Obituary: Jim Sheahan
April 9, 1945 – January 20, 2021
Jim Sheahan, 75, of Edwards, Colorado, passed away on January 20, 2021. Jim was admitted to Vail Health Hospital on December 14th. He was transferred to the Aurora Medical Center the next day where he had open heart surgery to replace an infected heart valve. Jim spent five weeks in the ICU where he died peacefully surrounded by his family.
Jim, otherwise known as Shea-bay, Shea-dog, and Jimmy, moved to Vail in 1973. Aside from a short stint in Florida, he lived in the Vail Valley for nearly fifty years. Jim along with his three sisters, grew up on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. He was the third child of Louise and Edward Sheahan. After graduating from Seattle Prep as a star athlete, Jimmy found himself at the University of San Francisco where, as he tells it, he “enrolled as a preppy and graduated as a hippy.” He bragged to his children that as wild as they were, they just could not compete with Haight Ashbury in 1969. He recalled showing up at a beach party where he met hippies for the first time as they cheered on a little band called Jefferson Airplane. After graduating from USF, he served as a captain in the US Army, and was stationed in Germany and Vietnam. Jimmy was the first to crack a joke or flash a smile, but make no mistake, his humor was built on a firm foundation of character and integrity.
In the early 1970’s, Jim accepted a job with Vail Associates Real Estate and moved to a little ski town in the heart of the Rockies, where he knew almost no one. He would say it was one of his best decisions. Jim was welcomed by the growing mountain community. He met his future wife, Caroline Menefee, when she nearly bowled him over roller skating.
Jim and Caroline married at the Vail Chapel in 1979 and had two children, Max and Maggie. In 1988, the prospect of old friends and warmer weather brought the Sheahans to North Palm Beach, Florida. Jim would pile his family in the “Beach Car”, an old red Pontiac, its seats covered with sand. Jim and his family came to Florida for “a good time”, it turns out, but not a long time. Four years after leaving Colorado, Jim brought his family back home to the Vail Valley. Jim spent the next twenty-eight years at Beaver Creek as a broker with Slifer, Smith, and Frampton Real Estate.
Jim loved the Vail Valley: the friends he made, the history of the town, and the opportunity to see it grow from a small ski village to a world class resort. While he would never call himself an outdoorsman, he appreciated the valley’s natural beauty, and looked forward to both the winters, when friends from out of town would visit, and the summers, when he would while away his days on the golf course. Living in the mountains suited him. He kept a pair of binoculars close by to get a better look at the occasional family of deer or herd of elk roaming in the backyard aspen grove in Lake Creek. He was never more than mildly perturbed, if not amused, when a bear would make a mess of his trash cans.
Jim valued his friends and family. He loved telling a joke, always breaking into laughter just before delivering the punchline. Although Jim Sheahan has gone to his great reward, his booming laugh and generous spirit remain. He will be missed.
Jim is survived by his children, Max Sheahan, Eugene, OR, Maggie Appleton (Aaron), and granddaughter Adelaide Appleton, London, England, former wife Caroline Sheahan, Bend, OR, sisters Susie Gleason (Norbert), Portland, OR, Kitty Meredith, Portland, OR, Mary Lou Amen (Rich), Del Mar, CA, stepbrother Tom Morrow (Cindy), Longview WA, along with many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and step sister Mary Alice Bartell. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions in Jim’s name to the Vail Veterans Program https://www.vailveteransprogram.org
The family will hold a celebration of Jim’s life in Vail when the coronavirus is behind us.