August 18 2017: SHEEHY, John Michael

sheehy john
John Michael Sheehy (Age 78)

John Michael Sheehy, 78, husband, father, and grandfather passed away peacefully on August 16, 2017 at his home in Silver Spring, MD surrounded by his family after a 6-month battle with lung cancer.  He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Kathleen Ann (nee. Morrissey) and their three sons.

John was born in Boston, MA on January 5, 1939 to Francis and Elinore (Reardon) Sheehy.  He graduated from Randolph High School in 1957, then from  the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1962 with a degree in Political Science and minor in International Affairs; he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

John enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1962, serving as a communications officer onboard two ships, the USS Hammerburg (DE-1015) and the USS America (CV-66).  He served multiple tours of duty in the South Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.  John met Kathleen Ann Morrissey while stationed in Newport, RI and the two were married on January 2, 1965.  While John was on deployment in the Mediterranean aboard the USS America, Kathleen joined him at many ports of call throughout Europe.  While the two had limited time together to enjoy well-deserved R & R, they made the most of a port-hopping honeymoon with Kathleen returning home in time to greet her young Lieutenant (LTJG) on his return to homeport.  John remained a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve until receiving an honorable discharge in 1972.

 After leaving the Navy, John worked as the Campaign Manager in New Bedford, MA, for Edward William Brooke III, the first African American to be popularly elected to the United States Senate. He worked in the Model Cities Program in Pawtucket, RI with John Sasso, who became a lifelong friend.

After a brief stint as a substitute teacher in Massachusetts, John worked with the National Center for Municipal Development (an affiliate of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities), as City Representative for the cities of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Dallas, Texas and others. John assisted client cities in obtaining grant funding from Federal Government agencies such as HUD and the Economic Development Administration; interpreting and tracking new federal legislation and regulations impacting cities, and advocating for city interests in Washington.    Some of the more notable projects involved innovative uses of federal resources – – such as using air rights over federal highways to build new City Halls in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and Fall River, Massachusetts.

John continued his focus on community development in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  His 32-year career at HUD started during the early years of the now long running Community Development Block Grant Program—directing federal funds for critical local development and anti-poverty projects—and continued with his tireless advocacy for fair housing laws and HUD’s other anti-discrimination programs and policies.  John retired from federal service in 2004.

A staunch Democrat, John embraced politics, history, and Big Band jazz, especially Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He will always be remembered as a great story teller, with a special ability to craft his many life experiences into stories that his friends and family would request time and time again.  An avid Washington Post reader, he never missed a day reading the Post cover to cover with his morning coffee.

In addition to his wife, John is survived by his Sister-in-Law Mary Sheehy of Waterbury, CT, sons Christian Bryant Sheehy and his wife Monica Reyes Sheehy of Olney, MD, Justin Matthew Sheehy and his wife Casie Moore Sheehy of Camas, WA, Andrew John Sheehy and his fiancé Wendy Lastrapes of New Orleans and Los Angeles, and granddaughter Devlyn Ann Sheehy of Camas, WA, as well as numerous beloved nieces and nephews. John was pre-deceased by his parents, Francis and Elinore (Reardon) Sheehy, and brothers Paul and Richard.

Relatives and friends may call at Collins Funeral Home, 500 University Boulevard West, Silver Spring, MD, (Valet Parking), Friday, August 18, 2017 from 7 to 9 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Church, Norbeck and Muncaster Mill Roads, Rockville, MD, on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 11 a.m. Interment private.
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Francis J. Collins Funeral Home, Inc.
500 University Blvd. West
Silver Spring, MD 20901

Phone: 301.593.9500