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Life Story / Obituary
Gentle, gracious, and kindhearted, Louise Shaw was truly beautiful on the inside and out. A longtime resident of the community she loved, she was the kind of person whom everyone seemed to know. A more devoted family woman would be hard to find as Louise lived to nurture and care for her husband and children, and there was nothing that made her happier than becoming a grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, and even a great-great-great-grandmother, too. She was the rock of her family who was there to offer a listening ear, a piece of timeless wisdom, or just a warm touch during times of trial. Although she will be deeply missed, Louise leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.
More than a century has passed since the early 1900s when America looked drastically different from the America we know and love today. Henry Ford formed the Ford Motor Company, work on the New York subway got underway, and the first men successfully made it to the North Pole. Amidst this time of discovery there was great anticipation in the lives of Arthur and Myrtle (Russell) Newton as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the summer heat held Trowbridge, Michigan, firmly in its grip in 1909. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Louise M. drew her first breath. She was one of three children in her family and was raised in the family home alongside her sister, Ruth, and her brother, Carlton.
Louise experienced an upbringing that included all the happiness, love and trials typical to the youth of her generation. Her father ran his store in Alamo until the death of Louise’s mother, a devoted homemaker, when Louise was 11. He then worked at a paper mill in Kalamazoo and was also a farmer in Oshtemo Township. Louise was a self-described tomboy who also helped her father in his store in Alamo prior to her mother’s death. She attended local schools during a time when America’s young people were more commonly found in the workplace than they were in the classroom, and of those who were students, less than 10 percent went on to graduate. Louise was one of the few who graduated as she was part of the graduating class of 1928 from Kalamazoo Central High School.
Not to be forgotten during her years in school was Louise’s introduction to the young man with whom she would write a love story that would span several decades. His name was Robert Shaw, and he was a school classmate. Smitten, they began dating. It wasn’t long before the couple found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, they were married. Together they welcomed two sons, Barton and Robert, into their hearts and home. Both Louise and Robert were deeply devoted to each other and their children whom they raised in a loving and accepting environment. It was vitally important to them both that they spend time together as a family, and they made a point to do just that. They had a cottage at Eagle Lake in Bloomingdale where they spent their summers for several years.
From the moment she became a mother, Louise fully immersed herself in the role. Because Robert worked to support their family, she was able to focus her time and attention at home. Louise loved her sons unconditionally, but she also was the one to discipline the children when needed. She was always there for them and provided guidance throughout their lives. Louise was thrilled to welcome daughters-in-law with open arms, and things only got better when their family grew to include young ones. Over the years, her family grew to include not only grandchildren, but also great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and great-great-great-grandchildren. No matter the personal sacrifice, she put everything aside to provide the physical and emotional support her loved ones needed. Louise always had a sunny disposition and often told her family and friends, “Bloom where you are planted.”
In addition to being deeply devoted to her family, Louise was a vital part of her community. She was involved in the Oshtemo School PTA, Pollyanna Club, birthday and garden clubs. Louise became involved in these organizations because it was a time when parents, teachers, and community members looked after and cared for each other and their children. She was also a loyal friend who enjoyed playing bingo with her church friends including Wilma Bushouse, June Cochran, Helen Brown, Sally Taylor, Sandy Simmonds, and Mary Green. During WWII Louise supported the war effort in Oshtemo, and for years she helped with the plays held in the Oshtemo Township Hall. During their retirement years, she and her husband enjoyed traveling together, and they also spent their winters in Florida for several years. Louise was deeply saddened with the death of her husband in 1983, and again with the death of her son, Robert, in 2008. Louise spent the last eight years of her life making new friends at the Alamo Nursing Home.
With a life that spanned times of war and times of peace, times of plenty and times of want, Louise Shaw was a gift in the lives of everyone she met. She was loving, compassionate, and a dear friend who would do anything for anyone. Louise considered the day she married the love of her life to be the best day of her life, and together they were thrilled to witness their family tree blossom to include numerous branches of loved ones who made them both so very proud. She will never be forgotten.
Louise M. Shaw, of Kalamazoo, died April 17, 2015, at Alamo Nursing Home. Louise’s surviving family includes her son: Barton and his wife Sheila Shaw; 9 grandchildren: Brian Shaw, Aimee Shaw-Kragt, Ted Borst, Pete Borst, Michael Shaw, Chris Shaw, Terri Shaw, Lori Shaw-Frediani, and Mickie Shaw-Traxler; many great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews and the caring staff at Alamo Nursing Home. Louise was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Nichols Shaw in 1983 her son, Robert Virgil Shaw in 2008; his wife Marilyn Shaw in 2012; her sister and brother Ruth (Newton) Dowsett and Carlton Newton; sister-in-law, Lois Shaw and her husband Virgil. Visitation will be Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. until service time at 11:00 a.m. at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Dr. (375-2900). A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center. Burial at Mt. EverRest Cemetery. Please visit Louise’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo of her and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Oshtemo United Methodist Church.