Pearl Swanson Shea, 87, of Framingham, MA, dies

Pearl Swanson Shea, 87, of Framingham, MA, died on September 21, 2018. Born in Ely, MN on November 21, 1930. Parents - Samuel Swanson and Eleanor Hyatt. She attended and graduated from Ely High School and Ely Junior College. Her first job was as a switchboard operator in Ely. After working as a secretary in Chicago, IL, she joined the Red Cross, working in Minneapolis and Walker, MN, before being assigned in 1952 to work as part of the Red Cross staff at Camp Chitose in Hokkaido, Japan. There she converted to Roman Catholicism and then met First Lieutenant Henry (Hank) Joseph Shea, who was returning from fighting in the Korean Conflict.
On August 27, 1955, they wed at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Ely and then moved to Bay Village, Ohio. Between 1956 and 1961, Pearl gave birth to five sons. She spent the next two decades raising those sons in Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with annual summer vacations in Ely. Between 1982 and 1986, Pearl and Hank lived in Singapore, and then in Houston, TX for four years. In 1991, they moved to Vero Beach, FL and spent each summer in Ely. Pearl and Hank were married for 50 years, until his death in 2006.
Pearl was active in women’s organizations, Cub Scouts, St. Vincent DePaul, and each parish where she lived.
She is survived by her sons: Hank (Chris) of Tucson, AZ, Patrick (Jane), of Wilton, CT, Timothy (Eva), of Denville, NJ, Michael of Stratford, CT, and Daniel (Judy) of Natick, MA; 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
A memorial Mass has been held in Framingham, MA and a funeral Mass will be held in Ely, MN in early August. Pearl’s remains will be buried next to her husband, Hank, in the Ely Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Ely Area Food Shelf, P. O. Box 786, Ely, MN 55731-0786 or
For further information or to view a memorial guestbook, please visit