Medical 11

Thomas Joseph Shea

January 27, 1949 ~ January 29, 2024 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Thomas Shea Obituary

Thomas Joseph Shea, 75, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 29, 2024 at home in Hanford, California, after a year-long illness. He is survived by his wife, Marcia, and their daughters, Heather Acosta of Hanford, CA and Rashall (Zack) Hicks of Moses Lake, WA, and nine grandchildren—Shayla (19), Nevaeh (17), Jocelynn (13), Javier (12), Genesis (11), Cali Mae (8), Jaxon (3), Jeremia (2), and Cristina Camila (1). 

Tom was the oldest of eight children born to Joseph and Mary Shea of Washington, DC. His siblings are Eileen (Jim) Wise, Daniel Shea, James (Mary Joan) Shea, Victor (Cindy) Shea, Joseph Shea, and Kathleen Shea. Another brother, John Shea, passed away in 1979. Tom is also uncle to many nieces and nephews.

Growing up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, Tom attended grade school at St. Catherine Laboré, St. Charles, and St. Johns’ schools. He graduated from Bishop Denis J. O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. He used his National Merit Scholarship to help fund his tuition at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he studied psychology.

After college, Tom worked as a reporter for the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He moved west to Texas and finally settled in San Jose, California. There he met Marcia Sheffer and they married in 1978.

Tom was a true “Renaissance Man,” enjoying many interests and talents. He was curious about everything, particularly about the “man-machine interface.” Living in Silicon Valley, he was fascinated by what computers could do, and worked as an independent consultant to several of the tech giants in the area.

Tom worked for InfoWorld magazine in the 1980’s as a proofreader and writer when personal computers emerged.  He also worked at Apple testing software and hardware. That piqued his interest in the patent process.

He was endlessly fascinated by human creativity. Not only was he skilled at drawing and sculpting, he was an amateur inventor as well. He dabbled in his own inventions, and also helped and encouraged others. Marcia introduced him to patent attorneys she knew over 20 years ago, Eventually, Tom began working for several patent attorneys, preparing patent applications and nurturing other budding inventors.

Tom loved a good discussion, and he was passionate about philosophy, science, politics, and religion. He explored these subjects through personal research and presentations for Toastmasters groups in San Jose and in Hanford, as well as in conversations with family and friends.

Friendships were very important to Tom. He would meet with inventor friends in their garages to discuss, tinker, test, and improve their inventions. One close friend, Tirena Say, asked Tom to collaborate on writing her life story of overcoming a traumatic childhood. Tom was a passionate co-author and editor of her book Seeing Colors.

A family man, Tom dearly loved his children and grandchildren, and enjoyed spending time with them. He loved to travel, and was able to take a special trip to Ireland in 2018 with his wife and sisters Eileen and Kathy, and brothers Dan and Joe.  He and his wife, Marcia, would have celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary on Feb. 3, 2024. Tom also enjoyed cycling, walks with his dogs, and monthly Zoom chats with his brothers and sisters.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, Feb. 24 at New Hope Community Church at 11274 Hanford-Armona Road, Hanford, CA 93230. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to New Hope Community Church, Hanford, or to the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, 501 7th Ave. Suite 230, New York, NY 10018.

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Memorial Service
February 24, 2024

1:00 PM
New Hope Community Church
11274 Hanford-Armona Rd
Hanford, CA 93230


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