Monsignor (Major General) Donald W. Shea, 80, died the morning of May 18, 2016, at Brendan House in Kalispell, Montana, his most recent residence. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated by the Most Reverend George Leo Thomas, Bishop of Helena, at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 27 at St. John Paull II Church in Bigfork, Montana. Burial will be in the Priests’ Plot at Holy Cross Cemetery in Butte, Montana, at a date/time to be determined.
Donald William Shea was born in Butte, Montana, on April 15, 1936. He attended Catholic schools in Butte, Montana, Carroll College in Helena, Montana, and The Saint Paul Seminary. He was ordained as a priest for the Diocese of Helena on May 2, 1962. In 1966, Father Shea became an Army Chaplain, serving in various venues throughout the world, including Viet Nam, Germany, and at the Pentagon. He served as Army Chief of Chaplains for 4 years with the rank of Major General, and retired from military service in 1999. Monsignor Shea returned to the Diocese of Helena where he served as Pastor of St. Patrick-St. Joseph-Immaculate Conception Parishes, and then as Pastor of St. John Paul II Parish in Bigfork, from where he accepted full Senior Status in July 2015.