William Alvin Shehan, 81, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, at home at Pawleys Island on Monday, January 11, 2021 after the diagnosis of a brain tumor. He will be remembered as true, honest, fair, hardworking and loving.
Born on July 31, 1939, Bill and his older brother James Carl Shehan and younger sister Mary Jane Shehan grew up in the Janie Hammet Home, an orphanage in Bristol, Virginia. His Appalachian roots were deep and showed in his woodworking, farming and maintenance skills.
Bill served in the US Army, 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg as a paratrooper and sniper between 1956-1962 and often spoke of his assignments and travels in Germany, France and European cities. He was a proud and active veteran.
Following military service he worked over a decade for Dover Elevators in Greensboro, NC and then moved to Pawleys Island in 1973. He was "the Santee Cooper man" for 25 years and was the Area Service Representative for the Waccamaw Neck. He served during Hurricanes David and Hugo, and received a Commendation of Leadership from the SC Power Authority after coordinating out-of-state crews and working overtime before and after Hugo.
Married to Lee Gordon Brockington in 1990, Bill placed high importance on family and community service. An active member of Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church, Bill served on the cemetery committee and supervised the construction of two columbaria and a brick wall. He and Lee were co-directors and Sunday school teachers of the youth group; he was on the service and maintenance committee, ushered, built a children's chapel; and constructed sets, props, and murals for Christmas, VBS, and J.O.Y. School.
Bill was one of the first volunteer firefighters for Midway Fire Department, a homebuilder for Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County, a project assistant for Tara Hall Home for Boys, and a handyman for the Friends of the Waccamaw Library while Lee was president. Bill also responded to needs in the community for handicapped ramps and recently supervised a new roof for a resident of Sandy Island.
Through a successful genealogical search for family in their hometown of Erwin, TN, Bill celebrated his Cherokee heritage and became interested in Native American culture. He was active with a local tribe, the Waccamaw Indian People. As a volunteer at Hobcaw Barony, he educated school groups and program participants on Indians, displaying tools, ceremonial objects, and outfits he created.
Bill's most dedicated volunteer work was with the Boy Scouts of America, both as a Scoutmaster and, at the time of his death, as an Assistant Scoutmaster at BSA Troop 396 at Belin United Methodist Church. He served as a District Commissioner for the Coastal Carolina Council and received the District Award of Merit in 2012. He was an active member of the Order of the Arrow and attended Camp Ho Non Wah for many years. His greatest interest and hardest work was mentoring individual Scouts in skills and leadership, encouraging them to all become Eagle Scouts.
In 1980, Bill began the construction of Blue Whale Farm with the goal of sharing the Pawleys property with family and friends. A house he built himself of local pine was designed on a napkin at Litchfield Restaurant and enlarged over the years. Several outbuildings lent themselves to work and play, and his large vegetable and flower gardens produced gifts for others. The yard always welcomed parties, bonfires, oyster roasts, birthday and retirement celebrations, and wedding ceremonies, rehearsals, and receptions for dear friends. Even during his illness, "yard sits" in the sun or around the fire brought great pleasure to Bill, his family, and friends.
His family includes his wife of 30 years, Lee of Pawleys Island; his sons, William Clay Shehan and wife Victoria O'Byrne of James Island, and Keels Brockington Shehan of Johns Island; and daughters, Mary Jane Shehan and Patricia Lee Shehan; three grandchildren, Sullivan Michael Baldwin, William Kade Shehan, and Corben Gregory Kudasz.
A memorial service will be held at 3pm on Friday, January 22, outdoors at Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church. Covid precautions will be taken.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to preserve Bill Shehan's legacy can be made to:
"Blue Whale Farm Fund"
P.O. Box 783
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
Or digitally at www.gofundme.com/f/blue-whale-farm-fund.
Condolences may be made at www.burroughsfh.com
Burroughs Funeral Home of Murrells Inlet (843.651.1440) is in charge of arrangements
To send flowers to William's family, please visit our floral store.