In Memoriam: Walter Shea


The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is saddened to announce the passing of Walter Shea, a longtime Teamster leader and former International Vice President.

Shea was born on Nov. 30, 1929, in Brooklyn, New York. Before going to work for the Teamsters Union, he achieved the rank of lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He was married in 1952 and had six children and a dozen grandchildren.

Shea began his Teamster career in 1957. He started out with the Research Department of the Eastern Conference of Teamsters. He was named Assistant Director of the Eastern Conference in 1960. He chaired National Automobile Transporters negotiations and served on National Master Freight Agreement negotiating committees. He also served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department.

Shea had a rich life within the union and kept busy with political appointments. He was not only an International Vice President from 1982 to 1992, he served as an Executive Assistant to four General Presidents of the Teamsters Union. He was also a candidate for Teamsters General President in 1991.

In 1982, Shea was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as a member of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving, and in 1986 to serve on the Panama Canal Commission. He was also an official government observer of elections in El Salvador.