Cover photo for Elizabeth McGarvey Shea's Obituary
Elizabeth McGarvey Shea Profile Photo
1935 Betty 2023

Elizabeth McGarvey Shea

July 7, 1935 — November 26, 2023


Elizabeth McGarvey Shea, 88, passed away suddenly on November 26th, 2023 at Chestnut Hill Hospital.  She was born on July 7th, 1935, to Dorothy and Samuel McGarvey in Philadelphia, PA.

Elizabeth Shea (Betty) led a fulfilling life, leaving a lasting impact on those who were fortunate enough to know her.  She was known for her love of San Francisco and Bodega Bay, wine tasting, traveling the world and a love for her nieces, nephews, and the many friends she touched throughout her life.

Betty grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and graduated from Germantown High School.  She then went on to work as an Administrative Assistant in Sales, at Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company for most of her career, joining her father and sister Eileen as career-long Fidelity employees.   She continually advanced and eventually moved to San Francisco, California to establish a new Fidelity office.  There she would marry her husband, Thomas Shea, and spend over 30 years living in Bodega Bay in Sonoma County, CA where they enjoyed the beach, boating, wine tasting and traveling.  They welcomed and enjoyed family visits often, showing off the beautiful Northern California coast and their extensive wine cellar. After Tom’s death, Betty moved back to the Philadelphia area to be close to her family and friends.  She was a staple at virtually every family event including weddings, Christmas, and Thanksgiving – including the most recent one. She was always ready to help her family and friends with whatever was needed to ease their lives, especially her sister Eileen and her closest friend Anne Stanley.

Betty (or Beppy as her family called her) will be remembered for her generosity, dedication to her family and life-long friends, and her stories of traveling the world.  She touched the lives of many in her long, productive life, leaving behind a legacy of fond and loving memories.

Surviving family and friends of Elizabeth Shea mourn her loss. She is survived by her sister, Eileen Avis, niece, Laura Jeffers (Jim), nephew, John Avis (Karen), Nephew-in-law, Guy Castranova and many nieces and nephews who loved her and who she deeply loved.   She is predeceased by her husband, Thomas Shea, her beloved niece, Eileen Castranova, her brother Samuel McGarvey and her parents, Samuel and Dorothy McGarvey.

A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held in the near future.

“Those we love don't go away,

They walk beside us every day, unseen, unheard, but always near,

Still loved, still missed and very dear.”, An Irish Toast

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elizabeth McGarvey Shea, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 27, 2024

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Jacob F. Ruth Funeral Directors

8413 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118

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