Alumnus Used His Estate to Help the School Thrive

shiel family

On the radio, the Eagles were "taking it easy," Watergate was breaking and hitchhiking was how kids got from one place to another when Andy Shiel was a Cathedral High School student in the early 1970s. "I lived at 45th and Washington," he said. "I'd hitch a ride—well, everybody did—every day. It got to where the same couple of guys would pick me up each morning and drop me around 14th and Penn or right at 14th and Meridian."

Once inside, Shiel entered a school that, like the nation, was in transition. "When I started as a freshman, we had almost all brothers (teaching)," Andy recalled. By graduation day in 1974, he said the opposite was true. "There were hardly any left."

Changing times and Cathedral's declining enrollment led to a decision by the Brothers of Holy Cross to leave the School and, ultimately, to turn over leadership to a lay board led by Robert V. Welch. But while some significant changes were coming to the School, Andy said, Cathedral's core values held strong—and remain today. "I talk all the time about the diversity and the quality of the education," Andy said. "Cathedral draws kids from all parts of town—always has. And the caliber of the education—I don't think Cathedral gets enough credit for that."

It was while Andy was still at Cathedral that he went to work for his father's company, buying it outright in 1983. At the time of his death, Andy was the proud father of three Cathedral graduates. He also served as the ShamrAuction co-chair in 2000 and a member of the School's board of directors. He said he never hesitated when doing his estate planning. "There's a great community and family spirit at Cathedral that I don't think has changed. It's all for one and one for all," he said. "Part of my heart is always and will always be with Cathedral. But the important thing is, Cathedral needs the support. People assume we have all the money we need—we don't. That's the reason I wanted to do a planned gift. I wanted to do something significant that will keep the School moving forward; something that will help Cathedral thrive."

Andy's gift leaves an enduring legacy that will live on, even though he is gone. If you are interested in more information, please contact Abbe Ernstes at or (317) 968-7348.