John Francis "Jack" Shelley was born to Dennis Shelley, a longshoreman and Irish immigrant, and Mary Casey Shelley, on Sept.
3, 1905, the oldest of nine children. Reared in the Mission District, he was a leader at Mission High School. Because of his
size, tall and lanky, he worked as a merchant marine while still in school. He received his law degree from the University
of San Francisco in 1932, driving a bakery truck during the day and playing varsity football in between classes and work.
After college, Shelley worked as a business agent for the bakery wagon drivers union. During World War II, he served as an
officer in the Coast Guard. At 31, Shelley became the youngest president of the San Francisco Labor Council in 1937, serving
in that post until 1948 when he became Secretary-Treasurer. He was also president of the State Federation of Labor from 1947
to 1950. Shelley married Genevieve Giles in 1932 and had a daughter, Joan-Marie Shelley. His first wife died in 1952. In 1953,
he married Thelma Smith, his secretary, with whom he had two children, Kathleen and Kevin. Kevin Shelley would later follow
his father's political footsteps, serving as a San Francisco supervisor, state assemblyman, and Secretary of State.
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