Don Shea, a resident at The Village at Palmerton, celebrated his 86th birthday on June 17.

Born in Weissport, he was one of nine children. In 1941 his family moved to Allentown so his father could find work. After high school, he joined the Merchant Marines from 1945-47. He served in the Army during the Korean War and was stationed at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin.

One evening at a USO dance, Don met Eleanor and he was smitten.

"She was from La Crosse and working as a secretary to the chancellor for the Catholic Diocese. One thing led to another and we got married on Dec. 15, 1951 in her church. After a bit of convincing, we moved back east to Allentown," he said.

Don went to work for Allentown Paint as a sales representative, stopping by the local hardware stores to fill their supply orders. That's when he met Mr. Shipe of Shipe's Hardware in Palmerton.

"I always told Mr. Shipe, if he ever wanted to sell his store he should call me, and that's what he did."

The Sheas moved to Palmerton in 1954 to open the new Shea's Hardware and have been serving the community ever since.

"I love the business. What a great way to meet people, and help them take care of their homes as well," he said.

The Sheas had six children, three boys and three girls: Bernie and Eddie (who now run the store), Cathy, Jane and Pat. Timothy passed in 1976.

"Eleanor passed away in May of this year, and it's a hard adjustment, but I feel I had the best marriage in the world," he said. "God has blessed my family and, with Eleanor to help raise the children, I was a very lucky man."

Don is a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palmerton. He enjoys playing cards and watching sports, especially golf. He also enjoys exercise, reading, Phillies baseball and the Eagles.