Cover photo for Robert James Sheakley, Jr.'s Obituary
Robert James Sheakley, Jr. Profile Photo

Robert James Sheakley, Jr.

February 22, 1937 — January 31, 2021

Robert James Sheakley, Jr.

While saddened to lose a great husband, father, and grandfather, our family also feels blessed to have had Bob with them for 83 years and relieved that he is now at peace. Bob Sheakley, 83, passed away at home on Sunday, January 31st, following complications from multiple illnesses.

Born on February 22, 1937 to Robert J. Sheakley, Sr., and Helen (Bolster) Sheakley, Bob spent most of his life either attending or teaching in Saegertown schools. In his younger years, “Skip” stirred up various creative-yet-usually-harmless pastimes with his buddies, from playing hide and seek at the funeral home to shooting squirrels. True to the job description of “annoying brother,” he gave his sister, Judy, a hard time. Bob also suffered (learned!) the quick wit of his grandfather, “Slim,” who lived with them. Bob learned his solid work ethic from his hard-working family as well as from his experience working at the Saegertown milk plant.

Fortunately, Skip channeled his energies on various athletic teams in high school; he was the quarterback of the football team, point guard on the basketball team, and pitcher on the baseball team. Bob was happy to continue with his athletic pursuits while attending Slippery Rock University and also earning his teaching degree.

Apparently, Saegertown was too captivating to leave; Bob returned to his hometown to teach social studies early in his career and mainly health and phys ed for the next 36 years. He coached golf and basketball as well. Quite a few graduates later reported how grateful they were for the good times in his classes and “easy As.” We are certain that many of those students have also carried on to be expert in badminton and softball at family reunions…who says that you never use things you learned in high school later in life?).

Although Bob remained mainly hometown-bound for most of his life, he took the trip of a lifetime to Europe in his twenties. He was proud to jump the Rubicon River as Julius Caesar did, stood at the top of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, and enjoyed a trip home on the Queen Mary.

Perhaps one of the best trips he ever took, though, was down the aisle to marry Janet Woodward on March 19th, 1961. They met in high school, reconnected in their thirties at a high school reunion, and spent their next years raising their son, John Sheakley, and two daughters, Jodi Sheakley-Wright and Jill Anna Sheakley.

While Bob enjoyed Janet’s healthy, delicious cooking, he was also perfectly capable of feeding himself “alternate cuisine:” beer, chicken wings, Eddie’s footlong hotdogs, sardines, Ho Ho’s, Arby’s roast beef sandwiches, beer, and corned beef hash. Oh, and if not already mentioned: BEER! Most of these staples were consumed from his signature paper plates and while sitting on the couch with his daily newspaper and the nightly news or sports on TV.

Make no mistake: Bob worked hard! The lawn was always mowed, and the property was always well-cared-for. He remained active into his eighties and even did 144 push-ups three times per week until several years ago! Along with his loyalty to his family and his responsibilities, he loved and adored his animals throughout his life. He raised labs, an incredibly fierce-yet-obedient German Shepherd, Shamus, and much to everyone’s surprise later in life, two mighty little Chihuahuas, Lily and Lacey.

Even after retirement, Skip was the definition of the word, “routine.” Every day he made a trip into town in his Jeep for a newspaper, a can of dog food, and a lottery ticket! We are all still hoping to scratch the “ultimate” winning ticket, though the family truly feels that they won the jackpot with him in the family. He supported each of our endeavors, including Janet’s quilting, Jodi’s bodybuilding, and Jill’s belly dancing and skydiving. We would like to say that he was deeply passionate about his gardening hobby, though the truth is that first place ribbon from the Crawford County Fair a few years ago came from Jill’s garden (shhhh!). However, we pray that his attendance at 12 Apostles Lutheran Church throughout his life gets him off the hook and that God forgives us all for that one!

Every year he had a “birthday week” instead of just one day, and it will still be celebrated by those who survive him: Janet, his children, and Lacey. Lacey might be “yippy,” but she is also incredibly faithful; she remained at his side until the very end. Bob is also survived by his son-in-law, Kevin S. Wright, and his grandchildren: Tiffany Sheakley, Zoe Sheakley, AJ Peckich, Mackenzie Wright, Brett Wright, and Tyler Wright.

The other important date that we will acknowledge is Bob and Janet’s 50th wedding anniversary. He may be missing that one among us, though we all know he will be there in spirit and – we are sure – with fingers crossed that we can deliver a joke or two as quick witted well as he could have if he were here.

He was loved by many and adored by all. For anyone interested, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Humane Society, 11012 Kennedy Hill Road, Meadville.

Services are private.

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