Friday, May 17, 2024


Joan Shea, 81

Joan Elaine Shea of Hilton Head, South Carolina, a former Westport resident and teacher in the Westport school system, died June 21. She was 81. Image
Joan Shea: former Westport teacher. Contributed photo

She was born in New York City, New York, on March 3, 1938, to William and Carol Bergener, of Eastchester, New York.

She graduated from St. Gabriel High School, New Rochelle, New York in 1956 and the College of New Rochelle in 1960. In 1963 she married Gerald P. Shea.

After living in several places in the U.S. and Warsaw, Poland, she and her first husband settled in Westport, where they raised their family and where Joan taught elementary school for 25 years,

During that time she received a Masters’ Degree in reading from the University of Bridgeport.

They moved to Hilton Head in 2000 to spend their golden years enjoying golf, beautiful weather and new friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald, in 2005, and in 2012 Joan married G.  Daniel Zally.

She was an active member of Long Cove Club, serving in two garden clubs through the years, and as a longtime member of the social committee of the Yacht Club.

She also enjoyed being active in the Book Club, the Rosary group, playing couples’ bridge with her husband and ladies’ bridge with her friends.

Outside of her home community, she was a member of St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church both as a Eucharistic Minister and a member of The Women of St. Francis.

She also volunteered at Back Pack Buddies and, with her husband, Dan, was a greeter for Operation R & R. She was a member of the Hilton Head Orchestra League for many years, volunteering at the annual Piano Competitions, and at the Concourse d’ Elegance in its formative years.

Besides her first husband, she was preceded in death by her brother, William Bergener, cousin Peter Bowe, and brothers-in-law, Bill Shea and Tom Shea.

She is survived by her five children: Jerry Shea and his wife, Monica, of Carlisle, Massachusetts, Kevin Shea and his wife, Patty, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, Kathleen Shea O’Connell and her husband, Tom, of Southport, Bill Shea and his wife, Cathy, of Sequim,Washington, and Brian Shea and Ingrid Shea of Denver, Colorado; Joan is grandmother of 11 grandchildren: Emily and Carly Shea, Ryan and Erin O’Connell, Jack and Sarah Shea, Finnegan and Kaelen Shea, Aidan and Mairead Shea and Finn Granfield.  She is also survived by her sister, Betty Castillo, her sisters-in-law Deborah Shea and Bonnie Harris, her cousin Stephen Bowe, her nephews, Nicholas Castillo, Cliff Shea, William Bergener, Michael Bergener, and nieces, Jessica Bartolini and Margot Shea and Joan’s loving stepchildren: Michael Zally of New York City, Kathryn Zally and Filippo Beghelli of London, England, and step-granddaughter, Leonor Beghelli.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, June 29 at 12:30 p.m. at St. Francis by the Sea Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Joan’s name to Hospice Care of the LowCountry,, the American Cancer Society,  or the charity of your choice.

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