Thomas M. Shanahan

SHANAHAN, Thomas M., May 5, 1934 – Dec 27, 2011. Retired Federal District Judge Thomas M. Shanahan, 77, succumbed to aggressive bone cancer at his home on December 27th with his family at his side. Judge Shanahan, the eldest of four sons of Thomas and Agnes (Stenner) Shanahan, was born in Omaha in 1934. An alumnus of Creighton Prep, Tom was graduated from Notre Dame University, magna cum laude, in 1956. He and Jane Estelle Lodge were married August 4, 1956. He earned his LL.B. from Georgetown Law School in 1959 and entered private practice in Ogallala, NE, where he worked for the next 23 years. His four children were raised there. On March 24, 1983, Tom was Governor Bob Kerry’s first judicial appointment to the Nebraska Supreme Court. He was retained in office as a Nebraska Supreme Court Justice by public vote in 1986 and 1992. In August of 1993 President Clinton nominated him to the Federal District Court in Omaha. After confirmation by the U.S. Senate, he was commissioned on November 22, 1993. He assumed Senior status on May 5, 2004 and retired on February 1, 2007. He was a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association’s House of Delegates and its Executive Council, served as President of the Western Nebraska Bar Association, and was the recipient of the Omaha Bar Association’s 2008 Law Day award in recognition of his exemplary ethics and outstanding contributions to the administration of justice. His education, voracious reading habits, keen insights into human nature all paved the way for his distinguished legal career which was characterized as an erudite, yet commonsense approach to the law. He was a master of evidence and procedure. His written opinions, both as a member of the Nebraska Supreme Court and as a federal district judge, were well-crafted, colorful, and reflected his brilliant analytical skills. When Tom achieved Senior Status, Judge Kopf wrote: “Tom Shanahan has served Nebraska with great distinction on both the State and Federal Courts. His insight and intelligence on the full time bench will be sorely missed.” Tom approached his time on the bench as a steward of court, claiming he was appointed, not anointed. Another judge commented he was “a thoughtful and compassionate jurist and colleague. He was even tempered, patient, and respectful. His judicial creed was taken from Micah 6:8. He was determined to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with his God.” He derived much satisfaction when he was privileged to swear in new citizens to the U.S. Tom was extremely proud of his Irish heritage and especially his relationship with Notre Dame. Although he received many accolades and honors, he treasured the Alumnus of the Year awarded by the Omaha ND Chapter in 2010. It is ironic that although Tom was a private person by nature, he enjoyed a wide spectrum of friends and acquaintances who shared special occasions at Castle Barrett. His love of family, humility, loyalty, dry wit, deferential attitude, and intelligence impressed and endeared him to many. In recent years, Tom enjoyed his passion for fishing by honing his skills. He and his fishing buddy, Jane, won awards for their fly fishing expertise in Wyoming and Montana. Another of his hobbies was exercising and training his frisky friends, Fritz and Frieda, guard dogs extraordinaire! His parents and youngest brother, Michael P. Shanahan, predeceased Tom. He is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 55 years, Jane Lodge Shanahan; children: Catherine (Kirk) Trofholz of Lake Forest, IL, Thomas M., Jr., of Kansas City, Mary Elizabeth and Timothy F., both of Omaha; 7 grandchildren: Aaron, Matthew, Aundrea and Mary Catherine Trofholz, Nicholas, Caroline and Elizabeth “Ellie” Shanahan; brothers, Brian G. of Kansas City, James L. of Madison, WI; many nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends Friday, 5pm to 7pm at Christ the King Catholic Church, 654 S. 86 St., with VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm at the church. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Saturday, half after 10am, Christ the King Catholic Church. Graveside Service and Interment Saturday, 1:00 p.m., Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Special Olympics.

HEAFEY-HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK & CUTLER Mortuaries and Crematories 7805 West Center Road Omaha, Nebraska 68124 (402) 391-3900

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