Gerald S. McGowan

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Gerald S. McGowan
United States Ambassador to Portugal
In office
March 19, 1998 – July 3, 2001
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Elizabeth Frawley Bagley
Succeeded by John N. Palmer
Personal details
Born (1946-09-03) September 3, 1946 (age 69)
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Sharon Shapiro
Susan Brophy
Profession lawyer

Gerald Stephen "Jerry" McGowan (born September 3, 1946 Birmingham, Michigan) is an American lawyer, and diplomat.[1] He was appointed United States Ambassador to Portugal on November 10, 1997, and was sworn in by Vice President Al Gore. He presented his credentials in Lisbon, Portugal on March 19, 1998 and left his post on July 3, 2001.[2]


Jerry was born and raised in Birmingham, Michigan to Harry and Mary McGowan, where he attended Brother Rice High School. While working towards his B.S. from Georgetown University and a Law Degree from Georgetown Law, Jerry served as a clerk to Michigan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kavanagh, and as an assistant to the late U.S. Senator Philip Hart. He also served in the Vietnam War as a United States Army 1st Lieutenant in 1970-1971. A classmate at Georgetown was then class President and eventual United States President, Bill Clinton.

McGowan is a career telecommunications industry lawyer and is a founding partner of the Washington D.C. law firm Lukas, McGowan, Nace & Gutierrez.[3]

McGowan played an important role in negotiations between the US administration and the Portuguese leadership, during the East Timor struggle for independence from Indonesia in late 1999 and early 2000.[4]

A telecommunications industry veteran, McGowan currently sits on the board of directors of Portugal Telecom.[5]


He is the father of seven children, Jason, Zachary, Lukas, Connor, Molly, Sean and Dylan by his first wife, the former Sharon Shapiro, who died of breast cancer on April 8, 1995. He married Susan Brophy on January 10, 1998.[6] They currently reside in Arlington, Virginia.