Birth: Dec. 25, 1937
Rhode Island, USA
Death: Jun. 2, 2015
William Pearson Shea, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Ret.), 77, of Beavercreek Ohio, formerly of Pawcatuck, passed away on June 2, 2015, in Dayton, Ohio. Born in Westerly, R.I. on Dec. 25, 1937, he was the son of the late Edwin F. and Christina M. Shea of Pawcatuck.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Benita (Randol), son & daughter-in-law, Scott & Anne (Melvin) Shea, grandchildren, Emma G. and William F. Shea, two sisters, Edwina Crandall of Pawcatuck, Conn. and Jane Nigrelli of Westerly, R.I., sister-in-law, Sandra (Jim) Haley of Edgewater, Fla., cousin, Jane M. Bailey of Pawcatuck and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.
He was a graduate of Stonington High School (1955) where he lettered in basketball and baseball. He graduated from the University of Connecticut (1959) with a baccalaureate degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting. Upon graduation from UConn, he received a reserve commission as a Second Lieutenant and entered the United States Air Force. After three years of active duty, he was offered and accepted a regular commission. While in the Air Force he completed graduate studies with Golden Gate University, Troy State University, and Central Michigan University.
Lt Col Shea served in the Air Force for more than 28 years, retiring at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio in 1987. He held a Command Pilot rating and accumulated more than 5,000 hours of flying time in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. He served as a commander of an Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service detachment and was qualified as an aircraft commander, instructor pilot, and test pilot. As a rescue helicopter pilot in Vietnam, he accumulated over 200 combat missions and was involved in the recovery of numerous allied personnel from hostile territory. His combat actions resulted in the award of two Distinguished Flying Crosses and nine Air Medals. Other overseas assignments included duty in Japan, Guam, and England. In addition to his flying assignments, he spent eleven years of his career as an internal auditor and program manager with the Air Force Audit Agency.
During his Air Force career, he accumulated more than 50 awards and decorations. These included the Distinguished Flying Cross w/oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal w/3 oak leaf clusters, Air Medal w/8 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal w/3 oak leaf clusters, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm as well as numerous other awards. After his retirement from the Air Force, drawing on his background in the financial field, he became a tax consultant for 18 years. He was a 3rd Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, a charter member of Council 14209 at the Univ. of Connecticut, and a member of Council 21 in Westerly, R.I.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, June 5 at St. Helen Catholic Church, for family and close friends, with Fr. David Brinkmoeller officiating. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Hospice of Dayton, 324 Wilmington Avenue, Dayton, OH 45420.
Please visit www.NewcomerDayton.com to leave the family a message of condolence.
Religious Service Information: St Helens Catholic Church, 605 Granville Pl, Dayton, OH 45431
Burial: Calvary Cemetery, Kettering, Montgomery County, Ohio, USA