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  • Donald M. Berwick makes a point July 28, 2014.

    Inside a packed Arlington home enthused for Berwick

    Donald M. Berwick makes a point July 27. Don Berwick has political problems, but you would not know about them from the energy generated Sunday, July 27, at an Arlington home, where an estimated 100 people crowded into every cranny to hear the doctor who would be governor. One issue is his standing in polls. Seeking the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 9 primary, he trails Martha Coakley and Steve Grossman, according to July numbers in The Boston Globe. By a lot. No matter, as those gathere ...

  • Film reviews logo

    Review: Discovering love in 'And So it Goes'

    This review by Tom Meek, a writer living in Cambridge, was originally published at Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner, and is republished with permission. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in The Boston Phoenix, The Rumpus, Thieves Jargon, Film Threat and Open Windows. He is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TBMeek3 and read more at TBMeek3.wordpress.com. Rob Reiner, a.k.a. “Meathead” an ...

  • Arlington election logo

    3 ask you to vote for Berwick

    YourArlington welcomes letters to the editor from Arlington residents for all Massachusetts candidates whose election would have an impact on the town. Email them to sprague.bob at gmail.com. Here are three supporting Don Berwick, who is seeking to be the Democratic nominee after the Sept. 9 primary. World-class candidate Don Berwick is the kind of governor we need: A progressive in the mold of Elizabeth Warren.   At the "meet-and-greet Sunday, July 27, about 100 people showed up; ...

  • Ken Donnelly, in 2007

    Why we voted against raising charter-school cap

    The following viewpoint was submitted by the Leila Gentile in the office of Senator Ken Donnelly, Democrat of Arlington. She wrote that following last week’s debate on charter schools, her office heard from many of constituents on both sides of the issue. This op ed explains the senators' reasons for voting against the bill. The opinion was written by Senators Patricia Jehlen, Democrat of Somerville, and Donnelly.On July 16, 2014, the Senate voted to defeat a bill that proposed to raise the cu ...

  • Janice Satlak-Mott, Dennie McCabe

    Stratton teacher says goodbye to community

    For 42 years, the kindergarten-1 class at Stratton School has been the "home away from home" for Janice Satlak-Mott. Now she is retiring. In a letter to the Stratton community Monday, July 21, the longtime teacher wrote:      "After a great deal of thought I have made the decision to retire from the Arlington Public Schools. For the past forty-two years Kindergarten-1 has been my home away from home and September my 'Happy New Year.' I have loved my work with the children ...

  • Joseph Monju

    Monju sees his role as fiscal watchdog for taxpayers

    Joseph Monju of Arlington, who is seeking to be the Republican nominee for state representative in the 23rd Middlesex, joined the “Yes on 1” organizers supporting the repeal of automatic gas-tax increases. On the one-year anniversary of the House voting to override the governor’s veto of the tax packages, passing a $500 million in tax increases, Monju helped roll out on the State House stairs what he sees a "the State House tab." It is a list of how he says Massachusetts state government has ...

  • Arlington Avocado image

    You don't say (or maybe you do) ...

    Kurt Fusaris offers a bite from his latest Avocado -- what Arlington residents say and don't say. You can subscribe to the Avocado via email. Until you do, read the skinny here >> This link to a viewpoint was published Thursday, July 17, 2014. ...

  • FAR logo

    Silver Maple Forest campaign launched

    The following information about the campaign was published at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Alewife-Reservation/120066318064571 Cambridge Day, July 17: Leslie prof says value of Silver Maple Forest outweighs condos See the video of the protest parade >>  1. Encourage State Senators Senator Jehlen and Senator Brownsberger to debate Environmental Bond Bill on Senate floor coming up with an amendment to include silver maple money (Will Brownsberger, Pat Jehlen, Dave ...

  • Happy artists at the Paint Bar in Newton.

    Night life in the Heights? Who knew? Art lounge coming

    Happy artists at the Paint Bar in Newton. Arlington Art Lounge aims to expand the idea. Three enthusiastic women plan to turn the former Savory Plate, at 1346 Mass. Ave., into Arlington Art Lounge. By September, you will be able to eat, drink -- and paint over 2 1/2 hours or so evening or weekend afternoons. Kim Bradshaw, Sheila Carme and Helen Galanopoulos got the thumbs-up from selectmen Monday, June 23, food a food license. They plan to return in July for a beer-and-wine license. "We're e ...

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 Wednesday July 30, 2014 |  9:06:55 a.m.
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William E. Shea

Described "a force for good in the world," William E. Shea was honored at a funeral Mass Friday, July 27, in St. Camillus Church following his July 24 death at home.

