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Honoring a pillar of the community

Jon Shay in his office at the old Shay Services Inc. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

By Jasmine Willis

DANSVILLE — Jon Shay was the man you could count on to be at every event, fundraiser, organization, and club in this community. Jon was everywhere at once if it meant making his community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

If he took an interest in you, that made you feel special. If Jon Shay believed you could achieve true greatness in this town, you could.

I always felt like I knew Jon. He was everywhere. Anytime I had to cover something at Noyes Hospital he was always there to support the cause. Anytime I had a fundraiser or benefit I had to attend for someone or something he was always there to see it through. Anytime I had to cover an event that was important to the community he was there to give his ideas and gratitude. Jon was always there.

It came as no surprise when I got the message, he would be added to the Dansville Wall of Pride last year. If anyone deserved that honor in this community it was Jon Shay.

If you know Jon, you know he wouldn’t agree with us. Jon was a very humble man. He didn’t like being the center of the story. He didn’t like getting his photo taken. He didn’t like being in the spotlight. But he was always there for us.

Jon Shay, 78, passed away on Monday, Jan. 18 at Noyes Memorial Hospital. He was a husband, father, grandfather, brother, humanitarian, businessman, friend, and the heart of Dansville.

Jon Shay with the Dansville Rotary Club in 2019. PHOTOS BY JASMINE WILLIS

Jon graduated from Dansville High School in 1960. He took on the family-business that he loved and found his passion in the community he grew up in. Shay’s Service Inc. remained in his ownership until 2012. Jon was a big part of creating the new family businesses Main Tire Exchange Inc., HASCO Realty, and Dansville Mini-Storage Inc. Jon gave back to his community all of the time through Noyes Memorial Hospital, Tri-County Family Medicine, Noyes Health Foundation, Dansville Area Chamber of Commerce, Dansville Rotary Club, and so much more.

Jon was a pillar of the community, leader, compassionate, and supportive of everyone he believed could make a difference in the world around them.

We were all better people for knowing a man like Jon Shay. We could all strive to be more like him. I would be asked to cover stories on the Thanksgiving Dinners and Community Clean-Up as I sat in his office overlooking the Shay Family Legacy. I often wondered what he saw up there. Why it was so important for him to keep his office overlooking his legacy. It was how he saw the community. A place to love and protect. A place to see growth and nourishment. He believed in Dansville. He believed in all of you. This community has lost a champion of the people. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. In our hearts he will always be there.

He is survived by his wife, Linda, three daughters Kelly (John) Hoag, Kristine Shay, and Nicole (Brent) Richardson. He has several grandchildren and sisters, nieces and nephews. They carry on his role of community leadership and compassion.

Friends may call Thursday from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Foursquare Church in Dansville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be private for the family. Interment will be in Greenmount Cemetery, Dansville. Online memorials may be at

Arrangements are by the Hindle Funeral Home, Inc., 271 Main St. Dansville The family request the courtesy of no flowers. Please make memorials donations to the Noyes Foundation, 111 Clara Barton St., or the Dansville Rotary Club, PO Box 636, both of Dansville, NY 14437.

Mandatory social distancing, facial covering, and no physical contact policies will be in effect at Foursquare Church. Please be mindful that visitors are limited to 60 people in the building at a time and be respectful to those who will be waiting outdoors by keeping your stay as brief as possible.

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