Leo O'Shea

Obituary of Leo Patrick O'Shea

On the morning of Sunday, April 28, 2024, with his loving wife Florence (or Mame to many) of 69 years by his side along with his family, Leo was called to his final place of rest in Heaven.   Leo left this world exactly as he wanted to, spending his final moments at home – at ‘The Corner’ – while getting the chance to say goodbye to his neighbors, friends and family in his final days. 

Leo was born into this world on August 19, 1928 to his loving parents, the late William & Helen O’Shea.  He was gifted from a young age with his storytelling abilities and was forever faithful to the Catholic Church throughout his life.   Leo is survived by his children, George (Darlene) O'Shea, Monica Ross, Sheila (Jo Osborne) O'Shea, and Leah (John) Munro; nine grandchildren, Natasha (Nathan Veld) and Katelyn (Dylan Anderson) O'Shea, Tyler, Brett (Melissa), Adam, Samantha, and Spencer Ross, and Abby and Jack Munro; and six special great-grandchildren, Austin, Nash, Kinley, Daxon, Myla and Annie.  Leo is predeceased by his son Paddy O’Shea, infant grandson William O’Shea Jr., brothers Maurice, Henry, and Frank, and sisters Molly and Mary, and survived by his siblings Anne Connolly and Rev. Art O’Shea, sister-in-laws Bernadette MacPherson, Marie (Bernard) McKenna, Mary McCabe, brother-in-law Kenny McNally and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Leo’s strong work ethic was developed early in life when he farmed tobacco in Iona but was on full display no matter what role he played or who he worked for.   Whether it was as a snowplow driver or heavy equipment operator, he was happiest in the cabin of a machine.  Spending 25 years with the provincial government, he was known for his uncanny ability to accurately gauge the severity of the weather conditions based on the visibility of the horse barn from the kitchen window. Leo took great pride in ensuring his route was clear and safe for the traveling public no matter how many hours he had to spend behind the wheel.  But, Leo and Florence are best known for operating the local post office and O'Shea's Grocery which proudly served the community for 24 years before closing in 1990. 

Leo retired from driving the plow in 1993 but only sat still for a matter of days before getting back into the cab of a truck to be part of a crew of over five thousand local workers to construct the ‘Fixed Link’ in Borden-Carleton; an achievement that he was proud of and provided him with countless stories that he shared with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren many times.  While he worked long days and countless hours in these roles, he still had the old house ready for Winter well in advance of what most would deem acceptable.  The house would be banked with seaweed neatly placed along the foundation before Thanksgiving and he was notoriously known to have his wood split a year ahead to make sure it was ‘good and dry’ before it was transported in small neatly stacked rows across the tailgate of the truck from ‘out back’ to the woodshed in the yard at ‘The Corner’ – and, all this would need to be done well before snow was a remote possibility in the forecast.

Leo was known by many for his kindness, compassion, and endless generosity.  No matter if you were a family member, a neighbor, or a tourist lost on their way to the Ferry, Leo embraced everyone he crossed paths with over his 95 years in this world with warmth and a willingness to help.  The only time he would raise his voice was when he would politely ask for the constant house full of company to limit the conversation so he could listen to the radio in the old kitchen for the daily death announcements each day at noon.  

Leo’s love for harness racing allowed him to show his competitive side.  He had many horses over the years, but Thor Leaf, Another Thor, I’m One Too and Shy Rookie were the ones that he often told the most stories about and recounted the ups and downs of their racing careers.  But his favourite memories revolved around the summer that the entire O’Shea family traveled the Maritimes as Thor Leaf quickly became a top contender in the Atlantic Sire Stake series.  Later in life, while he may not have had a horse in a race, he always made arrangements to ensure he had a race program well before post-time so he could spend hours analyzing and making his (often accurate) predictions for each race while watching the race card from the comfort of his own home with Florence by his side. 

The one thing that could always bring a smile to Leo’s face – and the odd bit of foolish talk and funny stories – was his love for children.  Whether it was driving them to and from school or sports in the ‘White Lightning’, caring for them before they hit the school system, playing a competitive game of Rummy or Crib at the end of the table, or letting them catch an afternoon nap on the couch with him after watching The Price Is Right; ‘The Corner’ has always, and will always, serve as home base for all generations of the O’Shea and McCabe clans and is the place where so many of us will have our fondest memories of Leo.  

After a lifetime of being kind and caring towards others, Leo received that same kindness and compassion in return in his final moments before the Lord called him home to rest.   The care and compassion from the Kings County Memorial Hospital Staff, Dr. Terry Magennis, Kings County Home Care Staff, and the Integrated Palliative Care team was second to none and made it possible for Leo to be at home, to say goodbye to his family and loving wife as he entered into heaven to watch over us all for eternity.   

With the loss of Leo, ‘The Corner’ will be a lot different, but Florence will be there to carry on the tradition of it being the spot to drop in and get caught up on the news and share a few laughs. To family and friends near and far, the kettle will be on and the biscuits will be plentiful, and you will now have Leo looking down watching over you when you drop in as we continue the tradition of the corner of Selkirk and Iona Road being welcome to everyone to drop by and feel right at home.

Leo’s arrangements have been entrusted to the Hillsboro Funeral Home, with visiting on Thursday, May 2nd, 2024 from 4 - 7 pm.  Funeral mass to be celebrated on Friday, May 3rd at 2:00 pm at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Iona.  Interment to follow at the St. Michael’s Cemetery.  Donations to St. Michael's Parish would be appreciated.

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