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Pam and Don Shea

Pam and Don Shea

A story of a couple who grew up with strong extended family ties and who now volunteer with students at Birchview Elementary.

Born: Minneapolis, MN, United States
Heritage: European American

Curiosity. That’s the way we both live our lives and all of our grandkids live it. It’s free and it’s fun. With curiosity you can have all you want.

Pam and Don Shea

A story of a couple who grew up with strong extended family ties and who now volunteer with students at Birchview Elementary.

We grew up in north Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. We lived only five miles apart growing up. I’m sure we saw each other in the playground and swimming pools. We didn’t know each other until we went to college. On both sides it was very important to take care of the generations before us.

Nobody in our family prior to us went to college. Our parents wanted something better for us. We realized early on that we needed a good education. The sooner you realize that the easier life can be. We went to Augsburg College. We couldn’t believe it. You could choose all the books you wanted to read. We took a lot of subjects about a lot of different things.

Don went to college for one year and then went into the service. He was in the Air Force and was a mechanic. He worked at Nellis Air Force Base outside of Las Vegas. He worked outside of Saigon in Vietnam. He was around jet fighters the whole time. When he came back to college that’s when we met.

Don was in the military and came home on a 40-day leave. On the last six days of that leave we met through my sister, Don’s future sister-in-law, who lived in same apartment building. She set us up on a blind date.

I went to college, but Don kept going on and on. He got his masters in Biology and then went on to get a masters in Organizational Leadership.

After we married I never worked outside of the home. I majored in English, now it’s called Humanities or Communications - I used that skill to raise our two daughters, Emily and Rebecca.

We loved them to pieces and the children our daughters have. While we were raising Emily and Rebecca you can guess what was important in our house. It was taking care of grandparents and parents. It was education and it was music because both our daughters love music. They play piano and the violin. It’s fun to be in a family with music.

Our youngest daughter would tell people that we have a rule of six. You cannot move farther than six miles away from us. Our two daughters have two different homes within that 6-mile diameter. We see each other a lot and that’s important to us.

Since we retired five years ago we do a lot of carpentry projects. One of our daughters has two horses. We have really enjoyed coming to Birchview to volunteer. We both love family so much and love learning and they are a big part of our lives. We’re glad being here with you guys sharing our story.

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Honoring Pam and Don Shea


Curiosity, Curiosity, Curiosity, Curiosity
Ohhhh – Ohhhhh – Oh - Ahhhh – Ahhhhh – Ah – Ah – Ha

First of all
We would like to thank
You and Mr. Sykes
For inviting us
To come and talk
To be with you
To share wisdom
From what we've been through

Came from England
From Sweden
From Ireland
When we were young
We would go
Cut the grass
At Grandma's home

When we heard
Obama speak
To all of you
It reminded me
Of my dad
Who said, "Work hard"
Who would review
Each report card

Back before
We had TV
We scrimped and saved
For the family
With a party line
We shared the phone
With neighbors
Not far from home

What will you be?
What will you see?
What will you do
For this country?

Ohhhh – Ohhhhh – Oh
Ahhhh – Ahhhhh – Ah
Ah – Ha

On Saturdays
We would go
To the bookstore
Walk back home
With big textbooks
In our hands
Now e-books
Is what we have

Went to college
Went back for more
Got two masters
Never bored
The more I learn
The more I know
There's more to learn
From all we know

Words & music by Larry Long with Scott Sykes 4th Grade Class of Birchview Elementary in Wayzata, Minnesota.

© Larry Long 2009 / BMI