Elizabeth Shea (Betty Lou Gallagher), 94, of Tacoma, died peacefully on July 22nd surrounded by family. She went on to be our newest angel. Betty was often heard saying 'Life is a journey'. She lived her journey well.
Betty was born on January 10, 1928, the first child of Katherine and Leo Gallagher. She graduated from Aquinas High School in 1945 and WSU in 1949 with a degree in Home Economics. Betty excelled in her life profession as a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, nature lover and caretaker for those in need.
Betty followed in the footsteps of her father as a mountaineer. She climbed Mt. Rainier when she was 14 years old and the state’s highest peaks before finishing college. Her love for creation caused her to pause often to thank God for a tiny flower, a unique cloud or The Mountain, (Rainier). You could find Betty up at Crystal Mountain every week during the winter, finally hanging up her skis at age 75.
Betty married Robert Shea in 1952. They had 8 children in the next 11 years. Betty was the quintessential mother, with cookies always in the cookie jar, homemade bread, a skilled quilter, and most importantly a model for what it means to be a compassionate and caring person.
Betty was a woman of deep faith. She loved her faith community of St. Charles and St. Leo. She, Robert and friends were instrumental in the founding of The Nativity House, a day center for homeless men and women. She volunteered at many places during her life including church, St. Charles Elementary, Bellarmine High School and Guadalupe House. She also assisted at L’arche with sewing, cleaning or whatever else was needed.
Betty cherished her friends, her neighbors, her discussion group, her many cousins and her entire extended family. As Betty’s short-term memory became more challenging, she lived in several assisted living facilities, making friends wherever she went.
Betty is survived by 7 of her 8 children, Dan Quinn-Shea (Karen), Peggy Piwonski, Pat Shea, Kathy Robertson (Martin), Bob Shea (Shelly), Mary Almonte and Bill Shea (Melissa), her 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Her husband Robert and son, Brian Shea, pre-deceased her. She is also survived by her sister, Therese Wooding, and many nephews and nieces.
Funeral services will be at St. Leo on Wednesday, August 3rd at 12:00.