Traverse City

SHEA, Thomas Apr 3, 2019

SNOQUALMIE [mdash] Tom Shea of Snoqualmie, Washington, a former resident of Traverse City from 1977 to 2007, passed away April 3, 2019.
Tom is survived by his wife of 30 years, Darylene, her children, grandchildren and the children of his brothers’ families, who knew him as their favorite Uncle Tom.
Tom was a truly kind man who enjoyed seeing others succeed and was always encouraging them in whatever their goal. He thoroughly enjoyed good humor. He was a priest, a teacher, a mentor, a band manager, a friend, a husband and always in everything, an activist for peace and nonviolence. He touched many lives, leaving behind him good memories of fun and inspiration.
Tom was born in 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Patrick C. Shea and Marguerite Mitchell. He was the youngest of four boys. His three older brothers joined the service at the onset of World War II. In the midst of war, Tom often saw his mother on her knees praying for her boys’ safety. It was this childhood experience that convinced him the world needed peace, and he made his lifelong commitment to work for peace and nonviolence.
Tom attended elementary school in Shaker Heights and high school at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Though in high school his nick name was “Peace Boy,” he also was on the high school boxing team.
After high school Tom went on to become a Jesuit priest. As a priest, he taught at St. Ignatius High School. In the ’60s he founded an alternative high school for St. Ignatius called the Cleveland Urban Learning Community (CULC), or “School Without Walls,” taking the students out of the classroom and using the city with it’s leaders in both businesses and agencies as the teachers. He also started the Jesuit Volunteers Corps Midwest while continuing to immerse himself in social justice issues such as civil rights and working with the Jesuits promoting nonviolence on both the local and national level.
Tom left Cleveland and the Jesuits in 1977, moving to Traverse City, where he found work with Catholic Human Services, at that time called Community Family and Children Services (CFCS), where he was district director for eight years. In his spare time he promoted a local folk band called “The Song of the Lakes” in its early years. And as he did wherever he went, Tom became active in the area with local peace and justice organizations. In Traverse City this included, but was not limited to, Neahtawanta Research and Education Center, Mideast Just Peace, Episcopal Peace Fellowship and the Michigan Peace Team. Since he had three brothers who were veterans of World War II, he joined the Veterans For Peace #50 as an associate member. In 1995 and 1997 Tom went to Hebron, Palestine, with the Christian Peacemaker Team.
In Traverse City Tom met Darylene Garthe Peterson, a native of the area. They hit it off as a couple and married in 1987. As partners, they continued teaching conflict resolution and nonviolence in hospitals, factories, churches, government agencies, businesses and community colleges. They also taught conflict resolution for three years as part of a summer graduate program in conflict management at Syracuse University, New York. They frequently participated in numerous protests or demonstrations advocating for peace.
After the partners took a course in mediation taught by the Quakers at Swarthmore College, Tom and Darylene helped found the Conflict Resolution Service in Traverse City, a program in Michigan that provides mediation as an option for solving disputes in Michigan State’s crowded circuit courts. Tom has described mediation as “helping people have difficult conversations.” They were contracted by the Michigan court system to recruit, train and supervise volunteer mediators throughout the Northern Lower and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for this program.
In 2007 Tom and Darylene moved to Washington State to be closer to Darylene’s five children and their families. Shortly after arriving in Seattle, Tom started working with the Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action and became active with the Veterans For Peace #92 in Seattle. He used his prior experiences to help plan vigils and nonviolent actions at the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base. As he had wherever he was, he put himself on the line many times there, often risking arrest by entering the roadway and blocking traffic to symbolically close the base. He also created street theater scripts that were used during vigils at the submarine base to entertain and educate people.
Tom loved hiking and camping in summer and cross country skiing in winter. Most of all, he loved gardening. When he moved to Traverse City he bought a house, so he had a garden. His goal was to feed himself from his own garden and in a back yard of 35 x 40 feet, he pretty much did that. He also had a great garden in Washington.
As he became more frail, Tom never stopped working for nonviolence and peace. Though he could no longer protest or risk arrest by physically walking or march for peace, he encouraged others to do so and consistently sent letters to his congressmen and women. Even on the day before his death, he asked one of his nurses to consider resisting taxes intended for war.
Tom wanted his ashes to be near those who work for peace. Peace was his calling. Following his wishes, Tom’s ashes will be placed at both the Ground Zero Center For Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, and the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center in Traverse City.
On Sunday, July 28, at 3 p.m., Tom’s ashes will be placed in a memorial service at the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center located at 1308 Neahtawanta Road, Traverse City. Please RSVP to the Neahtawanta Inn, (231) 223-7315.
Remembrances may be made to the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center, 1308 Neahtawanta Road, Traverse City, MI 49686; Grace Episcopal Church, 341 Washington St., Traverse City, MI 49696; or Conflict Resolution Service, 2240 South Airport Road West, Unit D, Traverse City, MI 49684.

View Original NoticeSHEA, Thomas Apr 3, 2019