Dennis M. Shea
Dennis M. Shea
  • October 15, 1933 - April 1, 2017
  • Oneonta, New York

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Dennis Michael Shea of 15 Spruce Street, Oneonta, passed peacefully on the evening of April 1st surrounded by his family at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta.

Denny was born to Muriel and Arthur Shea on October 15th, 1933 in New York City.

He attended Chaminade High School in Mineola and was known by his teachers as a quick learn and by his classmates as kind, somewhat quiet guy who, according to the yearbook, "comes through for the class when needed most."

He was also known in high school and CYO leagues for his pitching. As a tall left-hander with a hard fastball and a good bit of "junk," as he would say, his game drew the attention of many, including professional scouts.

In January of 1952 he joined the Marine Corps and served in Korea. He was honorably discharged in 1955. While in the military he met several of his life-long friends, including the late Joe White.

He then attended the Oneonta State Teachers College, studying history and political science. There he met his future wife Rosemary Bowers. He fell in love with the City of Oneonta and would call it his home for the next sixty years.

He conducted graduate studies at Queens College and the University of Albany. His first teaching post was High School History at Schenevus Central School, but with his graduate work and keen insights into politics, he was soon hired as a professor at SUCO in 1961.

For 36 years, he taught courses in American Government and impacted the lives of thousands of students. He took meticulous care in crafting lectures, and became the mentor to hundreds who would later blossom as leaders across New York and beyond. He cared very deeply about his "craft" and continued to be a student of politics until the end. In fact, he was hardly able to read articles without a pen his hand, given his insatiable need to underline, circle and make margin notes - and to pass these clips to others.

He was also a political activist. He held the distinction of being the head of the Oneonta Chapter of Young Democrats in the 1960s - a critical time for progressives across the country. He was at the forefront of protests for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam. One of his proudest posts was as a staffer in Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968. He was a regular media commentator on politics.

Denny Shea enjoyed fishing and hunting with his sons. He especially loved fishing the small streams of Otsego County for beautiful wild brook trout. He was a prodigious reader, gobbling up the local paper even when traveling. (He closely read obituaries!). He remained a life-long NY Giants fan and was one of the great, all-time Mets fans. Most evenings in the summer, especially in his later years, were spent deconstructing Met's games while drinking a few "cold guys."

He is survived by his seven children: Mike Shea, his wife Julie, Brian Shea, Dan Shea, his wife Christine, Patrick Shea, Dennis Shea, his wife Pat, Mathew Shea and his partner Kelly MacPherson, Mary Kate Miglianti and her husband Mike, his two devoted sisters, Maureen Lauro and Andrea Shea, seventeen grandchildren, two great grandchildren, several nieces nephews and dear friends.

Dennis Michael Shea was a kind soul, benevolent and generous to all he encountered. Above all, he loved to spend time with his family; to smile and laugh. The joy of his heart, the twinkle of his eye will endure in his children and grandchildren, and will not soon be forgotten in his beloved City of the Hills.

A funeral mass will be celebrated on Thursday April 6, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. at St. Mary's Church, 39 Walnut Street, Oneonta with Rev. David Mickiewicz, pastor, officiating.

Friends are invited to greet the family on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 from 4pm - 7 pm at the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, 14 Grand Street, Oneonta.

Interment will take place at the convenience of the family in Saratoga National Cemetery, Schuylerville.

Condolences to the family may be made online by visiting our website at

Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.