Obituary for Ruben William Shay
Ruben William Shay of Williamstown, formerly of North Adams, died at home on July 16, 2017. Born in Cologne, Germany on February 24, 1924, he was the son of the late Rudolf Schay and the late Else (Jakob) Schay. He was an Army Veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1972, after having served 30 years. He was awarded two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge and Master Parachute Wings, as well as many other medals and campaign ribbons. During his active service he was a guerilla in the Philippines during WWII and then served in the Japan Occupation Forces, before being honorably discharged in 1947. He attended the University of Michigan, re-enlisting in 1951. Serving at Fort Benning, he attended Infantry Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in 1953, after which he attended the Parachute, Ranger and Pathfinder schools. In 1954 he joined the Special Forces at Fort Bragg, and remained with them the rest of his career. As a First Lieutenant, he commanded a company in Korea. He attended many Army schools, including The Command and General staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, and taught at several Posts and Civilian Institutions. In 1961 he was sent to Laos, and served two more tours in Vietnam, where his last assignment was 19 months with the Special Operations Group.
Shay served almost 40 years in the Boy Scouts of America, going from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout with three Palms.
He was an Honorary as well as a Life Member of the American Legion, where he served as Post Commander of Post 125 in North Adams, and as a District 1 (Berkshire County) Commander. The American Legion Department (State) of Massachusetts awarded him the Outstanding Foreign Born Citizen Plaque and the Conway Trophy for Community Service. He was a member of Post 160 in Adams. He was also a life member of MOAA, NAUS, USAOCSAA, VFW, DAV, AMVETS, VVA and other Veterans’ organizations.
He served in the past on the Board of La Festa, and the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army in North Adams, and was a member of Mass Moca, the Clark Art Institute, and the North Adams, Library.
He leaves his second wife and partner, Joan Simpson Burns, (Burns-Shay) with whom he made his home for many years. His first wife, Barbara (Burlingame-Loeffler)Shay, whom he married February 2, 1952 at Fort Benning, pre deceased him on October 20, 2002. His daughter, Deborah Ruth Shay, pre deceased him on March 5, 2014. He leaves three sons, Michael R. Shay and his wife Helen of Rochester, VT., David M. Gray and his wife Dayle of Freeland WA and Bruce P. Shay and his wife Nancy of Pomfret Center, CT; plus seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. He also leaves his step-children: Trienah Meyers Gorman of Daytona Beach, Fl. and Peter Alexander Meyers of Princeton, New Jersey.
FUNERAL NOTICE: Ruben will be buried next to his second wife in Eastlawn Cemetery, Williamstown, MA. on July 19, 2017 at 2:00 PM. Veterans Burial Honors will be performed by members of the American Legion Post 160 of Adams, MA. Donations may be made to the North Adams Public Library through the Flynn & Dagnoli Funeral Home 74 Marshall St. North Adams, MA 01247. To add to the book of memories please visit www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com