MERRILL M SHAW, 1915-2011

Dec 29th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Moments Blog

The Death of a Parent

Senior Citizen Editor, Sharon Shaw Elrod, lost her father on Tuesday, December 27. He was 96 and died a natural and peaceful death from left ventricular heart failure.  He asked for her on the 22nd, so she flew to be with him and her sisters for his last days.  She was privileged to participate in palliative care for him in his home in Arizona. Following is the obituary the four daughters wrote for him:

Our dad, Merrill Shaw, died on Tuesday this week (December 27). Dad wrote his own obituary, but it only told about his accomplishments, not who he was as a person. So here is our obituary for our dad. Dad was born on a farm, raised on a farm, and went to a country school in a horse drawn wagon. Dad didn’t talk about his childhood much; his dad died when Dad was 16. Dad was the oldest of four boys, and life was hard for Dad and his entire family.
Dad went into the elevator business early in his life. After he married Mom, he bought the grain elevator from his father-in-law in New Hartford, Iowa. Mom and Dad had four daughters. Dad’s life during the time of having his family at home was filled with working long hours at the elevator, attending all of his children’s school and church events, singing in the church choir, and taking a two week family summer vacation, usually to Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota, every year. Dad also enjoyed pheasant hunting with some of his friends and his daughter, Marlene. Dad supported two of his daughters in 4-H by keeping beef cattle at the elevator, so the Butler County Fair became an important part of family summer schedules.
After we girls left home, Dad changed professions and started golfing. He went from owning a grain elevator to owning a bank. His first bank was in Wisconsin; he was there for two years. Then he and Mom moved to New Hampton where he was President of First National Bank. Mom died in 1983. Dad married Delilah Boos in 1984. Dad stayed in the bank and continued to golf until 1990. He finally retired in 1990 and then he just golfed a lot. Dad and Delilah moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, after Dad retired. They lived in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills until his death this week.
All four of us girls are still living; Jeannine and Marlene in Arizona, Sharon in Texas and Pat in Des Moines. Very sadly, one of Dad’s grandsons, Eric Diddy, died in 2004. He has 10 grandchildren and a host of great-grand-children.
Visitation at Conway-Markham Funeral Home in New Hampton will be from 4-7pm on Friday, December 30. Private family burial follows on Saturday.
Fondly written by Jeannine, Sharon, Marlene and Pat, for our Dad.


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  1. Dear Marlene, Jeanine, Sharon, and Pat, so sorry to hear about your dad. I think of you all often, and really enjoy the Senior Cit. Journal. I didn’t find out about your mom for a few years. She was a very special person. May your memories help you find peace in this hour. Love, Jan Meyer (formerly Larkin)

  2. Dear sisters and family, down in South America there is another pa Shaw´s daughter, Sílvia- she learned how a human being may be so nice to a foreign person- pa Shaw treated me as his own daughter- if someone in the world tells American people aren´t so “warm” people- there was someone who would show that wasn´t really true: Merrill Shaw!!!!! The Shaw family was and is super- I was treated with so much love by them – mom and pa Shaw were so special- He was a man who wouldn´t care to show what he was feeling- if it were to laugh, he would do it, and if he had to cry, he would just cry- cry, hug, kiss and love!!!!!! He wrote me untill 2005 and I have all his letters and cards kept as a treasure. He wrote me that the other girls were closer, but he had to write me because of the distance and I felt so proud of him for doing that. I am sure my sisters don´t feel jealous about that because they had him so close for so many years. In one of his last letters he wrote he was ready to spend eternity with mom. I am a “strong” witness how much mom and pa loved each other, how they cared about each other and how family had always been so important to both of them. Meu querido (my darling, dear), pa Shaw, now you are probably playing golf with mom in Heaven. I love you, dad! Your Brazilian daughter, Sílvia.

  3. Here I am back again- I was going through some remembrances and found a little notebook which people wrote messages to me in 1974- I am going to write down what pa Shaw and mom Evelyn wrote me-
    “To Silvia, my darling daughter, thanks to your parents in Brazil for sharing you and letting you be our daughter for one year and thanks to God for bringing you to us. May your life be a rich and full one. You are an intelligent person and capable of accepting and adjusting to the problems of life. You are very pleasant and meet people easily. These are the attributes that make you such a wonderful person. I love you as any father would love his own daughter. papai Shaw.”

    “To my dear daughter Silvia,
    Your days will be filled with peace, joy and happiness if you can be grateful for each problem that comes your way and see it as a chance to grow in your heart with understanding. You are a beautiful person- with a good mind and a heart full of love. With all these fine qualities you can reach for almost any star and find your dreams come true. I love you as my own. Your mamãe Shaw.”

    Well, I was only 18 when they wrote those things and what they wished me came true in my life. In 1985 I went back to visit my families, thanks pa Shaw. Mom wasn´t there anymore. Sharon stood by me when I entered the house and couldn´t see mom anymore. She helped me a great deal and she knew how difficult it would be not meet mom in the house. Delilah as very nice to me. I wrote again about pa because he deserves it! I love you pa Shaw!

  4. Silvia, Thank you so much for your comments. Your four Shaw Sisters in the US love you dearly and wish there weren’t so many miles between us. Sending hugs and a ton of love to you, Sharon

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