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CAMDEN, N.J. — Francis J. Shane, former National Limousine Association (NLA) executive director, died July 3 from complications associated with diabetes at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. He was 67.
Mr. Shane, of Mount Laurel, served as head of the NLA from 2003 to 2007. He also was a former journalist, college instructor, and political and business executive.
When accepting the position as head of the NLA, Shane said at the time: “The great thing about limousine owners is that they are the American dream. They provide a service that makes people feel good, build a business from the ground up, and are the kind of risk takers that would make most people pass out from the pressure.”
Regarding his tenure at the NLA, Shane had said: “The secret to a successful association is great service. At the NLA our great service begins with our government affairs and lobbying efforts. When we are able to defend our members against aggressive lawmakers, oppressive regulators and self-important government officials, we are providing a valuable service. While we can’t win all the battles, we can at least let them know that when they mess with NLA members they’re in for a street fight.”
Shane, a true paragon of the Renaissance man, enjoyed a varied and accomplished career as well as many long-cultivated interests. A native of Philadelphia, he attended North Catholic High School, after which he joined the U.S. Navy where he worked as a radioman on the USS Cheboygan County (LST-533).
Following an Honorable Discharge from his Naval tour of duty, he graduated from Peirce College, attended the University of Pennsylvania, and received his B.A. from Temple University — during and after which he worked briefly as a middle school teacher at St. Jerome’s parish school, then as a features writer and political reporter for the Juniata News, and later for the Intercounty Newspaper Group. His articles highlighted people and events of import and raised awareness of various causes that contributed to the public good.
Kind Words and Recollections from Industry Colleagues
“I worked with Fran as an NLA director and officer during his tenure as executive director. He very quickly connected with and appreciated the passion and independence of our member operators. Fran was the consummate professional, a true gentleman and an extraordinary communicator. He was extremely helpful with our lobbying efforts in Washington as well as relations with member associations. The NLA was fortunate to have Fran at the helm as he left the NLA in good hands for the next leadership transition. My prayers are with his family and friends. He will be greatly missed but always remembered.” — Diane K. Forgy, owner and president, Overland Chauffeured Services (Shawnee Mission, Kan.), member, NLA Board of Directors.
“Fran was a gentleman and classy individual to work with. He had a grasp of the industry and provided the leeway for me to accomplish the things necessary and encouragement to do what I believed to be appropriate to best serve all of the NLA members.” He was a true professional. — Barry Lefkowitz, president MGR (Lumberton, N.J.), former executive director, Limousine Associations of New Jersey.
"Fran Shane was an important asset to the NLA at a transitional time. He was a coming force and I am grateful for his time with the NL A." —Rich Azzolino, executive, Gateway Global (Burlingame, Calif.), member, NLA Board of Directors, and GCLA President.
“Fran will be missed. We worked closely together when I was President of the NLA. He always thought of its members first and helped advance the NLA's agenda for several years. He was part of the family and will be missed.” — Jeff Greene, founder and president, Greene Worldwide Transportation (Atlanta, Ga.), member, NLA Board of Directors.
Highly trained in public relations and communications, Shane accepted a position in Northern Minnesota as public relations director for the Catholic Diocese of Duluth, and because he had enjoyed working with students, he kept his hand in education by teaching courses at Mesabi Community College. During this time, he also hosted two weekend programs for radio station WHLB in Virginia, MN: one a call-in talk show featuring a wide variety of guests; the other a Sunday night show that featured WWII-era Swing Band recordings. The latter evolved from an interest sparked by his earlier article-related interview with Benny Goodman at the Valley Forge Music Fair.
Upon returning to the Philadelphia area in 1984, Shane became a division director for the March of Dimes for several years before resuming his journalism career, which fostered his growing interest in local and national politics. He worked on several regional campaigns in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, which led to his becoming the Pennsylvania campaign manager for Bob Dole’s presidential nomination bid in 1988. After the election, he earned his Certified Association Executive credential and worked as an executive director for a number of organizations, including the National Genealogical Society based in Arlington, Va., and the NLA based in Marlton, N.J.
His interests included American history, photography, wood-working, and of course Philadelphia Phillies baseball. Ever the writer, he also wrote poetry and fiction, having penned two collections of poetry: Vision of a Moment published in 1973, and an unpublished manuscript, Dreams with Wings and Other Things. He completed an unpublished novel as well, entitled A Damaged Soul and was working on a second novel when he took ill.
Shane is survived by his wife, Geraldine; four daughters and one son: Theresa Shane, Christine Paladino, Kelly Shane, Monica Shane-Sanchez and Michael Shane; two sisters, Joy Toole and Maryann Johnson; eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.
A viewing will be held Wednesday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Andrew T. Rakowski Funeral Home 2634 E. Allegheny Ave. Philadelphia, PA, 19134. A Funeral Mass will be held Thursday at 9:30 a.m. St. Adalbert Church. Burial will be at the Washington Crossing National Cemetery, 830 Highland Road, Newtown, PA 18940. Memorial donations may be made to the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org/donate
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