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Obituary: Dr. Thomas Patrick Sheehan

Sat, Jun 8th 2024 09:45 am

Dr. Thomas Patrick Sheehan of Grand Island – setter of bones, stitcher of lacerations, deliverer of newborns, husband and father extraordinaire; avid (albeit poor) fisherman and golfer – passed peacefully on May 31, 2024, at the age of 82.

Dr. Sheehan was born on Nov. 17, 1941. He grew up at 2189 Love Road, under the watchful eye of Ed and Margaret (Peg) Sheehan, and among his sister, Patricia; and brothers, Tim, Brian and Joe. It was there on Grand Island, just down the road from his childhood home, he met his lifelong friends and future medical partners, Ted Rayhill and Bob Miller.

After graduating from Canisius High School and Canisius College, he attended UB Medical School, hoping to impress Janet Klein, who heretofore had proven impervious to his charms. Ultimately, his patience and tenacity paid off, and he and Janet were married during a blizzard on Dec. 26, 1966.

He entered active duty in the U.S. Navy in 1968 and, after stints out west in such insufferable coastal locations as San Diego and Portland, Tom and Janet made the obvious (and correct) choice to return to “The Island,” where he joined the Rayhill, Miller and Sheehan family practice.

On the Island, Tom and Janet raised four boys: Sean (Kelly), Brendan (Marybeth), Thomas (Elizabeth) and Justin (Nina), who have inherited their Dad’s poor golf game and fervent desire the see the Sabres bring home a Cup (next year is THE YEAR, for sure). His sons fondly called him the “Big Guy,” not because of his physical stature, but rather his capacity to seem larger than life.

Whether “teaching” us to ski by barreling down a slope utterly out of control, jumping in his plane to fly off to a “flying breakfast,” or packing the station wagon for the yearly Pine Lake trip for yet another shot at “the one that got away,” Dad knew the value of time was greater than gold. He dedicated his life to helping those around him, giving his time and talent without question or hesitation.

Papa Tom loved his many grandchildren (Luke, Anna, Molly, Tommy, Meghan, Maeve, Clare, Katy, Evelyn, Patrick, Valerie, Max, Sean, Spencer), with whom he shared walks by the mighty Niagara River, and worked side by side in many “worker jobs” around the yard, always followed by a treat from Grandma Jan.

Dr. Sheehan is now enjoying the great beyond with his beloved Janet, wife of 57 years. He deserves a bit of a rest, and perhaps an Old Fashioned (or two), but no doubt will get back to work, helping and serving and healing, and having fun along the way, as he waits out eternity for the Sabres to win the Cup.

He will remain always a guiding light to his sons.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice Buffalo or the Grand Island Neighbors Foundation. A wake will be held from 4-8 p.m. Friday, June 7, at Kaiser Funeral Home, 1950 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 8, at St. Stephen R.C. Church. All are welcome to share a light meal at St. Stephen’s immediately following the service.

Share condolences at kaiserfuneral.com.

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