John Patrick Shanley
1944 - 2021
Nardolillo Funeral Home's South County Chapel
1111 Boston Neck Road
Narragansett, RI
John Patrick Shanley, 77, of South Kingstown, beloved husband of Elaine (Davis) Shanley, passed peacefully at home on August 3rd. A former Supervisor in the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, entrepreneur, state legislator and associate professor of criminology, "Pat," as he was affectionately known, was a man of myriad interests, many talents and boundless love for his family, friends and community.  
Born in Providence in 1944, he was the son of the late Esther Joyce (Sweeney) and John Patrick Shanley. Pat graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 1962 and received his BA in Political Science from Providence College in 1966.  His studies inspired his lifelong commitment to political action and social justice as exemplified by his legislative career and leadership roles in the Democratic Party. After serving with the United States Army from 1966 to 1968, with a tour of duty in Vietnam, Pat earned his master's degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice at the University of Rhode Island.
Pat's career, like his life, was in service to others. He began working at the RI Department of Corrections in 1968 as a Probation and Parole officer specializing in juvenile cases.  During the next 25 years, he took on roles of increasing responsibility within the agency before retiring as Supervisor in 1994. A people person with an entrepreneurial spirit, he was actively involved in local government, and owned and operated several businesses throughout these years. His initial "retirement" proved to be an active one, and Pat went on to hold part-time positions as Associate Professor at the Roger Williams University School of Justice Studies and Grant Writer for Justice Assistance Corporation. From 2000 to 2008, he was a Representative in the Rhode Island Legislature.    
These achievements, however impressive, are only a part of John Patrick Shanley's life. He was proud of his Irish heritage and embodied the best of Celtic culture with his charisma, humor, generous spirit and eloquence. A gifted speaker, he was equally at home addressing a legislative committee, giving a eulogy, telling a joke, or spinning a tale for his grandchildren. Pat was a big man, with a big voice and a huge heart. 
The iconic Irish poet, William Butler Yeats wrote: "Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends." Indeed, Pat counted many devoted friends of differing ages, disciplines and points of view. His loyalty and generosity drew people to him as much as his wit and magnetism. He was the "Go to Guy" for many.  
Pat's commitments spanned the Board of Governors, Rhode Island Blue Cross and Blue Shield; the Board of Directors, United Cerebral Palsy Association; Juvenile Advisory Board, RI Governor's Justice Committee; and the Rhode Island Emergency 911 Commission. He was on the Town of South Kingstown Board of Canvassers at the time of his passing, and previously served as Town Moderator and Treasurer on the Board of Parks and Recreation. He was a member of the Sons of the Irish Kings, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Elks Lodge in Wakefield, and Pinecrest Golf Club in Richmond and he dedicated his time to a variety of local charities including South County Community Action, Seniors Helping Others and the Johnycake Center.
Family and friends were Pat's core. He loved being a father, and grandfather. Besides his wife, Elaine, he is survived by his daughters, Ann Gardner and her husband Richmond of South Kingstown, and Margaret Murphy of Newport, and his grandchildren Delia and Declan Foley of South Kingstown. Pat was a cherished brother to Mary McDonald and her husband Arthur of East Greenwich, and Miles Shanley and his wife Madeline of Charlotte, NC.
His Mass of Christian Burial was  held on Tuesday, August 10 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 114 High St., Wakefield. Burial took place in the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 301 South County Trail, Exeter. VISITING HOURS were Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the NARDOLILLO FUNERAL HOME & Crematory - SOUTH COUNTY CHAPEL, 1111 Boston Neck Road, (Rt. 1A), Narragansett. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests memorial donations be made to Providence College. Visit for online condolences.
Published by Southern Rhode Island Newspapers from Aug. 12 to Aug. 20, 2021.
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Nardolillo Funeral Home
Narragansett, RI
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Wakefield, RI
Funeral services provided by:
Nardolillo Funeral Home's South County Chapel
Sponsored by Nardolillo Funeral Home's South County Chapel.
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17 Entries
Pat was a delightful guy. He'll be sorely missed.
Mary-Lou Jenkins
August 27, 2021
Susanne & John Reid
August 11, 2021
To Elaine and the entire Shanley Family. Please accept our sincerest condolences for the loss of Pat.
The Murdocco Family
August 9, 2021
Sorry for your lost. What a great guy ,never a dull moment to be with, always interesting, always humorous. Pat is already missed.
Carl Point
August 8, 2021
Dear Elaine and Family, So sorry to learn of Pat´s passing. God rest his soul. He was a force of nature! I worked with him at Family Court many years ago. He loved life, treated everyone with the same respect and put smiles on our faces when he entered a room. I remember when Ann was born and he was so pleased and bursting with pride! He was a proud and wonderful father. My condolences to all the family. Kathi Darigan
Kathi Darigan
August 7, 2021
The Rowley Family
August 6, 2021
Elaine and Pat´s Family. and Friends: Pat was a great man and a great friend to many R.I. State Troopers and local law enforcement officers in Rhode Island. His teaching at Roger Williams University and his endearing friendship to R.I. police officers is unequaled and appreciated. May he rest in peace with the Lord for eternity. With deepest sympathy, Major Jim Rowley
Major James Rowley
August 6, 2021
To The Entire SHANLEY Family: Please accept my sincere condolences upon the passing of PAT. We shared many a laugh back in the day at Exeter CC. May he rest in peace.
August 6, 2021
Our love and sympathy to all of Pat's family. We have known him for all our lives. He will be sorely missed.
John A. Murphy and Mary Jane Murphy
August 6, 2021
Pat had a personality larger than life. His wit and wisdom will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to his family. God speed, my friend.
Paul & Dawn Silva
August 6, 2021
My deepest condolences to the Shanley family. I served with John Patrick in the House of Representatives and he brought insight, humor and vigor to the public service. My memories of John Patrick will always be on as a respected colleague and friend.
Steven Costantino
August 6, 2021
Our Grandmothers were great Friends(Alice Farrell and Aunt Essie Sweeney) We lived in Edgewood. Family of (late) D.r George and Constance Taft
Mary Taft Sherman McKenna
August 6, 2021
Our deepest condolences to Elaine and the family. Pat was a wonderful friend and colleague and will be missed.
Peter & Kristine Kilmartin
August 6, 2021
I am so sorry to learn of Pat´s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Ann and Margaret.
Kathy Kelly
August 6, 2021
send our love and prayers to the family.
Garrahy family
August 6, 2021
Elaine, my condolences to you and your family on the passing of your husband John.
Louis Martone
August 5, 2021
We are so sorry to hear of Pat's passing. He will always be remembered as someone with lots of personality and a love of life. Rest in peace knowing you had lots of friends and a wonderful family.
Danny and Ginny Marrinan
August 5, 2021
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