Devout Catholic, genius mechanic and builder, creative problem-solver, magnificent singer, RV-enthusiast, incredibly supportive and patient parent, world traveler, generous human, gifted story-teller, lover of Spaghetti Westerns, all-day breakfast, and coffee. He was also a friend, ex-husband, brother, son, Father, and Grandfather.
These are only some of the descriptors for Roy Delmer Sheehan, but the words do not encompass his depth, his breadth, or his vigor.
Roy grew up on a farm with 13 other siblings and developed a charming, down-to-earth personality. He was drafted into the Army and spent two tours in Vietnam, where he met and later married a Vietnamese woman, with whom he had three children. He also raised two other Vietnamese children as his own.
Those children inherited his quirky sense of humor, a non-conventional and creative spirit, and an appreciation for distinctive beauty, diverse tastes, and bold, truthful living with a healthy dose of fun thrown in.
Roy had a love of singing, playing, and listening to music. He met both Johnny Cash and Crystal Gayle, musicians he greatly admired. Over the years, he created clever, lyrical nicknames for his children (and grandchildren), many which are still used today.
As an educator for mentally challenged adults, Roy was praised and awarded for his novel programs that expanded and challenged societies’ understanding of his student’s abilities and skillsets.
To say that Roy would give you the shirt off his back, is an understatement in generosity and selflessness. He valued love over hate, honesty over lies, compassion over cruelty, humility over boastfulness, and patience over intolerance. Greed was not in his nature.
The Catholic Church, his Catholic faith, and his unbreakable and unwavering bond with God, was an anchor for Roy throughout his life. His ability to remain hopeful, through prayer, was deeply interwoven into his being, despite all of life’s burdens and tragic circumstances, and he was buoyed by his firm belief in the goodness and steadfast love from God. Church and social media brought him many friends from near and far that shared his faith and admired his gifted communication and writings. He attended daily Mass, even while sick. His prayers and hopefulness are still powerful, moving, and inspirational.
Roy repeatedly overcame hardships that most could simply not endure. He was an arduous fighter, but succumbed to cancer in his 69th year. May his strength, compassion, wisdom, and faith live on in those he loved and those who love him. There is no doubt that he is looking upon us all with a twinkle in his eye.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Delmer and Muriel, his brothers, James and Dale, his sister, Jacqueline, and his daughter, Ngoc Be. He is survived by his children, Hai, Maria (Christopher Schwinn), Bonnie (Robert Otto), and Amy (Nick Benson), along with seven grandchildren. Roy is also survived by brothers and sisters and an ex-wife, Ngoc Quy.
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