Michael Patrick Sheehan, 85, of Monmouth Beach, died Tuesday, February 14, 2023.
In an age when people aspire to quick fame, a well-curated online persona, and the flash of a big job title or fat bank account, Mike Sheehan, 85, of Monmouth Beach, was an anomaly: he was content.
For Mike, family was everything. He knew the joy, safety, and camaraderie of being part of a large first family, as the youngest of 14 children born in Brooklyn to Dr. George and Loretto Sheehan. And he knew loss, as he outlived nearly all of them, survived now by his sister Elizabeth Sheehan of Long Branch.
He had a long and happy marriage to Ellen Sheehan, his true love of 54 years. He took great delight in the doings of his four children, Maura, Michael, Becky, and Kathleen, and of his brilliant grandchildren: Erin and Sean Knight; Fiona and Felix Sheehan; Ellie and Leo Lomangino and Sidonia Summers; and Albert, Haley, and Joseph Bruce. He and Ellen generously welcomed their children’s spouses and partners, and those “outlaws,” Tim Knight, Molly Sheehan, Bob Summers, and Bert Bruce, loved them right back.
Mike loved his life of quiet pleasures and routine: a good conversation, the delight of an engrossing book, the pursuit of the best pizza. For many years this was Freddie’s in Long Branch until its closure forced a slow-paced but satisfying search for the next best slice. He reveled in menu-planning for holidays, cooking for a crowd of family, and evenings on the porch with Ellen. As he often reminded his family, “we are rich in the things that count.”
The quintessential introvert, Mike preferred thoughtful conversation over a beer with two people to the rowdy possibilities of a room full of strangers. He didn’t like to travel but he did it anyway, and once home again he savored memories of trips to the Outer Banks and visits to his children in North Carolina, Maryland, Maine, and Pennsylvania.
Mike was educated at Regis High School and then at Red Bank Catholic before enrolling in Manhattan College and graduating from Caldwell College. He had a nimble mind and stayed curious about characters, good stories, and ideas all his life. Mike was a writer by vocation, and he worked in communications and marketing for 20 years with Blue Cross and then Blue Shield of New Jersey, before freelancing for more than 20 years as Marketing Messages.
His ease with words flowed into weekly Friday emails to his children and outlaws, filled with stories -- day-to-day life with Ellen, reports on the summertime dew point and relative humidity, musings on pop culture and politics, stories of “People I Get Behind” in lines, and tales of getting pulled over (again) by Long Branch police for his too-tinted windows. The email distribution grew to include grandchildren deemed grown enough and friends who wanted in on the never-breaking - but always thoughtful - news from the Friday Message Man.
Mike was predeceased by his beloved wife Ellen C. Sheehan in October 2021, and leaves behind his children, grandchildren, and the outlaws. He is survived by his sister Liz, sisters-in-law Beth Parisi and Diana Kohl, and brother-in-law Joseph Kohl. Mike will be greatly missed by his many nieces and nephews, and by his dear friends Maggie Hopkins, Joan Magnetti, and Linda Friedman.
Family and friends may visit Thursday, March 2, from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm at the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, March 3, at 10 am at the Church of the Precious Blood, 72 Riverdale Avenue, Monmouth Beach, followed by a committal service at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Middletown.
Donations may be made in Michael’s memory to the First Nations Development Institute online at https://www.firstnations.org/fndi_donate/ or by mail to 2432 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Longmont, CO 80501.