Edward Lee Shields

Edward Lee Shields        

January 7, 1948 – January 26, 2018


Edward Lee Shields passed away on January 26, 2018.  While most people were winding down from their struggle with the trials and tribulations of the day, the Shields family was weeping over the loss of a man who represented so many different, yet wonderful things.  Their tears fell that night for the loss of a husband of 47 years, they fell for the loss of a father, for a brother, for a best friend; they fell for the loss of the worlds’ greatest storyteller, philosopher, counselor, poet, singer, chef, master joke teller and fisherman. Their tears fell for the loss of a hero, and for the stilling of a voice that would no longer be heard.

Ed Shields lived just over 70 years; he was preceded in death by his mother Betty Lou and father Donald Lee, as well as his brother, Larry.

He leaves behind his youngest brother Kent; his Uncle, Donald Slater, his Aunt, Kay Nettleton and a host of other loved ones.  Chief among them of course, he leaves behind Bereadia June, whom he took as his beloved wife on February 14, 1971 while on military leave.  The two were previously introduced during the wedding of Ed’s best friend Joe Sekula, to June’s sister Donna. Ed and June were married in his parents’ family home in Converse, Indiana.  He is survived further by his two sons, Joseph Riley and Kevin Edward, as well as by his grandchildren, Leigha, Garrett, Logan, Cameron, Jack, Lincoln, Lawson, London, Violet, and his great granddaughter, Cora. 

As with every life, one’s measure can’t be captured in words, no matter their length or meaning.  Nonetheless, it should be known that Ed Shields labored from the time he was 12 years of age, working the entirety of his life with his hands and intellect; managing both people and industry.  He was a leader in every sense of the word, giving far more of himself than he would ever ask or expect of anyone else.   He was courageous and strong; unafraid of anything, unless one were to include bees and snakes in their definition of “anything.” (If so, then without hesitation or reservation he would leave you where you stood.)  Otherwise, Ed was a deliberate man; sometimes hot-headed and quick to quarrel, but far more often, he was thoughtful, loving and deeply spiritual, despite his best efforts and protests to the contrary.  You should also know that if you’re reading this, he counted you among those he loved.

He took his family on vacations; sang silly, made-up songs; told tall-tales and funny stories.  Unabashedly, he mowed the lawn in shorts and black dress socks.  He played both the trumpet and guitar, and he occasionally sang old hymns when the mood took him.  As recently discovered, he also had an eclectic taste in music. And he never - not once - missed an opportunity to pick up the check for a table of firemen or soldiers in a restaurant. He also made it a point to give to every homeless person he ever met.

Ed Shields passed along wisdom and virtue, if not by his own action and character, then by his own confession of life lessons learned. While I’ll concede my earlier description of him as being the world’s “greatest” anything might be stretching the truth a little, and it certainly omits any trespasses, he really was great.  Besides, I’m his son and I’ve learned loss, as well as the passage of time, allows for such grace in one’s testimony of another.  It’s something I’m continuing to learn from both of my Father’s, now together in heaven. – Kevin Shields