SHANNON DONALD HAWKINS SHANNON Died on July 17, 2020 at Summerville Community Hospice House following a weeklong stay in intensive care at Roper Hospital. The cause was covid-19. Prior to entering Roper, he had resided happily at Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community since early 2016. Born on February 1, 1923, in Auburn, WA, Donald was the son of Ernest V. and Alice Fern McConville Shannon. After his parents divorced, he and his mother went to live with her widower uncle, John "Uncle Jack" McConville, in San Diego, California, where he graduated from San Diego High School. He entered Stanford University, Class of 1944, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He served in the Far East. After one year of Stanford Law School, he decided that the law was not for him. With a college friend, he decided to go to Rio de Janeiro, where he was hired by the Rio Herald as a journalist in around 1947. That was the beginning of a long and distinguished career in journalism. After Rio, he headed to France, thinking there would be work but, finding none, he went instead to London, England, where he was hired by United Press International. It was at this time that he met Sally Van Deurs, then working at the American Embassy with the United States Information Agency, who would become his wife. She was the daughter of Rear Admiral (as he became) George and Ann Shepard Van Deurs. The couple was married at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in 1952. By that time Donald was working in Washington, DC, for a news agency that provided political reportage for mid-western newspapers. Needing to support a family, he asked his boss for a raise. Instead of a raise, his employer told him there was an opening in the Washington Bureau of the Los Angeles Times. Donald applied and was hired by the bureau chief, Robert T. Hartmann, later White House chief of staff under President Gerald Ford. Donald was sent to succeed the LA Times Paris bureau chief in 1961, and covered both French and Francophone African affairs. In 1967, he was sent to open a new LA Times bureau in Tokyo. In 1971, he became the paper's United Nations bureau chief. Then, in 1975, he returned to the paper's now much larger Washington, DC, bureau to be the national security correspondent. He could occasionally be seen on Sunday morning news programs commenting on current events. Sally said that Donald loved his job and couldn't believe that he was paid to do it. Donald retired from the Times after almost 40 years. He and Sally both loved Washington, where they had many friends and attended countless official and social events. They lived in a federal period townhouse in Georgetown. When he bought it in 1951, the city had condemned it as uninhabitable. The Shannons were champions of Georgetown. (After he relocated to Bishop Gadsden, however, he admitted that Charleston's architecture rivaled that of his beloved Georgetown.) They were charter members of the City Tavern Club; and Donald was a member, and chairman for one term, of the Citizens Association of Georgetown. The Shannons were popular hosts and guests. They were longtime parishioners of Christ Church (Episcopal) Georgetown and members of the Georgetown Cotillion. Sally died in 2006. Donald is survived by his son, John McConville Shannon (Curtis M. Estes), of Wadmalaw Island, SC; his daughter, Susanna Shepard Shannon; and two granddaughters, Rebecca Oudin-Shannon and Samantha Christina Shannon, all of France. Donald's wish was that he be cremated and his ashes interred at Christ Church Georgetown, alongside Sally's. A memorial service will be held there when circumstances permit. His family expresses its appreciation for the wonderful care and support he received from the staff at Bishop Gadsden, Roper Hospital, and Summerville Community Hospice House. Donald's wish was that he be cremated and his ashes interred at Christ Church Georgetown, alongside Sally's. A memorial service will be held there when circumstances permit. His family expresses its appreciation for the wonderful care and support he received from the staff at Bishop Gadsden, Roper Hospital, and Summerville Community Hospice House.
Published in The Washington Post on Jul. 19, 2020.