JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Raymond Shea, Jr., a former Jackson Township mayor who had a tremendously successful career as a land-use attorney that helped countless builders redraw the landscape of the town has died. He was 78-years-old.
Shea had been in ill health for some time before his death. He passed away on March 24th with family members by his side.
If you drive through Jackson Township on any given day, it would hard for you not to pass a commercial building, a tract development or structure that didn’t have Shea’s fingerprints on it. Builders hired Shea because they knew he would get their projects approved. He worked for the firm of Levin, Shea and Pfeffer, on Countyline Road, nestled behind Rita’s.
Ray was born on March 12, 1943 in Brooklyn, NY to his parents Raymond Shea Sr. and Rita Shea. He grew up in New York City, and met Suzanne, his bride of 54 years in Breezy Point, Queens NY.
“Ray was a visionary. A dreamer. A creator. A humanitarian. However, his proudest title was that of a family man. We couldn’t possibly do justice to all his accomplishments throughout his lifetime in this piece,” his obituary read. “Although Ray was a successful attorney by trade, he was also a real estate developer, co- creator of Laurita Winery, and a true philanthropist. He dedicated his time and expertise to healthcare and education for over 40 years. A proud member of the board for both the Saint Barnabas Healthcare System and Georgian Court University, he worked tirelessly to support these great institutions & many others as well.”
His family described him as a supporter of the underdog and for anyone who ever tried to get a permit to build even a shed in Jackson Township, they know what it means to be up against challenging odds. At least that’s how it was in the old days. In recent years, there hasn’t been much resistance by the township boards against the kinds of developments Shea typically represented.
“Ray was an ardent supporter of the underdog. People came to Ray with their dreams as well as their burdens. He always took the time to listen, to understand, to provide council and truly care for those who needed it most. His wisdom regarding life’s challenges was profound,” the family said in his obituary.
Shea is survived by his wife Suzanne; daughter Erin Shea-Farber and partner Joseph Dayon; son Edward and wife Cristina Shea; son Timothy Shea; daughter Megan and husband Daniel Bowles; grandchildren Ryan, Alex, Katie, and Shea; and his sister Liz and husband Chet Jakubowski.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Ray’s memory to The Kate Shea Foundation at www.bayhead5k.com