Shadduck, born in Coeur d’Alene in 1915, started out as a journalist. She wrote first for The Spokesman Review, then her hometown paper, The Coeur d’Alene Press. It was while working for The Press that she got her first taste of politics, covering the Republican National Convention in 1944. Inspired, she founded the Kootenai County Young Republicans. Then, she served a dual role working as a journalist while serving as an intern in Senator Henry Dworshak’s Washington, DC office.
In 1946 Shadduck took a job with Idaho Governor Charles Robbins, serving first as a publicity assistant, then as his administrative assistant. She was the first female to serve as a governor’s administrative assistant in Idaho. It wouldn’t be her last first. During her stint in the governor’s office she wrote a freelance column for The Coeur d’Alene Press called “This and That.”
When Len B. Jordan followed Robbins as governor, he retained Shadduck in her administrative assistant position. Then, in 1952, Senator Dworshak talked her into moving back to DC. There she became friends with Dwight Eisenhower. She spoke at the Republican National Convention in a televised address in 1952 in support of Eisenhower.
Shadduck decided to dive into politics herself, running for Idaho’s First Congressional District seat against Democrat Gracie Pfost. She lost that race, but it was another first for her. The match was the first time two women ran against each other for a congressional seat in US history. She spoke again for Eisenhower at the 1956 Republican National Convention, but her political future was to be on the state level.
Governor Robert E. Smylie appointed Shadduck to head the Idaho Department of Commerce and Development in 1958, making her the first woman in the country to serve in a state cabinet position. She was instrumental in bringing the National Girl Scout Roundup and the World Boy Scout Jamboree to Farragut State Park in 1965 and 1967, respectively.
Following Smylie’s last term in office she went to work as an administrative assistant to Congressman Orval Hansen.
Shadduck was troubled by the rise of white supremacists in her home state. She lobbied for a change in the malicious harassment law. That law was critical in putting the Aryan Nations out of business.
In her spare time, Shadduck served as president of the National Federation of Press Women from 1971 to 1973.
Shadduck never married. Upon her death in 2008, her great niece was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “it was because no man could keep up with her.”