Don Shea, a legendary and widely-respected TV sportscaster in the Durham-Raliegh-Chapel Hill area for almost 50 years, has died at the age of 77. His death was attributed to natural causes.
Mr. Shea was born in San Francisco, CA on Jan. 3, 1938 to Patrick Shea and his wife Elizabeth Anne (nee Sullivan), both of Co. Cork, Ireland. He is survived by his beloved sons Kyle and Derek, both of Chapel Hill, his brother Joseph of San Francisco, and close friend David "Crockett" Long . He was predeceased by his parents, brother Patrick Michael, and his late former wife Goldie.
As famed San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen used to write, Mr. Shea was one of the proud "born and raised" in The City. He attended St. Anne's grammar school, Riordan High School and continued his education at City College of San Francisco and the University of San Francisco.
He served in the U.S. Army, 82nd Airborne Division Special Forces stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. He began his print journalism career at the S.F. News and following his military honorable discharge he worked on several newspapers, including the then-Durham Morning Herald. In 1967 Mr. Shea went before the TV cameras, starting at WTVD as the lead sportscaster for 17 years, followed by a 30 year career as host of the North Carolina State TV and radio programs. Over his tenure at various newspapers and stations his interviews ranged from baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial and heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis to Dean Smith, Jim Valvano and an almost endless list of national and Triangle sporting legends.
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In the course of his long and distinguished career, Mr. Shea was the recipient of many honors and awards.
As the late Valvano, who became a valued and close friend of Don, said "Nobody will outwork Don. Trust me."
Mr. Shea was proudest of his long involvement with various charities, including the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the March of Dimes and especially with the Jim Valvano Kids Klassic, where he was the co-hairman and co-founder. He was on the Board of Directors of the Duke Children's Classic and in 2012 was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for "40 years of dedicated leadership and volunteer service."
The family will receive friends from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Thursday, February 5, 2015 at Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill located at 120 West Franklin Street Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
Funeral services will be held 1:00 PM on Friday, February 6, 2015 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, and will be officiated by Father Charles Miller.
Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is honored to serve the Shea family.