While he made his career in finance, lifelong Libertyville resident Joseph "Joe" Sheahan spent his life helping others through countless community organizations and charities. Sheahan, 82, died Thursday at Advocate Condell Medical Center, surrounded by his family.
Born May 3, 1935, in Chicago to Joseph and Loretta Sheahan, Sheahan moved to Libertyville as a child in 1941 and grew up to immerse himself in local organizations. A 1953 graduate of Libertyville High School who taught himself finance without going to college, Sheahan spent 15 years as treasurer and assistant director of finance for the village of Libertyville. He also served as treasurer for Rondout School District 72.
For the past 17 years, Sheahan delivered food two or three days a week as a volunteer with Catholic Charities' "Meals on Wheels" program in Gurnee, the village where Carol, his wife of 51 years, had taught third grade. The couple made food deliveries right up until his diagnosis with cancer earlier this month. Many of the seniors they served are younger than Sheahan.
"He told me he just loved helping the old folks," says his son, Larry, a Baptist pastor in Marshfield, Wisconsin. "He was a strong man of faith and that was the natural overflow of his faith, serving others."
A devout Catholic and member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Libertyville, Sheahan attended Mass several times a week at Marytown, the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Libertyville. But he "was very accepting of different faiths," his son says, adding that his Catholic father and Presbyterian mother passed on the " desire to serve others" to him and his siblings, Greg and Laura, and eight grandchildren, who have been involved in charitable efforts locally and as far away as Thailand and Zambia.
A member of the Mundelein Rotary, Chicago Kiwanis and the Cardinal Stritch Council of the Knights of Columbus, Joseph Sheahan also did work for the Mundelein Area United Fund, the Mundelein Chamber of Commerce and the Libertyville Community Club. "He was the finance guy for anyone who needed him," Carol Sheahan says.
After Sheahan retired, he worked part time as an auditor for Bob Chinn's Crab House in Wheeling.
Before they were married, Joseph Sheahan was a leader in Frontier Days, Libertyville's annual summer festival. When they married during the festival on July 9, friends told his bride, "Wow! You must be really special." He also sang in the Vocalaires community choir and was involved in sports as a member of the Recreation Commission of the Village of Libertyville, a founding member of the Libertyville Athletic Club, the Central Lake County YMCA, and the Lake County Rifles semiprofessional football team.
"We went to the championship game on Saturday and I gave birth to our first child on Sunday," his widow recalls.
Visitation will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at McMurrough Funeral Chapel, 101 Park Place, Libertyville. Funeral Mass will begin at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 121 E. Maple St., Libertyville. For information, call (847) 362-2626, or visit the guest book at libertyvillefuneralhome.com.