Alfred State is remembering the life of longtime supporter and friend of the college Jon Shay, a well-known area humanitarian and businessman, who passed away early Monday afternoon Jan. 18, 2021, at Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville.
Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan said, “Alfred State is deeply saddened by the loss of Jon Shay, who has long been a strong supporter of our college. Just last year, thanks to his generosity, we were able to open The Shay Family Athletic Hall of Fame, which will serve as a permanent tribute to both Pioneer Excellence and the Shay family. In Jon’s honor, we are lowering the college flag at half-staff for the rest of the week. Those of us here at Alfred State are saddened by Jon’s passing and we extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to his friends and loved ones.”
Throughout his life, Shay was a strong supporter of commerce and community in Livingston and Allegany counties. He was a member of the Alfred State President's Society and the Alfred State Development Fund Board, Inc., a 501(c)(3) fundraising corporation. His contribution to Alfred State’s Major Gifts Campaign resulted in The Shay Family Athletic Hall of Fame, which is located in the Orvis Activities Center and is the new home for the 88 individuals and 10 teams that have been honored in the past.
After graduating from Dansville High School in 1960, Shay quickly became involved in the family trucking business - Shay's Service, Inc. He remained in an ownership role of Shay's Service and other family corporations until 2012.
During these 50-plus years, Shay oversaw the growth of existing family businesses with his brother Tim, and father, Harold. He was an integral part of the creation and expansion of new family businesses: Main Tire Exchange, Inc., HASCO Realty, and Dansville Mini-Storage, Inc. He was also a president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.
Shay and his wife, Linda, were married in 1963 and had three daughters, Kelly (ASC '85), Kristine (ASC admissions counselor 1990-99), and Nicole. During his life, he demonstrated enormous generosity in giving back to his community, having been a member and president of the Noyes Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, a member and president of the Tri-County Family Medicine Board of Directors, a chair of Noyes Health Foundation, a member and president of the Dansville Chamber of Commerce, and a 40-plus-year member and multiple term president of the Dansville Rotary Club.
Throughout his life, Shay was repeatedly recognized by his peers for his outstanding service to others and earned many awards and honors, including the Dansville Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year (1982); being named the first recipient of the George Tabor Community Service Award by the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce; being named the Tire Dealer Magazine (a national publication) Humanitarian Award Recipient (2006), given for charitable and civic community contributions; and his 2020 enshrinement on the Foundation for Dansville Education Wall of Pride, one of the Dansville community’s highest honors.