A woman of elegance, intelligence and humor

Published in the March 17, 2016 edition

NEWTON — Ann J. Shea of Newton, formerly of North Reading and Westwood, known affectionately by family and friends as “Nancy,” died peacefully in her sleep on March 13, 2016. 

Nancy was born in Boston, the daughter of the late Dorothy Lane and Edward Joseph McCarthy, Newton. Her brothers Lane, William, and sister Patricia predeceased her. She is survived by nieces and nephews. Nancy was the loving wife of the late Harold O’Leary. Grieving her loss is their beloved daughter, Frances Pennell (Penny) O’Leary. Nancy was the devoted wife of the late John Robert Shea, “Bob.” 

 Nancy was a woman of elegance, intelligence and humor. She was a graduate of Emmanuel College and Boston College Law School. Her exceptional beauty, radiant smile and laughter captivated all who saw her. Nancy was a model for the former Hart Agency, Boston. She was a gracious hostess who loved to entertain. Her interests were varied ranging from golf, tennis, skiing, bridge, travel, and the seaside. Nancy had a wide and wonderful circle of friends. However, her two greatest loves were her daughter Penny and her late husband, Bob. Nancy and Bob first met on the golf course – a shared passion. After their honeymoon they set up home at 208 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston and enjoyed an enduring marriage. She worked tirelessly as a mother and wife – her love evident in all that she did. When Bob suffered a life threatening injury, Nancy was at his bedside every day for months and without fail drove him to and from his place of business for years, working beside him at T.E. Toomey, Wakefield. His happiness was paramount to her and her life changed forever following his death. 

She remained a steadfast and loving presence in the life of Penny. Her grace, humor, beauty and dignity will continue to inspire all who knew and loved her. Nancy and her family wish to thank those who lovingly cared for her over the last several years of her life providing for her dignity and comfort. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday March 19, 2016 at ten o’clock in the morning at St. Theresa’s Church, 63 Winter St, North Reading. Internment is private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Nancy’s memory in honor of her extraordinary nurse, Hilda Lonergan, R.N. to Brookhaven Hospice, 6 Beech Street, Framingham, MA 01702. For directions and online condolences call Croswell Funeral Home at 978-664-3031 or see https://www.croswellfuneralhome.com.