Next week, the Forest Park Kiwanis Club will spotlight an individual who has worked to impact the quality of life for youth, locally. It will do so with an award at a formal dinner it has held every year for the last three years.
And the honor was named after a man who many in town say would be a shoe-in for this year’s honor: Ed O’Shea.
Edward O’Shea was an active member for over 50 years, and a one-time president of the Kiwanis Club, before his death in 2009.
“That was a very courageous guy, a very honest man,” said Carl Shwebl, a fellow member of Kiwanis and Ed’s longtime friend. “You could do business with Ed in a handshake.”
In addition to serving 42 years as Forest Park’s village attorney, and running his own practice, O’Shea was also a community leader, churchgoer and a father of seven. What’s more, he was a member of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce, Trinity High School Father’s Club, West Suburban Bar Association, and the St. Luke’s Catholic Church men’s club.
“He had a lot of influence in the area, and was just one good man,” Shwebl said. “He was an all-around model citizen.”
“Somehow, my father always found time for everything and everybody,” said Ed’s daughter, Sharon O’Shea, who practiced law with her dad, at his Forest Park firm, O’Shea & O’Shea.
When Ed O’Shea retired as village attorney in 1997, Sharon took over for a brief period. She currently serves as prosecuting attorney for the village and runs O’Shea & O’Shea.
Mayor Anthony Calderone has been a member of the Kiwanis Club for some 30 years. That being said, he got to know Ed and the O’Shea family well before Ed’s time as the village attorney, and Sharon’s current role as village prosecutor.
Calderone called O’Shea “a consummate gentleman.”
“The village was always in the front of his mind,” Calderone said.
And Sharon is much like her dad in that senses. While working a full schedule, Sharon finds the time to offer her services pro bono to those who need it.
“My dad had always instilled in us to do our share for people who can’t afford to pay their legal services,” Sharon said. “It was more about what could they pay than what did they owe him. His thing was: ‘Make enough to keep your doors open, pay your bills, and help out those who are less fortunate.'”
Ed’s work ethic, family values and dedication to community service set an example for his children, those close to him say. And several of his kids went on to serve their own communities in a variety of fashions.
Ed’s daughter, Maureen, has a family and heads the stroke clinic at University of Illinois Medical Center, in Chicago. And another daughter, Patricia, works as an administrative assistant to the superintendent of schools in Bradford, Va.
The third annual Ed O’Shea Service award will go to Forest Parker Denny Moran, during the Dec. 13 dinner. Like O’Shea, Moran is deeply involved in the community and has helped Forest Park youth for many years, the club noted in a letter.
The annual presentation of the Edward O’Shea Service to Youth Award commemorates not only the continuing necessity for compassion and service in the Forest Park community today, but also O’Shea’s lifelong dedication to the youth of the village, those involved said.
“His influence will be here forever,” said Shwebl. “No question about it.”
Nick Moroni contributed to this article