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Published: 8/21/2012

John Sheehy, 1937-2012: Ex-cement mason active in politics, church work

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

John Sheehy, a retired cement mason who held a second job for many years as a longshoreman at the Toledo Lakefront Docks, died Sunday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township. He was 75.

Mr. Sheehy, who was known as Patrick to family and friends, had struggled with heart disease for four years, his daughter, Patricia West, said. She said he suffered a heart attack Wednesday on his 75th birthday.

Ms. West said her father began a nearly 50-year career in the concrete industry in the late 1950s, initially driving a concrete mixer for the former John Nauman Construction Co.

He eventually became a union cement finisher, working out of Cement Masons Local 886 for nearly four decades.

Beginning in 1967, Mr. Sheehy worked a second job at night as a longshoreman at the Toledo Lakefront Docks. He helped unload iron ore and load coal onto lake freighters, said his brother, Michael Sheehy.

Ms. West said he quit in 1980 to spend more time with his family.

"It was too hard on him to stay away from his family. He wanted to be home in the evening with us," she said.

He continued working, but only for the Cement Masons Local, and also did side work. Ms. West said he earned an associate's degree in accounting from Davis College while he was recovering from an injury he suffered on the job. He retired in 1999.

Born Aug. 8, 1937, to John and Martha Sheehy in East Toledo, he attended Good Shepherd school and graduated in 1955 from Central Catholic High School.

Upon gradation he entered U.S. Marine Corps, serving a four-year hitch that included a tour in Japan, his family said. He married the former Mary Casey on May 23, 1960. She died Feb. 19, 2004.

A lifelong Democrat, Mr. Sheehy was active with the Lucas County Democratic Party and the Oregon Democratic Party. He volunteered on the council election campaigns of his brother Michael Sheehy. He also was a precinct worker in Oregon.

Mr. Sheehy and his family joined St. Thomas Aquinas Church in the 1960s and remained with the church after moving to Oregon. He was an usher and volunteered at fund-raisers at the parish.

Surviving are his daughters, Maureen Sheehy, Patricia West, and Shawn Gnida; sons, Danny and Michael; sisters, Sharon Materni, Ann Plummer, Kathleen Kline, and Jean Boraggina; brothers, Tom, Jim, Mike, Charlie, and Bob Sheehy; 16 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday in the Eggleston-Meinert-Pavley Funeral Home, 440 S. Coy Rd., Oregon, where Scripture services will be at 7 p.m. A funeral Mass is to be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 729 White St., Toledo.

The family requests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or the American Heart Association.

-- Mark Reiter



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