Lila Shea

In loving memory of the amazing Lila Shea affectionately known as Nanna, Ms. Lila and, most importantly, Mom. Lila was born Nov. 22, 1931, in Rose Valley, Saskatchewan, to James and Helen Watson and became an angel in heaven on Oct. 5, 2011. Lila had three brothers.


Lila and Gordon, her husband, met in Saskatchewan. Lila and her father then moved to Victoria. Lila's father and Gordon's father worked side by side at Mattocks Farm in Victoria, BC.


Lila was known in her early years as a social butterfly with much love and kindness to all. Gordon's sisters and brother have shared how Lila was like one of the family to them all right from the beginning. In 1962, the family relocated to Tucson, Ariz. Lila worked for the firm responsible for the blueprints for the Pima County fairgrounds. Lila put her heart and soul into her family.


In 1966, Lila and her family moved to Scottsdale, where Gordon accepted a position working for Clays Arabians. Lila supported and helped Gordon as he transitioned to become the manager and horse trainer for prestigious Gainey Arabians' three locations (Scottsdale, California and Minnesota) for eight years, with many national champions to credit and created a breeding operation producing legendary horses, many foals were born under Lila's watch.


She became an icon in the Arabian horse world as the woman behind the man. Lila kept the business on track: keeping the books, entertaining clients, organizing and preparing for horse shows and sales while raising their four children.


Lila was beloved by many for her gracious hospitality, warm smile and patient listening ear. She was full of grace and kindness. The family relocated annually from Minnesota to Arizona, from the late ’70s to early ’80s, when Scottsdale became their permanent home.


Lila touched many hearts and had a very peaceful, kind soul. She always had time for anyone needing an ear or wanting her help. Dearest to her heart was her husband of 56 years, Gordon, and her family. 


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