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Man dies indulging love of outdoors

Shane Thomas Hallahan, 48, was found in Lake Pocono. He had a history of heart problems.

Published April 14, 2005

INVERNESS - When Shane Thomas Hallahan landed a management job at the newly built Lowe's store, he packed his fishing equipment, tennis racket and boat and told his family he had found a place that perfectly suited him.

It was a peach-colored house on waterfront property, complete with a dock. It was ideal for a sportsman who loved boating and kicking back in his yard, watching fish jump among the lily pads on Lake Pocono, which is off Gospel Island Road. For six months, Hallahan had a front-row seat for the lake's natural beauty.

Hallahan, a 48-year-old father of three, took his canoe out on the lake Monday night. The trip was his last.

A neighbor heard a cry for help about 7 p.m. and called 911. When deputies arrived, they found a canoe partly submerged in the lake. A few life jackets floated nearby. They looked for Hallahan but couldn't find him, sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney said. They stopped the search after dark.

At daybreak Tuesday, the sheriff's dive team and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers returned to the lake. They found Hallahan's body just after 9:30 a.m., about 25 yards from the dock in water 14 feet to 16 feet deep. He was not wearing a life jacket.

By that time, several of Hallahan's brothers and sisters had flown in from Louisville, Ky., and his ex-wife and children were preparing for bad news.

An autopsy is scheduled. Hallahan had a history of heart trouble, according to FWC officer Chris Jones.

Hallahan's family gathered around a patio table in his back yard Tuesday afternoon, making arrangements for a memorial service in Inverness so his co-workers and friends could say goodbye. The funeral will be in Louisville, his hometown.

Although the shock of his death was just beginning to hit family members, they remembered Hallahan with laughter and kidded each other about the pranks and jokes he played on them over the years.

He was the baby of the family, the youngest of 10 children. The rest of his siblings stayed close to home, but Hallahan moved to Georgia and then to Ocala to work for Lowe's. He was a high-ranked amateur tennis player in Florida.

"He was a very gentle man," said Patsy Ashley, one of his sisters.

He was "a heck of a jokester," said Sharon Schlatter, another sister.

In photographs he is smiling and tan, often posing with his children: Sean, 18; MacKenzie, 16; and Mary Catherine, 12.

Mary Catherine grinned at the thought of her father. The two of them spent weekends hunting for bargains at yard sales in Inverness. Just recently at a yard sale, they found the perfect joke to play on her older sister, she said.

It was a white and blue dress. The dress was out of style and silly and much too big for her sister. But her father bought it and a pair of dark blue heels, all for less than $5. They planned to lay the outfit on MacKenzie's bed, pretending they'd paid a lot of money for the clothes.

She giggled as she told the story. It was just like her dad.

--Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 860-7312 or

[Last modified April 14, 2005, 01:14:09]

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