John O’Shaughnessy Jr., Former St. Thomas Trustee, Dies

John O’Shaughnessy Jr., a grandson of 1907 alumnus and prominent benefactor Ignatius Aloysius “I.A.” O’Shaughnessy, and a former member of the Board of Trustees, died Saturday. 

O’Shaughnessy joined the St. Thomas board in 1991 and served until 2016. He also was on the boards of Catholic Charities and the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation, where he served for more than 23 years – including eight as its president. 

A 1957 alumnus of St. Thomas Academy, O’Shaughnessy attended the University of Notre Dame and the College of St. Thomas before serving in the U.S. Army. 

He served on board of directors of Lario Oil & Gas Co., which his grandfather founded in Kansas. 

John was a wonderful trustee and a great friend of St. Thomas, said President Emeritus Father Dennis Dease. “He cared deeply about the university and we shall very much miss him.”

john o'shaughnessy

John O'Shaughnessy (trustee and grandson of I.A. O'Shaughnessy) and his wife Cheryl open the O'Shaughnessy Hall time capsule Feb. 24, 2010, during a ceremony in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library.

In 2010, when O’Shaughnessy Hall was to be demolished to make way for Anderson Student Center, O’Shaughnessy and his wife, Cheryl, opened a time capsule that was placed behind the cornerstone near the entrance to O’Shaughnessy Hall during its construction in 1939. 

O’Shaughnessy generously donated valuable gifts to the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library, including a Book of Kells reproduction and a facsimile of the Hereford Mappa Mundi, a map of the world made in approximately 1285. 

“John loved books, and appreciated the printed book as art. His gift of hundreds of Folio Society editions to the library provides a wonderful reminder of the art of bookmaking, something that we may have forgotten in the digital world,” Associate Vice Provost of University Libraries Dan Gjelten said. The O’Shaughnessy Room (itself a campus jewel) in the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library houses our collection of these beautiful books, all safely secured behind glass doors. I hope people can stop by soon to view the room and John’s extraordinary gift. My heart goes out to the O’Shaughnessy family, along with our deep thanks for his generosity.” 

Survivors include Cheryl and his children, John and Patrick. 

Mass of Christian Burial was held yesterday at 2 p.m. at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas. 

Read his obituary online.