Dr. Mel Shay

Dr. Mel Shay

Thursday, August 17th, 1939 - Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
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Dr. Mel J. Shay, former Seton Hall University Provost/Executive Vice President, passed away peacefully at his home in Naples, FL. on Oct. 22, 2020. Shay was 81 years old. He was a devoted husband, father, brother, grandfather, and friend to all.

Dr. Shay was born in Melrose, Minnesota on August 18, 1939 to Melvylle and Lydia Shay. He grew up in Melrose with his siblings Audrey, Patricia, Thomas, and Michael. Shay earned a B.S. in English and Social Science from St. Cloud State College in 1961. He returned to St. Cloud to complete a M.S. in Educational Administration. He began his career as a teacher and quickly climbed the ladder becoming a guidance counselor, high school principal, and later the Superintendent of Schools in Carlton, MN. He went on to obtain an Ed.S. certificate in Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin. Subsequently Shay attended Columbia University, where he was conferred with the degree of Doctorate in Educational Administration and Economics of Education in 1980.

After obtaining his Doctorate, Shay began a distinguished career at Seton Hall University where he would remain for over 24 years. Serving the roles as Professor, Director of Doctoral Studies, Dean, Provost, and Executive Vice President; Shay always managed to raise the bar. Shay is the author of numerous scholarly publications and was a sought after lecturer in the field of education. During his tenure as Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, Shay’s leadership led the College into its first national program accreditation in several years. In his four years as Provost, Shay launched a plan to help the University gain greater national recognition for its academic excellence. His bottom line goal was to provide the students with an experience that “enriches the mind, the heart, and the spirit.” He successfully met his goals before his retirement in 2004.

Upon retiring from Seton Hall University, Shay and his wife, Janice, became full time residents of Naples, FL. As the natural born leader he was, Shay once again rose to the occasion and served on the board of directors for the condominiums which he resided at. They spent their retirement on the go, always exploring new places and taking new adventures together. His most memorable vacation was right after retirement, where he and Janice cruised the Adriatic Sea with his cousins on a private boat. They continued to explore the world together, including the Appalachian Trail, Greek Isles, and Italy to name a few. He was proud of his golf handicap for any nine of eighteen holes. Shay was an avid reader, master puzzler, author, cook, fisherman, boater, cruiser, and always looked forward to completing the crossword puzzles in the newspaper.

Shay approached everything he did with enthusiasm and an open mind. He was always helpful and a joy to be around. His positive attitude on the world around him led him to leave the world better than he found it. His positive presence will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife, Janice; his sons, Jeffrey (Hillery), and John (Cathy); stepdaughters Brenda Bowen (Richard) and Karen Morgan (Michael); Erin Wall (Keith), Ginger, Jack, Max, Jenna, Katie, Hayden, Lindsay Vass (Brian), Mandy Morgan, Audrey Apgar (Ian), Ian and Ryan; great-grandson, Lucas Wall; siblings, Patricia Nentl, Thomas (Diane), and Michael (Susan); and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in passing by his parents and his sister, Audrey Toenies.

Due to these unprecedented times, a public service will not be occurring. Should you wish to make a donation in his honor, his family has chosen to support Avow Hospice.

1095 Whippoorwill Lane
Naples, FL 34105

Please keep his wife, Janice, and family in your prayers during this difficult time.
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Maureen Feeney

Posted at 09:12am

Dr Mel Shay was my mentor in the Seton Hall University Ed PhD program and oversaw my Dissertation.
He was a generous brilliant educator and a wonderful mentor.
Condolences to his family.
Maureen Feeney EdD
Estero Florida


Dave Sieben

Posted at 08:00pm
Our condolences to the family of Dr Mel Shay from a couple of old high school classmates Dave & Bernie( Welle) Sieben. We had a lot of fun together back in the day. Rest in Peace Mel.

Clyde Lindberg

Posted at 04:22pm
Hello Janice and family. My name is Clyde Lindberg, was married to Mary Ann (Sue Morrisons sister) my heart felt condolences:(
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Posted at 08:23pm
I’m so sorry for your loss. Praying the God of all comfort helps you at this difficult time. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 & Psalms 83:18). Jesus told us to pray for God’s Kingdom because the Bible promises it will end tears pain and death. (Revelation 21:3-5 & Daniel 2:44).

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