WESTBROOK – Earl Shea was a dedicated man in both his job and personal life.

During 35 years working for ExxonMobil, he never missed a day of work. This past fall, he celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife, Ann.

Baseball was “his first love,” and he played well into his mid-60s, his wife said.

“It got to the stage where the fellows on the team, they had set up a rocking chair. They would carry him out on a rocking chair onto the pitcher’s mound,” she said.

Mr. Shea died Wednesday. He was 86.

At age 19, Mr. Shea enlisted in the Army despite offers to play professional baseball.

While his family admits they do not know much about his time serving in Europe during World War II, some stories have come out.

One story earned Mr. Shea the nickname “Doc.” His wife said Mr. Shea helped deliver a baby while he was overseas.

“He heard these moans,” she said, and found a woman in labor.

“Every time we went to the hospital, he would say, ‘You don’t have to worry, I’ve delivered a baby.’ I’m not sure how comforting that was,” she said.

Mr. Shea pitched in when needed, regardless of the situation.

“He was always there for you when you needed him,” said his daughter Deb Shea.

Whenever she or her sisters or brother had a problem, “you’d always tell him,” she said. Mr. Shea would assess the situation and decide the best way to solve it.

“He was always doing what was right,” his daughter said. “He was a stand-up kind of guy.”

Despite his commitment to his job, Mr. Shea never missed his children’s athletic events and took the family on Sunday afternoon drives.

“I don’t know how he did it. He managed to have four kids, a life and work,” said another daughter, Beth Shea.

He was even there for his daughter’s Maltese dog, Max. When Beth Shea was working night shifts, she would return home to an empty apartment, she said.

“He didn’t want to leave the dog alone,” she said.

The family often called Max Mr. Shea’s co-pilot, because he took the dog wherever he went.

“He’d say ‘The girls like him. They always want to pet him.’ He’d get lots of attention,” she said.

When his children started having children of their own, Mr. Shea became their “taxi.” Beth Shea said all the neighborhood children looked forward to days when Mr. Shea picked up his grandchildren because he often brought doughnuts.

He passed on his love of baseball to his grandson Paul Reny, who now plays for South Portland High School. Just two weeks ago, daughter Carolyn Reny took her father, despite his declining health, to one of Paul Reny’s games.

“He told me not to miss him,” Carolyn Reny said. “I wrote a whole Father’s Day thing for him.”

On Sunday, she gave him a list — a “What I’ll Miss” list, she said.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]