisters, Janet and Connie; sisters-in law Frances Sharpless, Patricia Enger, and Martha Sharpless; son, Richard Shea, and his wife, Ann, of Washington NJ; her daughter, Laura Goodson and her spouse, Linda Owens, of Hopewell NJ; and her six grandchildren: Lee Goodson (and his wife, Sarah Goodson), Daniel Shea, Katy Goodson (and her fiancée, Jillian Donahue), Jaime Owens, Thomas Shea, and Mary Shea. 

Donations can be made in her memory to Project ALS (https://projectals.org) or Sullivan-Orange County Hospice (https://hospiceoforange.com).  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sara "Sally" Shea, please visit our flower store.

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