Jack Shinn John Nash “Jack” Shinn is one of the best examples of why men from his era are referred to as the Greatest Generation. He was not only a war hero but was also hero to many people in Manatee County because of his willingness to serve others.
Jack was born in 1922 in West Point, Clay County, Mississippi to Enoch and Elizabeth Shinn. His family moved to Tennessee where he grew up. After high school Jack began college at University of Tennessee earning an A.S. degree but his studies were interrupted by World War II. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, like many Americans, he felt the obligation to serve his country. Even though Jack was married to Gloria by then and one year away from graduation, in 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. After graduating from officers’ candidate school as a first Lt., he was assigned to a division training soldiers in the infantry for combat, including artillery. In 1943, Jack’s platoon was shipped to the European theater where he served for 18 month in heavy combat. He fought with the infantry in France, Belgium and Germany where he demonstrated his proficiency as a solider. Jack’s heroism in combat was legendary among the troops. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, two Presidential Citations and the Bronze Star. Jack was part of the troops who met the Russian Army who invaded Germany from the east. After Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, he continued to serve in Europe as a Captain. In 1946, Jack was honorably discharged as a highly decorated Captain and returned home to Tennessee. He was now only 24 years old. Jack joined a real estate company and sold and managed real estate for six years. During that time, he and his wife Gloria vacationed in Manatee County and on one trip met local businessman, Elon Rood. When Jack and Gloria decided to relocate, in 1952 they moved to a subdivision in west Bradenton on Shore Acres Drive. At that time, the population of Bradenton was 13,604 with only 34,704 people living in Manatee County. After surveying opportunities in the area, he went to work for Lewis Lumber Company for several years. During that time, Jack became very involved in the community and eventually joined the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton in 1956. Jack also met banker Fred Langford who became a good friend. From that friendship, in 1961 Jack accepted an offer from Fred to work for Palmetto Federal Savings and Loan Association. He worked at Palmetto Federal for 23 years, serving as vice president for the majority of that time. Jack was a conservative banker but a progressive businessman in the area of civil rights for all Americans. His experience from World War II war molded his view of how people should treat one another. Jack hired one of the first African American women to work in banking in Manatee County. During this time, he became more involved in the leadership of the Kiwanis Club, serving as chair of several committees and then on the board of directors. From October 1969 through September 1970 he served as president of the Kiwanis Club. In 1984, when Palmetto Federal was sold to Goldome Savings, Jack retired to spend more time with family and volunteer in the community.
After moving to Florida, Jack and Gloria raised three boys, Byron, Tyrone and Damon. As a soldier he was an outdoorsman and passed that experience and knowledge to each of his sons. Jack taught each of them how to hunt and survive in the woods and naturally had all of them were involved in the Boy Scout program in Manatee County. Byron and Tyrone became Eagle scouts and eventually became members of the Kiwanis Club.
In addition to serving as president of the Kiwanis Club, Jack was always involved in other community organizations. He was a member and leader at Palma Sola Presbyterian Church, Boy Scouts of America, Manatee County Chamber of Commerce, Boys Club of Manatee County, Girls Club of Manatee County and Hernando DeSoto Historical Society, where he served as chairman. After he retired from banking in 1984, Jack increased the amount of time he volunteered to each of these organizations, while continuing to be a leader in the Kiwanis Club. By the time, Jack died on July 8, 1997 at 75 years of age he had left his mark in the community and the many people he had influenced. He was truly one of the best of the Greatest Generation.