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Janet M. (Birkemose) Shea

Janet M. (Birkemose) Shea, 76, of West Groton, Massachusetts, passed away on May 26, 2018, after a brief illness. She was born July 9, 1941 in Somerville, MA, to Henry and Elizabeth (Walton) Birkemose, the third of six children. Later in life, she often bragged that being the third, she kept her father out of the war. 

Janet is survived by her sisters Marie Henriksen, Claire Bennett and her husband, Walter, brother Henry Birkemose and his wife Cindy, and predeceased by her sister Betty Williams and brother Donald Birkemose. 

At the age of 19, Janet married the late Daniel Shea of Somerville, MA, and with him, adopted two children, Daniel (deceased) and Linda. Janet was a proud and devoted mother. She raised her children with the certain knowledge that being adopted meant that they were chosen and special. 

Janet and Dan separated in 1980 and ultimately divorced. Janet later met Gil Dupre of Shirley, Massachusetts, through their volunteer work in Boy Scouts. Her son, Danny, was a member of the West Groton Troop where Gil served as Scoutmaster. Gil remained Janet’s closest companion until his death in 2012. 

Always a hard worker, as a young girl, Janet would shovel sidewalks and do other odd jobs around the neighborhood, and went on to assist her father in his jewelry store. Later, during the early years of her marriage, Janet worked as a secretary at Fort Devens Army Base. While Danny and Linda were small, she was a stay-at-home mom and seamstress. She sewed clothes for herself and her children, and did alterations and made slip clovers to earn extra money. Janet was inspired to become a volunteer EMT when she witnessed Danny nearly drowning in a pool, not wanting to feel that helpless ever again. She was a volunteer EMT for the town of Groton for over 20 years and was a certified CPR instructor. She worked part time as the Treasurer for the West Groton Water District for over 30 years and also worked for the Post Office as Post Master Relief. 

Janet was a lifelong knitter, and made untold numbers of sweaters, Christmas stockings, baby clothes, hats, mittens, scarves, and socks for family and friends. In the early 1990s she realized her dream of opening a knitting store, The Country Village Yarn Shop, which moved around to a few locations until finally settling in West Groton square at the Clover Farm General Store. 

Janet has a large extended family and is survived by many cousins, nieces, and nephews. She will be keenly missed. 

Janet did not want a funeral, but a service will be held in her memory at the Christian Union Church in West Groton on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. The family warmly invites friends and neighbors to attend. The service will be followed by a reception at the church. Arrangements by McGaffigan Family Funeral Home, 37 Main St. Pepperell, MA. Please see www.mcgaffiganfuneral.com

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