Entrepreneur, businessman, producer, and philanthropist Shawn David Nightingale died on Aug. 26, 2022 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He was 62.
Born in Hyannis to the late Roy and Dorothy (Olivera) Nightingale on June 15, 1960, Shawn grew up in Yarmouth. He was known for his sense of humor and his love of hockey. His mother woke him every morning at 5:30 to drive him to the Gallo Ice Arena in Bourne for hockey practice. He graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School in 1978.
Shawn studied sociology at Suffolk University. After graduation he moved to California and worked as a cosmetics salesman, quickly moving up to become vice president of the Jan Stuart Company, where he helped make a line of men’s skin care products and fragrances a success.
After moving to Florida, he set up a chain of shops specializing in nutritional products approved by the federal Women, Infants, Children program. During the pandemic, Shawn and his staff delivered baby formula and food to families who could not come to the store. When the baby formula shortage became a national issue, Shawn’s company was able to keep a supply for those in need.
Shawn found a new passion bringing live entertainment to Provincetown, taking co-ownership of the Pilgrim House. He worked his Provincetown-Broadway pipeline to bring shows to town, said his husband, Jay Jakubowski. His roster of stars included John Waters, David Sedaris, Melissa Manchester, Margaret Cho, Paula Poundstone, Elaine Stritch, Joan Rivers, and Bruce Vilanch. “But Shawn Nightingale was still the brightest star, always,” Jay said.
Shawn also produced five films in 2018 and 2019; his last, Badland, starred Mira Sorvino and Bruce Dern. When the pandemic hit, he put his film production work on hold.
Never at a loss for a joke, story, or one-liner, Shawn engaged with everyone from the post office staff to a tourist waiting in line for a lobster roll.
He donated a percentage of his live show profits to local nonprofit organizations and served on several boards, including those of the Provincetown Film Society and the Provincetown Business Guild.
Fiercely proud of his Portuguese heritage, Shawn saw life’s ups and downs as “as coisas da vida” (the things of life). He had a tattoo of a smile on one shoulder and a teardrop on the other.
Shawn is survived by his husband and beloved companion of 40 years, Jay Jakubowski of Provincetown; by his uncle, Neil Nightingale and wife Gale of Osterville; and by his cousins Keith and Scott Nightingale. He leaves a large family of friends whom he treasured.
A memorial service and celebration of Shawn’s life is being planned.