Cover photo for Mary Shay's Obituary
1935 Mary 2021

Mary Shay

August 30, 1935 — March 19, 2021

Mary Ann Shay (Brennan) passed away peacefully on Friday, March 19, 2021, at the age of 85. A native of Akron, Ohio, she is survived by her two children, Maureen Shay of Menlo Park, CA, and Joe (Allison) Shay of Charleston, SC, as well as her brother Edward Brennan (Cece) and sister-in law Kathleen Shay. The brightest lights of her life were her grandchildren Natalie, Brian and Brooke, who brought her endless joy, fulfillment and pride. She was also blessed to have many nieces, nephews and friends in her life, and was especially close to her nieces Kathy Brennan and Jennifer Parker as well as nephew David Dunbar. Mary also leaves behind two friends of almost 70 years, Joan Ontko and Sister Catherine Cassidy HM, as well as her beloved dog Chico.

She is preceded in death by her husband Larry, as well as siblings: Patricia Lynch, Bart Brennan, Father Robert Brennan, Daniel Brennan, Eileen Duffy, Jean Murray and Richard Brennan.

Mary lived a full and diverse life. She initially pursued her calling as a Catholic nun, serving God for 16 years while working as an elementary school teacher in Northeast, OH and Atlanta, GA. She left the convent and later married Larry Shay in 1972, had two children and continued to enjoy working part-time as a teacher in Akron, OH. She truly enjoyed being a mom, grandmother (sito), sister, aunt and friend to many people throughout her life.

Mary will most be remembered for her great love for all people, having never met a stranger in her entire life. She possessed a quick and often ornery wit, had a constant mischievous twinkle in her eye and rarely encountered a rule or boundary that she wasn't willing to break. She also never let a holiday pass without decorating her home and decking herself (and Chico) out in festive outfits, with Christmas and St. Patrick's Day being her favorite holidays. Ever devoted to her Irish heritage, Mary was the embodiment of a true Irish soul. It is only fitting that she was able to enjoy and celebrate St. Patrick's Day only days before her passing. We have no doubt she is raising a bit of hell in Heaven while continuing to watch over those that she left behind.

A very special thanks to her niece Kathy Brennan for taking such amazing care of her over the last 7 months as well as her nephew Terry Brennan for providing her with amazing meals, which she enjoyed immensely. Both Kathy and Terry ensured the end of her life was full of love, laughter and companionship. When Mary was no longer able to take care of her dog Chico, her sister-in-law Kathy Shay took him in, providing him with a loving and secure home as well as ensuring he saw his mom at least once a week.

In consideration of the current times, there will not be calling hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 11 AM at St. Francis de Sales, 4019 Manchester Rd., Akron. Remote viewing access will be provided or

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Serenity Hospice, 4491 Darrow Rd STE1, Stow, OH 44224 or St. Francis de Sales Church, 4019 Manchester Rd., Akron, OH 44319.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Shay, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, March 25, 2021

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church


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