Houghton --- Alton James Shea of 9876 Luckey Drive passed away on Saturday, January 17, 2015, just six days after his 101st birthday. He was born on January 11, 1914 in Winchester, Ontario, Canada, the third son of the late Adam Joseph Shea and Maude Whitney Shea. He married Aileen Ortlip who predeceased him in 2007.
Rev. Shea and artist wife, Aileen, served Christ’s Kingdom in a variety of ways and places for over 60 years. Rev. Shea graduated from Houghton College in 1936 and began further theological studies at Biblical Seminary in New York City. Alton and Aileen married in 1938 and commenced pastoral ministry at Gates Wesleyan Church, being ordained a minister in the Wesleyan Methodist denomination in 1940. Subsequently Pastor Shea served congregations in Painted Post, Canisteo, Houghton, Wellsville, Alfred, and Oramel, New York.
In 1970, after fourteen years of local church and weekly radio broadcast ministries in Wellsville, the Sheas traveled to Sierra Leone, West Africa to spend seven years in gospel radio production in several local languages for airing over Radio ELWA in Liberia. Their lifelong ministry embraced preaching, singing, and chalk-art as well as pastoral work. Rev. Shea had a life-long interest and prayer concern for God’s Kingdom at home and around the world. He desired everyone to experience God’s love and care through a relationship with Christ Jesus.
Surviving are three children: Jonathan (Pat) Shea of Rock Hill, SC, Eila Shea of Belmont, Paul (Debbie) of Houghton, 5 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, a sister, Ruth Willett of Dahlonega, GA, and several nieces and nephews.
He was pre-deceased by siblings Pauline Lusk, Whitney Shea, Mary Robinson, George Beverly Shea, Lois Wright, and Grace Baker.
Family and friends may gather from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at Houghton Wesleyan Church where a memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Rev. Dr. Wes Oden will officiate. Burial will be at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Houghton.
Memorials if desired to: Wesleyan Christian College, Gbendembu, Sierra Leone through Houghton Wesleyan Church.