The good that force directed included his early role in the town's Human Rights Commission and the rebuilding of many of the town's schools.

"Bill Shea was a special man, and will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues on the Arlington Human Rights Commission," wrote Sheri Baron, who with She was among the original members, having served for 19 years.

"During the first few years, Bill had a little trouble accepting that there were very many hate incidents in our community. I know that was because he loved Arlington, and could not fathom that all people did not treat others as he did -- with respect, grace and kindness.'

"Gradual 180-degree turn"

"As the years went by and 'victims' came before us for help, and we began our Dialogue Series on subjects that addressed all sorts of human rights issues, Bill started to 'see the light.' Even though we had a small number of complaints brought to us, between those and our dialogues addressing bigotry and prejudice, Bill had made a gradual 180-degree turn."

Baron wrote that "he was always the first to volunteer to go and make a difficult phone call and talk with 'victims.' Whenever asked (and often initiated on his own), Bill took on tasks, working on our Dialogue series and investigating complaints by calling or meeting with complainants. Bill stepped up to the plate so many times - he truly wanted to make Arlington a warm and welcoming community for all who live or work here."

As to his work on rebuilding Arlington's school, Shea was instrumental. John Cole of Arlington attested to that in an interview. Asked about the part Shea played, Cole answered in a more expansive way:

"To Bill, life was one big adventure, and he enjoyed the ride. He was a force for good in the world."

Cole, an architect, who has been chairman of the Permanent Town Building Committee for about 10 years, said he had known Shea since 1997.

Oversaw rebuilding of schools

When Cole joined the building committee, he did not know it would also mean volunteering in other areas where Shea was a force -- the Boys & Girls Club-Middlesex, in Somerville as well as the Chamber of Commerce in that city, where Shea had been president of Ames Envelope.

During Shea's tenure, the building committee oversaw the rebuilding of the Ottoson Middle School as well as six of seven elementary schools -- the Brackett, Bishop, Hardy, Peirce, Dallin and Thompson, which is under construction now. Only the Stratton remains to be rebuilt.

Cole, a principal with Arrowstreet in Davis Square and his own firm, at johncolearchitect.com, noted Shea's persistence leavened with diplomacy: "He got his nose in everyone's business .... He had the most amazing ability to disagree with people but never alienate them."

He summed up Shea: "Do it right ... that was his modus operandi."

Shea, a longtime Town Meeting member, was active in Arlington town government for 50 years.

He served on the Board of Directors at the Salvation Army in Cambridge for 30 years. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to The Salvation Army, 402 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139.

In June, the School Committee voted to name the library at the new Thompson School after him.

Missing from King celebration

The first sign of the cancer that eventually took Shea cropped up last January before the celebration of Martin Luther King's life.

Shea was long a fixture at the event since it began, but he had to bow out. It meant that he missed the honor bestowed on his wife, Elaine. With Mary Deyst and Claudette "Sue" Lehaie, she led the First Step Group of Arlington, a group that supports women who have experienced domestic violence.

Born in 1935, he was a lifelong Arlington resident. He is survived by Elaine M. (Fitzgerald) Shea; his sons, William J., and wife Meg of Belmont; Michael and wife Jane of Reading; as well as daughters, Taryn LaRaja, and husband Ray of Amherst; Katlyn Schultz and husband Kip of Lincoln, Meghan Shea Phillips of Arlington and Kristen Donahue and husband Micah of Newburyport.

He was the grandfather of Brigette, Elizabeth, Paul, Conor, Erin, Alex, Kathryn, Luca, Cameron, Phineas, Tea, Emma, Max and Lucy. He is the brother of Jane Sullivan. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews.

"World a bit askew now"

In her statement, Baron wrote: "Bill Shea was one of the kindest, good-hearted men I have ever known. He hated injustice in any form. He personified the Golden Rule.

"He had a dry, witty sense of humor, although as a fellow commissioner pointed out to me this morning, Bill often said very funny things, but did not realize they were funny until we all were laughing.

"He was a man of integrity, a mover and shaker -- a doer. He hated intolerance and bigotry in any form. This man really 'walked the walk.'

She concluded: "I loved Bill. I loved having discussions (sometimes in a slightly difficult tone, since we disagreed at many times in our first few years. I admired Bill, because, gradually, he not only heard what I said, but he listened and had an open mind, a  mind capable of understanding and changing if he was convinced that change was needed. And he helped me learn that skill as well.

"The world is just a bit askew now that Bill Shea will no longer be a part of it. We will hold him close in our hearts and memories. Rest in peace, dear Bill. We will never forget you."


DO YOU have remembrances of Bill Shea that you would like to share? You may do so at the comment link below this story. To be published, your words must include your full name.

 

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