Resident Spotlights

Doubly blessed EagleCrest twins reflect on faith and family



John and Jim Shea were raised on a family farm with cows and chickens in Alexandria, Minn. Born two hours apart, they are two of five children in a large Catholic family. Named after two saints, St. James and St. John, their faith is what they live by to this day.

The Shea household was filled with noise and love. The brothers enjoyed having lots of siblings. Their two older sisters acted as second mothers to them, constantly showing them off to neighbors.

“When somebody would come on the farm, they’d each grab a twin – whether we had dirty diapers or not – to show off the twins. They were so proud of us,” Jim and John said.

The brothers were constantly together growing up.

“And now we’re still together at 92 years old,” John said.

When their father passed away at age 57, their mother was left with five teenagers in her care. John and Jim were only 14 years old at the time and had to grow up fast. They made many sacrifices to take care of the family.

“Family has been very important in our life,” John said.

Both brothers served in World War II. Once Jim finished his military service, he moved to the Twin Cities to be closer to Mom.

“I made many trips back up to Alexandria to take care of her,” he said.

Jim visited every other weekend. He’d buy her a hat. Brand new gloves. Take her out to dinner.

Once John began searching for a senior living community to call home, he worked with his daughter and found EagleCrest, a Presbyterian Homes & Services community in Roseville, Minn.

A year later, Jim decided to move to EagleCrest “because he was here,” he said with a nod toward his brother.

The two live in separate apartments but see each other every day. They both enjoy the food, the entertainment, Bingo nights, movies and walking paths surrounding the community. They exercise regularly, whether walking outside or participating in a class offered by the life enrichment team.

“I got good things to say for this place,” Jim said. “I really love it here.”

And they are quite the social butterflies. As the more extroverted twin, John enjoys greeting his fellow neighbors. When a new resident arrives, he makes it a point to introduce himself. It’s just how he was raised.

“If somebody is struggling, help them out,” he said.

John has also introduced Jim to many of his friends and fellow residents. Jim made quick friends thanks to his twin brother. Along with having each other, the Shea twins connect with their family on a regular basis. Their nieces and nephews will take them out to eat or to an appointment, as they no longer drive.

Their family takes good care of them, just like they cared for their mother. They are grateful to have one other, too.

“We’re so blessed, and I mean that – blessed,” John said.

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