David W. Shaw
Claim this Obituary
Merrimac, MA - It is with great sadness that the family of David W. Shaw announces his passing at the age of 84, after a 16-year battle with cancer. He passed peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.

Mr. Shaw was born in Brockton, Mass., in 1935, the son of Francis and Edna Shaw. He met the love of his life, Ruth Lord Shaw during their time at Bridgewater State Teachers' College and they married in July of 1957. They have four children: Nolan, Wendy, Heidi, and Dean. Nolan and his wife Terri gave them a grandchild, Hannah Shaw. In addition, he leaves a sister, Geraldine DeCosta; as well as many nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and -nephews.

Mr. Shaw was a member of the IOOF for more than 50 years.

He was a veteran, serving in the Army from 1957 to 1961. He spent the first two years of his service in Germany, an experience that fueled his lifelong love of travel and languages.

Upon resuming civilian life, he finished his master's degree and entered into a lifetime of service to the children of Merrimac and Amesbury, spending 15 years as a teacher and 20 as an administrator, including serving as the first principal of Merrimac's Red Oak School. Throughout his career, he was known for his creative approach to teaching and his devotion to his students, particularly those who were struggling. Of all the accolades he received for his work, the one he spoke most often and most proudly of was the moment when he overheard a child in a school corridor pointing him out to a new student with the words, "That's Mr. Shaw. He's a wicked awesome teacher!"

To colleagues and friends, he was known for his sense of humor. Legend has it, he may have had something to do with a colleague's brand new red sports car being temporarily replaced in the parking lot by an old typewriter on a sled-both with a fresh coat of bright red paint.

Mr. Shaw was a true Renaissance man, with an interest in history and genealogy and talents in music, art and writing. He played guitar, piano and organ, wrote and illustrated children's books and poetry, designed several lines of stationery and worked with equal facility in ink, pencil, oils, and pastels.

His greatest talent was recognizing and nurturing the latent talents in everyone around him. He was proud of his gardens, but his greatest garden was the one he was too humble to talk about-the hundreds of people of all ages who grew and blossomed because of his guidance and presence in their lives.

Calling hours will be held at the Highland Chapel of Paul C. Rogers Family Funeral Home, 2 Hillside Avenue, Amesbury, on Friday, November 29, from 4 to 8 p.m. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 30, at 11 a.m., at the Kingston Congregational Church. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to New England Kurn Hattin Homes, P.O. Box 127, Westminster, VT 05158.
Published on November 27, 2019


Send flowers
in memory of David
Send flowers

Obituary published in


Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.
The guestbook expires on February 24, 2020.

Showing 10 of 20 posts

Doug Williams
Dec 05, 2019
My wife and I had the good fortune of working with Dave for many years in the Amesbury School system. He was truly a gifted and caring man who always had a kind uplifting word for everyone and an accompanying smile. Dave often used his talents to create unique art work that he generously shared with his friends and co-workers or used to entertain and educate his students. He was a creative educator as well as a nurturer. Ruthie, we are so sorry that you have lost your life's partner and your children have lost their Dad.
Margo Killoran
Dec 03, 2019
Mr. Shaw not only genuinely cared about his students and his staff but he tended them much as he must have his garden. Always finding your strengths and nurturing and encouraging them. He was always visiting various schools -- making himself accessible to all. Not too many like him today. The world needs more people like him. Heartfelt condolences to his family.
Annette Autiello
Dec 02, 2019
Words can’t express my deep sorrow in the passing of such a wonderful caring gentleman. I was just a young women when we meet and he was Assistant Principal. Over the years I observed what an outstanding educator Dave became. His love of family showed in every aspect of his life. There are many young people who are grateful that they encountered such a dedicated educator and fine human being. My sympathy to his devoted Ruth and his family. I will keep you all in my prayers during this very difficult time. Deepest sympathy, Annette
Betsy Washburn
Dec 01, 2019
I was so very sorry to find out Dave had passed.Dave was a wonderful person and a great neighbor. I will really miss him.
Jerome Bailey
Nov 29, 2019
We are just hearing about the passing of your beloved husband, Ruthie, at this very hour and we want you to know that we grieve with you. The road to you is no longer than it has ever been and we would be on it tomorrow save for the fact that an aunt has also passed and our attendance is expected. Dave Shaw meant the world to me. As much as any cousin or brother. Please know that while we morn the passing of Aunt Faith that we will be thinking and praying for you.
Clarissa Taylor
Nov 28, 2019
Mr. Shaw was my very first principal when I worked at AES. He had the greatest smile. He was sweet, fair, supportive, and a good listener. He was loved by the students that attended AES. He was kind and down to Earth. He was easily accessible to all the staff and students. It was such a sad day when Mr. Shaw retired from AES. He will be missed. My condolences to the Shaw Family.
Vicki Sarasin-Martin
Nov 28, 2019
I will forever remember this amazing man with love....and a smile!
Karen Bourque
Nov 27, 2019
Mr. Shaw, was not only a great teacher, and admired, he was a terrific person, he was a pleasure to be around. He found something positive in all his students.. I loved being in his classes. His upbeat positive vibe, made it fun to go . He was so proud , showing us the slides with his family traveling all over the country. He was hands done , one of my favorite teachers. He touched the lives of so many
Rest in peace. Mr Shaw
Art & Helene Palmer
Nov 27, 2019
So thankful we got to know Dave & Ruth so much better while attending church and a bible study. Dave was a wise & thoughtful man....gentle and a gentleman. After a long, difficult siege, he is free from pain and enjoying heaven. Our love and prayers for all the family.
Carol Feingold
Nov 27, 2019
My son Benjamin (now aged 41) attended Amesbury Elementary School when Dave Shaw was the principal there. He was always very sweet and attentive to the needs of his students and their parents. My son's first reaction to the news of Dave's death was "Awww. He was always so kind," and he was. We are so very sorry for your loss.
Sue LeBlanc
Nov 27, 2019
RIP Mr. Shaw. You had such a huge impact on my life. I loved math all through school thanks to you and looked up to you every time I came into the Elementary School for my kids. You will be greatly miss. My condolences to his wife and children.