Sheila June Seaman


Sheila Seaman passed away at home in Leverett, Mass., on Saturday, July 27, 2019, after a long heroic battle with cancer. She was a very beloved daughter, sister, aunt, wife, and friend.

Sheila was a volcanologist who did research in Iceland, Maine, Arizona, New Mexico, and Canada.
She was an avid runner, gardener, protector of land, plants, and animals, and a serious Bruce Springsteen fan.

Sheila was born in Lewisburg, Pa., a daughter of Terry and June Seaman.
She graduated from Lewisburg Area High School in 1975 and from Bryn Mawr College in 1979. Sheila earned an M.S. from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in geology.
She was a faculty member at Colgate University for five years and a professor at the University of Massachusetts for 26 years. Sheila was lauded as an enthusiastic teacher of mineralogy and petrology, as an entertaining story-teller, and as a compassionate adviser. She was a great public speaker; her talks were crowded with colleagues and students. Sheila was well known for her work on the geology of coastal Maine, and she was just beginning to use her Infrared Spectrometer to study water in the newly released lunar samples. She published numerous papers about volcanoes and the evolution of continental crust, the latest of which was submitted from her hospital bed in New York City.
Sheila was a passionate gardener who worked to provide natural habitat and colorful flowers, the larger and wilder the better, for all creatures in her yard. She loved all living things from the smallest of insects to the largest backyard bear, but she particularly loved her pet farm pigs, Herb and Gladys, and her many rescued cats. She helped to start the Homeless Cat Project of western Massachusetts and in her free time trapped hundreds of feral cats for spay/neuter and resettlement. Sheila was a Board Member of the Rattlesnake Gutter Trust for more than 20 years, and was involved with the preservation of many parcels of land including her beloved East Leverett Meadow. Sheila was a disciplined athlete, having ran fifteen marathons and many half marathons. Although competitive by nature, she lost several minutes on her Bay State Marathon time because she had to rescue stranded worms on the marathon route.
Sheila is predeceased by her parents, June and Terry Seaman.
She is greatly missed by her husband of 37 years, Michael Williams, her sister and brother-in-law, Stacy and Pete Doorn of Cary, North Carolina, and her nephews, Thomas Doorn of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Christopher Doorn, of Laramie, Wyoming. Sheila is well known to all for her bright, compassionate, loving, and always forgiving nature; her great warmth and keen sense of humor will be sorely missed. Sheila loved life and left it far too early.
A celebration of life for Sheila will be held in the Old Chapel on the campus of the University of Massachusetts on Sunday, Oct. 6, beginning at 1 p.m. Additional information on the Celebration can be found on the UMass Geosciences Facebook page.
In memory of Sheila, please make donations to your favorite animal shelter or environmental charity, or to one of her favorites: the Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah.
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Published on August 21, 2019
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5 posts

Lisa Sauers Moffitt
Aug 23, 2019
Stacy, I am sorry for your loss. Melinda and I had so much fun with Sheila and you, at your house, and out at our farm. She really made a difference i her life.
Robin Ryder
Aug 22, 2019
A memorial tree was planted in memory of Sheila June Seaman.  Plant a tree
Robin Ryder
Aug 22, 2019
Iam so sorry to hear this, Sheila was a wonderful person and loved by many, Hugs Stacy and family, love you guys
Stacy Doorn
Aug 22, 2019
Sheila was (and is) my wonderful sister and best friend. Her awesome achievements and her incredibly selfless nature have been and always will be great inspiration for me. We lost a brilliant star.
Stacy Doorn
Aug 22, 2019
A memorial tree was planted in memory of Sheila June Seaman.  Plant a tree