Martin R. Shugrue, Jr.

Martin Shugrue

Providence-born Martin R. Shugrue, Jr. (1941—1999) was a Naval Aviator and airline executive who played
a pivotal and at times controversial role in unsuccessful attempts to keep Pan American World Airways and,
later, Eastern Airlines from failing. He was known as a gregarious executive who had a knack for getting along
with union leaders and the rank and file.

He graduated from Hope High School and Providence College and joined the Navy. As a young LT (jg) aboard the USS Wasp he flew co-pilot for the air group commander on an anti-submarine hunter aircraft involved in the  recovery of Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, the first space docking capsule. He also flew McDonnell Douglas A-4 jet bombers.

After six years in the Navy, he joined Pan American World Airways in 1968 as a flight engineer. After being furloughed in the 1970 pilot cutbacks, he joined a management training program and rose rapidly through the ranks. He worked in personnel and labor relations at the company’s headquarters in New York and then had “line” responsibilities in Washington and later in London, where he was responsible for Western Europe. He then returned to Pan Am headquarters where he served as senior vice president for human resources, then marketing and sales.

In 1983 he was elected vice chairman of Pan Am’s board. He left Pan Am in 1988 to become president of  Continental Airlines. He was later appointed trustee-in-bankruptcy of Eastern Airlines and moved the company almost to a point of recovery, but was thwarted by the rising fuel prices caused by the Gulf War. With his own capital and other financing support, he started the new Pan Am in 1996. He died unexpectedly of a stroke in 1999 at the age of 58.

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