Don Shaw, 87, passed away at home on December 14, 2016. Please join us in celebrating the life of this very special man.
Don was born in 1929 in Detroit to George and Fern Shaw, their only child. When he was an infant his family moved to rural central Iowa. Don was both smart and athletic. In high school he lettered 4 years in football, basketball and baseball and 3 years in track. He also served as class president. He played summer semi-pro baseball on the Western League Earlham team. Don entered Central College to study pre-med and play basketball and football on scholarship, but an injury cut his sports career short. He transferred to Drake in 1948, continuing his pre-med studies. At the beginning of 1951, he entered the Army, serving as a Sergeant in the 8063rd MASH unit in Korea (the unit periodically referred to in the TV show). When he returned to his studies at Drake in 1953, a mentor convinced him to switch to the study of education and he never turned back.
Don began teaching in the Des Moines public schools in 1955, teaching math and PE. He continued his studies as well, finishing his Masters in Education at Drake in 1962. Two years later, he moved into administration and became an elementary school principal. He served as principal for 9 schools over 40 years, touching the lives of thousands of children and hundreds of teachers. The respect for Don’s contributions over the years culminated in several people he worked with arranging for the Mayor of Des Moines to issue a proclamation for “Don Shaw Day” on May 9, 1994. After official retirement, he continued working for the school district in a variety of jobs, from short-term principal assignments to helping out in the bus garage.
Don married Barbara “Jan” Wright from Redfield in 1953. They were married for nearly 60 years before she passed away in 2013. Jan also graduated from Drake, and worked as an admissions counselor there. Don was very devoted to Jan, and will be happy to be re-united with her in heaven.
Don and Jan had one son Todd, who lives in California with his wife Elizabeth and their two children Sarah and Ryan.
In recent years, Don was instrumental in forming and running the Meredith Neighborhood Association in northwest Des Moines. He was active in Kiwanis, and enjoyed spending time with his large group of friends in Des Moines.
In 2012, Todd and Elizabeth established the Donald Shaw Family Scholarship for Future STEM Educators at Drake. The scholarship seeks to support the development of more well prepared STEM teachers, while honoring Don’s 50 years of service in education. For anyone wishing to provide any type of memorial (including in lieu of flowers), the wishes of Don and his family is to grow the endowment for the scholarship. To contribute to the scholarship endowment, please take the following steps:
Write a check payable to “Drake University”
Write in the memo field of the check: “Don Shaw Family Scholarship”
Include a brief note specifying the purpose for the donation.
Drop it by the reception on December 22nd, or mail to:
2507 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Donations are tax deductible.