Obituary: Joseph F. Shay, Sr., 87

Joseph F. Shay, Sr., 87, longtime resident of Framingham, Southborough and Hyannis Port, died peacefully at home on October 20, 2018. He was the beloved husband of Mary C. “Connie” (Hanna) Shay with whom he shared 60 years of marriage. Born in Gardner, he was the son of the late Frank H. “Cy” Shay and Doris (Barry) Shay.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children: Timothy D. Shay and his wife Jennifer of Northborough, James P. Shay and his wife Monica of Southborough, Shannon Shay Hayden and her husband Andrew J. Hayden of West Newton and Joseph F. Shay, Jr. of Southborough. He was the father of the late Michael J. Shay who died in 2005. He also leaves many nieces and nephews and his grandchildren: Samantha, Erica, Patrick, Carly, Timothy, Shay, Hunter, Andrew, Tiger, India, Francesca, Sophia, Joseph and Joseph, III; and a sister: Mary T. Shay of Framingham. 

Joe grew up in Framingham and attended Framingham schools where he forged friendships that lasted a lifetime. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Boston College and became a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Joe’s work ethic and business acumen were beyond reproach. His strong business instincts and sharp intellect helped to bring him and his partners great success. Joe was a managing partner of the House of Bianchi of Boston, a premiere bridal gown and bridesmaid design and manufacturing company that grew to be an industry leader for over 50 years. He served on the Board of Directors of the Framingham Cooperative Bank, later Mutual One Bank, for over 30 years. With friends Frank and Louise Crowley and later with their son Andy, Joe helped take Ken’s Salad Dressing from a modest local business to a nationally recognized sauce and salad dressing concern with four factories and over 1500 employees nationwide. Frank, Louise, Andy and Joe had a shared vision and were business partners and friends in the truest sense. He was pleased that his in-laws, Ken and Florence Hanna, lived to see some of the early success of the business they started. Joe was interested in every person who worked with him, whether you were in the front office or driving a forklift, he knew most everyone’s story and cherished his time with all of his fellow workers. 

As important as work was to him, there was no one more important than his wife and best friend, Connie. They shared 60 years of marriage and were inseparable from the start. Joe took enormous pleasure in sharing a great life with Connie. Together, they raised five kids and were so pleased and excited to welcome each of their 14 grandchildren. He was known to his grandchildren as Grandpa Joe. He loved to hear about all their pursuits and successes. He would often send notes and newspaper stories he thought would be of interest to them. Connie and Joe had an extraordinary and exemplary relationship.

Joe was a veteran of service with the US Army during the Korean Conflict before his honorable discharge in 1954 with commendations and the rank of Sergeant. He was also a member of the Holy Order of the Knights of Malta. Joe was a Boston sports fan throughout his life and was fortunate to see many of the legendary moments of Boston sports history in person. He and Connie were members of St. Matthew Parish in Southborough, they traveled the world together and with many friends. Joe was a great tipper and, like his father, loved to tell a great story. His exceptional generosity was his way of showing how he cared and how he loved to share his success with others. Joe and Connie hosted their children and grandchildren on countless trips and he cherished the families’ summers together in Hyannis Port. Joe loved his sister Mary, to whom he was very devoted. Joe will be truly missed by all.

Visiting hours are Friday Oct. 26 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Boyle Bros. Funeral Home, 173 Union Ave., Framingham. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday Oct. 27 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Bridget’s Church, 830 Worcester Rd., (Rte. 9 Eastbound) Framingham Centre. Private burial will follow in St. Stephen’s Cemetery, Fenwick St., Framingham. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts be made to either: The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, 555 Long Wharf Drive, New Haven, CT. 06511 or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105. For memorial page, please visit:

(Obituary and photo via Boyle Bros Funeral Home)

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