Patrick Shanahan’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Patrick Shanahan

Department of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan, Deputy Secretary of Defense

Patrick Michael Shanahan was the acting Secretary of the Department of Defense and President Trump had nominated him for the position permanently.

But it was announced on June 18, 2019, that Shanahan had withdrawn the nomination after addressing a domestic violence dispute that had occurred between him and his now ex-wife, Kimberley Jordinson, in 2010. The president announced via Twitter that Shanahan would be replaced by the Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper.

Shanahan had been serving as the Deputy Secretary of Defense since July 2017. It was his first job at the Pentagon. Prior to joining the Defense Department, he worked for Boeing for more than 30 years.

Despite his lack of a long government or military background, Shanahan had said his family taught him the importance of serving the country.

Here’s what you need to know about Shanahan’s family.


1. Patrick Shanahan Is Divorced With Three Children

Patrick Shanahan was previously married to wife Kim. They were still married as of 2010, according to his father’s obituary from that year. They have divorced since then. They have three children.

On June 18, 2019, Shanahan addressed a domestic violence situation that had occurred between them in 2010, in which they accused each other of violence. Shanahan insists that he “never laid a hand” on his ex-wife. You can read his full statement here.

A 2008 article in the Seattle Times hinted that his busy schedule could have caused a rift in the marriage. At the time, Shanahan was working in Seattle while his family stayed behind in Virginia. He shared that he saw his family just twice a month.

He also explained that his workday did not leave a lot of room for down time. He would arrive at work at 5 a.m. and not get done until 8 or 9 p.m. Shanahan praised Kim, whom he had been married to for 22 years at that point. “A job like this, you can’t do by yourself.” He shared that Kim was also a Seattle native.


2. Shanahan’s Father, Michael, Earned a Bronze Star Medal in Vietnam

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Patrick Shanahan credits his father, Michael Shanahan, for teaching him the value of public service. He spoke about his family in his opening statement during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee in June 2017, when he was under consideration to be the Deputy Defense Secretary.

Michael Shanahan served with the Army in Vietnam. He earned a Bronze Star Medal, which Shanahan has hanging in his office at the Pentagon. The elder Shanahan became a police officer after leaving the military, a job he held for 25 years. He served as Chief of Police for the University of Washington and retired in 1995.

Patrick explained that his father taught him to “treat people fairly, respect law and order, and the importance of protecting the community.”

After beginning his role at the Pentagon, Patrick Shanahan described his father as the “tough guy” in a Department of Defense article. “I only saw him cry once in my life: It was when he had to leave his family to go to Vietnam.”


3. Michael Shanahan Ran a Food Bank in Washington State & Was Nicknamed ‘Captain Zucchini’

Michael Shanahan opened a food bank in 1982 called the Rotary First Harvest. It operates out of Seattle and continues to help people to this day. His son explained in his opening statement to Congress that his father “showed us, that, with initiative and outreach, good ideas can scale to make a big difference.”

Michael Shanahan suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 18 years, according to his obituary. He passed away March 18, 2010, at the age of 69.

His food bank continues to honor his legacy with the annual Mike Shanahan Volunteer Award, which goes to someone working to relieve hunger. According to the organization, he was affectionately known by a fun nickname: “Captain Zucchini.”


4. Patrick Shanahan Credited His Mother, Jo-Anne, for Teaching Him How to Be a Parent

Jo-Anne Shanahan was not on Capitol Hill the day her son appeared before the Armed Services Committee. But Patrick Shanahan made sure to praise her and said she had given him a pep talk beforehand.

“My mother has always supported me unconditionally. She taught my brothers and I to support others unconditionally. What I appreciate most about her that I would like to share is: She taught me to truly believe in myself and that I could do anything I set my mind to; She taught my brothers and I that it is not the size of your muscles that matter it is the size of your heart; She taught me to be a better parent, a gift I can never repay. Her words to me for today were … you’ll do fine.”

Jo-Anne’s maiden name was David. She married Michael Shanahan on September 16, 1961.


5. Patrick Shanahan Grew Up in Washington State With Two Brothers

Patrick Shanahan is a Washington State native. He grew up in Laurelhurst, a suburb of Seattle. In a 2008 article in the Seattle Times, Shanahan spoke about his childhood. He said he cut neighbor’s lawns during the summer to earn money and that he and his friends enjoyed playing soccer.

He had two younger brothers named Matthew and Raymond.

According to his Linkedin profile, Matthew is the Chief Innovation Officer at Globys Inc. Like his older brother, he attended the University of Washington and studied computer engineering. His wife’s name is Ann.

Sadly, his other brother Raymond passed away in 2015 after battling brain cancer. He was married to his wife Cheri for 24 years before his death. They had four children.

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