Wilmette, Community

In Memoriam: 22-year-old Loyola Academy alumna — loved for her ‘lightness and joy’ — dies in Colorado ski accident

Services for Eileen Sheahan se for Sunday and Monday, Feb. 4-5

A tragic ski accident last week in Colorado claimed the life of a 22-year-old college student who was an alumna of Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

Eileen Sheahan, of Evanston, died at the scene around noon on Saturday, Jan. 27, after colliding with a tree near Aspen Highlands Ski Resort, according to a statement from the Aspen Skiing Company. The accident occurred on the resort’s exhibition run, which includes a series of ski runs on Loge Peak in Aspen.

Sheahan was in her senior year at the University of Michigan, preparing to graduate in May with a degree in economics, says an obituary written by her family. She attended grade school at St. Joan of Arc in Evanston and high school at Loyola Academy, from which she graduated in 2020.

Sheahan’s life will be celebrated during a visitation from 2-8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 4, at Donnellan Family Funeral Home in Skokie and with a funeral Mass (livestream) beginning at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5, at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 West Adams St., Chicago.

The family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, and because “both schools were near and dear to Eileen’s heart,” supporters make a donation to the Eileen Sheahan Memorial Scholarship at The Academy at St. Joan of Arc or to Loyola Academy.

Eileen Sheahan with her parents Patti and TJ on her Loyola Academy graduation day in 2020.

“Eileen will be eternally loved and missed by all who were lucky enough to know her,” her parents TJ and Patti Sheahan said in a statement. “She will be remembered for being an amazing big sister, best friend and role model. We are immensely proud that Eileen spent a lifetime of giving to others and continues that legacy with the gift of life by being an organ donor.

“We feel blessed to have had 22 beautiful years with our cherished daughter and comforted at this time to feel her presence and love all around us.”

TJ and Patti Sheahan added that their daughter Eileen loved being with the ones she loved, including a large family with three siblings, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

“We will miss seeing Eileen walk into a room, and having the entire room light up,” her aunt Kathy O’Brien Caplice said in an email. “We will miss her amazing smile, and the lightness and joy she brought with her wherever she went. When Eileen talked to you, she really listened. Eileen was a beautiful and accomplished young lady who was looking forward to graduation, had nearly straight A’s, and a job waiting for her when she was finished with school; however she was also humble and self-deprecating, which only made her more endearing.”

Eileen Sheahan (second from right) with her siblings (left to right) Michael, Erin and Margaret.

Memorial posts attached to Sheahan’s tribute page reinforce her family’s words.

Longtime friend and Loyola Academy classmate Katie Schied wrote that she could always count on Sheahan.

“I will never forget the bond we made and all the older sisterly advice she gave me throughout those years (at Loyola),” Schied wrote. “She was truly so kind to everyone who crossed her path. … I will never forget her or her kindness, intelligence, and selflessness.”

After Loyola, Sheahan enrolled at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was as student ambassador and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, according to reporting from Mlive.com.

“She was a shining light and I am so lucky that I got to know someone so special. We won’t be the same without her,” sorority sister Tessa Weinberger wrote on the digital tribute wall.

Sheahan was the daughter of Patricia O’Brien Sheahan, a Cook County judge, and TJ Sheahan, an attorney, and the sister of Erin, Margaret and Michael. According to her obit, “she was idolized by all her cousins who saw her as a sister, including the Hendricks cousins: Michael, Brian (Christine), Eddie (Jess), Molly (Joe Centlivre); Caplice cousins: Nell (Sam Dickie) and Mac; O’Brien cousins: Patrick, Carlin and Shaun; O’Malley cousins: Courtney (Ryan Leonard), Molly, Shea, Ryan, Tara, Brennan, Annie and Meg; Sheahan cousins: Morgan, Lee, Caroline, Tommy, Mick, Elle, Lila, Owen and Paddy. She was the adored niece to: Kathy and Tom Caplice, Mariellen and Mike Hendricks, Jim and Karen O’Brien, Katie and Tom O’Malley, Michael Sheahan, Pam Munizzi, Tim and Debbie Sheahan, Ryan and Anne Sheahan, and Patrick and Renee Sheahan. She was the cherished granddaughter of Mike and Nancy Sheahan, and the late Pat and Debbie O’Brien.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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