Jack Schaughnessy, Sr: Rest in Peace

Jack Schaughnessy, Sr. died last week. He was a great man and major supporter of the Catholic Church and Catholic causesShaughnessy in Boston. Here are excerpts from notices in the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, and Cardinal Sean’s blog:

From the Boston Herald:

John J. “Jack” Shaughnessy Sr. of Milton, a retired construction business owner and benefactor, died Wednesday in Hingham after a brief illness. He was 86.

He graduated from Boston College High School in 1944 and studied at Williams College and Tufts University.

Mr. Shaughnessy considered becoming a Catholic priest before enlisting in the Navy after high school. He was a member of the Naval Aviation program. After the war, he joined his brother, Al, in the family business and eventually created the largest and most successful crane, rigging and aerial-lift company in New England and one of the largest construction support companies on the East Coast.

Mr. Shaughnessy was a well-known Catholic philanthropist whose generosity helped to support programs and initiatives at organizations ranging from the Archdiocese of Boston to Boston College High School. He sought to emulate “the Cheerful Giver” as described in Corinthians. Some of his favorite charities included the Laboure Center in South Boston, which was named in his and his wife’s honor in 2002, My Brother’s Keeper, St. John’s and Blessed John XXIII seminaries, Oblates of the Virgin Mary, Ron Burton Training Village and the Rodman Ride for Kids.

Mr. Shaughnessy also served on many charitable and business-related boards, including Catholic Charities of Boston, Caritas Carney Hospital in Dorchester and New England Teamsters Health and Welfare Funds, among many others. He was a former trustee and benefactor of Boston College High School

From the Boston Globe:

Jack Shaughnessy Sr. concluded his keynote address at the Boston Catholic Men’s Conference in 2008 with words that from someone else might have seemed like false modesty.

“I’ve always been blessed with a very powerful and strong faith, and throughout my lifetime, everything good that’s happened to me and my family has been a gift from God,” he said. “So I don’t claim any particular shrewdness and or business acumen. I was never an MBA. I was just always a very, very diligent and hard worker blessed by God.”

Under his leadership as chief executive, his family’s transport business, Shaughnessy & Ahern, and Shaughnessy Crane Service, a second company he started from scratch, took their places among the region’s most successful enterprises, but Mr. Shaughnessy reminded people that deep faith and good luck played large roles in his life.

He used his good fortune to become one of Boston’s most generous philanthropists, helping a host of agencies and causes ranging from the Laboure Center in South Boston to the Rodman Ride for Kids, Catholic Charities of Boston, and My Brother’s Keeper, a ministry that delivers food and furniture to families in need.

“If there was a need, he was willing to help,” said his son Michael of Hingham. “That’s how he spent his life, and that’s how he taught his family and friends to lead their lives.”

Mr. Shaughnessy, who friends and relatives say lived his life embodying the “God loves a cheerful giver” passage from Corinthians in the Bible, died Nov. 27 in South Shore Hospital of complications from respiratory illnesses.

“Everything he did was about helping others who were less fortunate and in need and trying to do it as quietly as possible, never seeking accolades, except when he thought that by being honored at a dinner or accepting an award would help a charity turn around and raise more money for a particular cause,” said his son Jack Jr. of Hingham.

After Mr. Shaughnessy died, Monsignor James P. Moroney posted an entry on the St. John’s Seminary website calling him “one of the most generous and good-hearted men in Boston” and noting that he would be the first person the seminary would present the Archbishop John J. Williams medal.

Moroney recalled that when he told Mr. Shaughnessy not long ago about the impending honor, “in his usual humble way he suggested that someone else would be more worthy of the award,” which will be given posthumously in January.

From Cardinal Sean’s blog:

I returned to Boston on Friday, to be able to celebrate funeral Mass for Jack Shaughnessy on Saturday morning at Saint Elizabeth’s Church in Milton.

There was a tremendous outpouring of respect and affection for Jack shown by the many bishops, priests, religious, friends and members of the community who attended the wake and the funeral. I had visited him in the hospital just a couple days before he died. I prayed with him and entrusted him to Our Lady.

Jack Shaughnessy was a man who lived his faith very profoundly and who was generous to all causes, particularly helping the poor and his Church. Jack’s generosity to the Church, the Catholic community and many good causes that help people in need was extraordinary. Among his oft-cited mottos was the scriptural citation, “God loves a cheerful giver”, and Jack lived that truth. His son, speaking at the Mass, said that Jack had recently been audited by the IRS because they could not believe that anyone really gave that much money away!

Without question, Jack’s life was an expression of his gratitude for his many gifts from God, first and foremost the gift of faith and the gift of his beloved late wife Mary, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Jack’s final prayer in this life and our final prayer at his funeral Mass was the Memorare, a testament to his devotion to the Blessed Mother and his confidence, so often and readily shared with others, that her intercession was always dependable and effective, as had been his life-long experience. This beautiful prayer is a source of faith and inspiration for us all.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.


Jack Schaughnessy also happened to have left a few comments on BCI, where he identified himself by name.  In response to a BCI post from November 2012, “Archbishop Chaput: Being a Saint is the Only Thing that Matters,” Jack wrote:

“BCI: How best to get a copy of the 1966 film, A Man for All Seasons ? p.s.: your various posts are extraordinarily well written and “right on the mark”

In the midst of the campaign to oppose physician-assisted suicide, when the Globe editorialized against the ballot measure, siding with the Catholic Church, Jack wrote:

“BCI : one of the very few occasions that the Globe is one the right side of any issue that is supportive of Christian values or conservative causes. Jack S.

Eternal rest, grant unto Jack Schaughnessy, Sr.  O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

4 Responses to Jack Schaughnessy, Sr: Rest in Peace

  1. D Paul says:

    Semper Fi. From one swabbie to another.

  2. Dan B says:

    I never had the privilege of meeting this fine man in person, but many of us benefited from his generosity specifically to BC High. May he rest in peace, amen.

  3. Concerned Parent says:

    Inspiring. Rest in peace, Jack.

  4. john materazzo says:

    It’s far too late for Jack’s answer but “A Man for ALL Seasons” can be purchased at Ignatius Press as well.
    Jack himself was indeed a man for all seasons.

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