SHREWSBURY - Irving Thomas Shanley, 89, of Shrewsbury, formerly of
Northborough, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and D-Day Veteran,
passed away on Monday, December 3, 2012, surrounded by his loving
family. He was the loving husband of Florence Louise (Crespi) Shanley,
with whom he celebrated sixty-four years of marriage in September. Born
in Providence, Rhode Island, he was the son of the late Henry Charles
Shanley and the late Lena Frances (Murphy) Shanley.
He will be greatly missed by a son, Thomas Victor Shanley
and his wife Marianne of Uxbridge; four daughters, Joan Frances Shanley
of Grafton, Mary Christine Dragon and her husband Jeffrey of
Northborough, Patricia Louise Dreifus and her husband Peter of
Shrewsbury and Pamela Marie Shanley of Shrewsbury; four grandchildren,
Samantha Marion Dreifus, Mikaela Mary Shanley, Matthew Shanley Dragon,
and Macoy Thomas Shanley; a sister, Jeanette M. Andrews of Florida; many
nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two brothers and three
sisters, Raymond James Shanley, John Joseph Shanley, Anne Louise
Lovelace, Pauline Frances Fallon and Olive Marie Donato.
Colonel Shanley graduated from Hope High School in
Providence in 1940 and in 1942, he volunteered for the 508th Parachute
Infantry Regiment, being formed at Camp Blanding, Florida. He served
with this distinguished Regiment for four years, participating in the
parachute invasions of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 and Nijmegen,
Holland on September 7, 1944. He also served with this Regiment during
the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium, during the winter of 1944-45.
During these combat operations in Europe, the Regiment
was part of the elite 82nd Airborne Division, commanded by General
Matthew Ridgeway and General James "Slim Jim" Gavin. The Regiment was
awarded the US Distinguished Unit Citation, the French Fourragére, the
Dutch Militaire Willems Orde, Degree of Knight 4th Class and the Belgian
Fourragére. When the war ended in Europe in May 1945, the Regiment was
selected to serve as Honor Guard for General Dwight D. Eisenhower at
In 1951, he received a direct commission as a 2nd
Lieutenant, while serving as a Master Sergeant with the 82nd Airborne
Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During ten years of airborne
service he completed 66 parachute jumps, including the two combat jumps.
Colonel Shanley also served as a Platoon Leader with the 17th Infantry
Regiment, 7th Infantry division in Korea in 1952, and as a staff officer
with Headquarters, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam 1967-68 during
the Tet Offensive. As a Captain at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in 1958
he accepted a Regular Army Commission and was transferred from the
Infantry to the Adjutant General Corps. He retired from the Army in 1969
after more than 26 ˝ years active service. Colonel Shanley served with
the Infantry for 14 years and with the Adjutant General Corps for 12 ˝
Colonel Shanley's awards and decorations include the
Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, Purple
Heart, Commendation Medal, the French Legion of Honor, the French Croix
de Guerre avec Etoile, the Combat Infantry Badge with Star, the Master
Parachutist Badge, and service medals with nine bronze stars for service
in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Colonel Shanley was a life member of the American
Legion Vincent F. Picard Post 234 in Northborough, Veterans of Foreign
Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Korean War Veterans, Battle of the
Bulge Association, Military Officers Association of America, The Order
of the Purple Heart and the 82nd Airborne Division Association LTG James
M. Gavin Chapter. He was also a member of the 508th Parachute Infantry
Regiment Association, the Irish Ancestral Research Association, the
Rhode Island Historical Society and the Fox Point Boys Club Alumni
Association in Providence, where he was inducted into the Club's Hall of
Fame in 1986, and was Legionnaire of the Year for 2004 at the Vincent F.
Picard Post 234.
Before moving to Northborough in 1994 and becoming a
Parishioner of Saint Rose of Lima Parish, Colonel Shanley resided in
Framingham, where he was a parishioner of Saint Anselm Parish in
Sudbury, where he served as an usher and greeter for 24 years. He also
served on several church committees during this time.
Calling hours for Colonel Shanley will be held on
Thursday, December 6, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. in MERCADANTE FUNERAL
HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation Street, Worcester. His Funeral will be
held from the funeral home on Friday, December 7, departing in
procession at 9:30 a.m. for a Funeral Mass to be celebrated at 10 a.m.
in Saint Rose of Lima Parish, 244 West Main Street, Northborough.
Interment with Military Funeral Honors will follow in Saint John's
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be
made to the Saint Rose of Lima Building Fund, 244 West Main Street,
Northborough, MA or Mass Veterans Inc., 69 Grove Street, Worcester, MA
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from December 3
to December 5, 2012
Condolences can be
sent to his wife, Florence Shanley; 30 Julio Drive, Apt. 460;
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
(courtesy of Joan Shanley)
Grave markers for Irving T. Shanley in Saint Johns
Cemetery Worcester (Worcester county), Massachusetts.
Irv and Florence designed the stone a few years ago. Irv
wanted the Celtic cross and also the Shanley family motto of "Pro Deo Et
Patria" - which translates "For God and Country." On the left side of
the stone are 5 flowers representing their 5 children. On the right side
of the stone are 4 flowers representing the 4 grandchildren.