Mary “Sheila” Kearney was born Aug. 25, 1937 to Frances Elizabeth Stimmel and Judge Joy Seth Hurd in Bay Village, Ohio. Our beloved mother and wife to Richard E. Kearney surrendered her soul to Jesus on Jan. 10, 2020 at the age of 82.
Sheila was the youngest of 15 siblings and grew-up in Bay Village. The Hurd household was a bit of a celebrity family in Cleveland. Many newspaper articles were written about the day to day lives of the large family, from the amount of food they had to purchase to the number of diapers they sent out for cleaning each week. Sheila’s mother was named the National Catholic mother of the year in 1945 and her father was a respected Judge that served on the Appellate Court bench in Ohio. With this incredible foundation of love and faith, Sheila received her first communion at age seven, and graduated from Augustine Academy in 1956. Upon graduation Sheila attended Marquette University and enrolled in their nursing program. While at Marquette, she met an engineering student and her future husband, Richard E. Kearney. Their love for each other has always been an inspiration to our family and I’m sure even at that young age their love for each burned brightly for everyone to see. They married on June 8, 1958 in Bay Village, at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church and shortly thereafter moved to Piqua, Ohio to start their life together. It was during this time in Piqua, that they had their first three children Brian, David and Jodie. Sheila ran the household and helped raise the three kids as Richard established a career in Electrical Engineering. In 1963, Richard and Sheila decided to go into business with their Brother-In-Law, Elmer Slaughter, and helped establish the Slaughter Co. in Ardmore. It was here in South Central Oklahoma that Sheila and Richard spent the next 57 years as parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, raising their three children and welcoming their final child Patrick in 1973. Time for the family was always focused on faith and the events at the Catholic Church, but the family also spent time at Lake Murray boating and swimming, visiting the pool at Dornick Hills Country Club and attending Ardmore Football games. Sheila was active member of the St. Mary’s Women’s Club and served as its President several times during her life. After Brian, David and Jodie graduated high school, Sheila became a Tennis Mom, and spent her summers driving all over Oklahoma for tennis tournaments. Once all of the kids had left the house, Sheila and Richard continued their service to God and were recognized by the Pope for their service in YEAR by awarding them the Benemerenti Medal. At this same time, Sheila became a little bored with an empty house and decided it was time to enter the workforce for the first time. She started working at the Brown Paper Bag owned by Sue Fernando. It was here that so many of the young women of the area connected with her and got to know her sense of humor and spirit for life. One of the greatest joys of her life was being a Grandmother to her nine grandchildren. Mary Sheila Kearney will be remembered for her easy smile and her laugh that always ended with the same lovely sigh. She was fair, compassionate, and always eager for a good conversation or a game of Bridge. Another quality of our Mother most didn’t get to see was her toughness. She kept the family together when our father suffered a heart attack in 1982. Sheila fought through the fear of the unknown and established a new normal for the family. She survived multiple episodes of Breast and Thyroid cancer and in the end lost her final fight against the terrible effects of Alzheimer’s. She never complained nor gave up during all of these struggles and carried herself with dignity and grace through the very end of her life.
Sheila was preceded in death by her parents, Joy Seth and Frances Hurd; and siblings Joy Jr., Frank, Paul, Rita, Tom, Betty, Bill, Jim, Pat, Mary June, Frances, Nancy, David, and Jack.
She is survived by her husband Richard E. Kearney; and her four children Brian Kearney of Phoenix, David Kearney and his wife Andrea of Edmond, Jodie Austin and her husband Thomas of Ardmore, and Patrick Kearney and his wife Candance of Los Angeles; her grandchildren Lauren Kearney, Will Douglass and his wife Haylee, Kristen Kearney, Ryan Kearney and his wife Annie, Elizabeth Douglass, Katie Kearney, Brook Kearney, Grace Kearney, Audrey Kearny, Rachel Austin, Lauren Austin, and Nathan Austin; great-grandson Rowen Griffin; along with numerous nieces and nephews.
A Rosary Service will be held at 7 p.m Jan. 15 at the Craddock Funeral Home followed by an opportunity for a visitation. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Ardmore with Rev. Kevin Ratterman officiating. Internment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Her three sons Brian, David and Patrick: her grandsons Will Douglass and Ryan Kearney and Son-In-Law Thomas Austin will serve as pallbearers.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alz.org. 225 N. Michigan Ave. Floor 17 Chicago, IL 60601.
Online condolences can be made at www.craddockfuneralhome.com.