If you’ve ever had the privilege of sitting in a room and swapping stories with Tom Shaw Sr., you’ll understand why this man who helped to develop much of West St. Louis and St. Charles counties will be so very sorely missed. Tom knew everyone. Or at least that’s how it seemed.
His father, Charles A. Shaw, and Joseph Francis founded Shaw-Francis Inc. in 1922. Later, Tom took over the company, changed its name and moved it from Clayton to Chesterfield. In an interview with West Newsmagazine, Tom said his love of horses encouraged his move to West County. He enjoyed cutting horses [trained in separating cattle from a herd], both raising them and showing them. His daughter Debbie Shaw Franke and his son Tom Shaw Jr. were champions in the field.
With the company’s westward expansion, the business of listing horse ranches and farms became a major company focus. In the ensuing years, thousands of acres were sold and developed into Beacon Hill, Forest Green Estates, Cheri Acres, Westbury Manor, Village of Green Trails, Christmas Valley, Shepard Ridge, Deepwoods and numerous others.Tom was a founder of Chesterfield Area Civic Progress [CACP], a civic organization that sprang up in 1987 and continues today as Progress 64 West, whose mission is to promote the responsible growth of commerce in West St. Louis and St. Charles counties, with particular emphasis on the I-64 corridor from I-270 westward to I-70. Tom was exceedingly proud of the progress brought about by the collaboration and collective efforts of this group of local leaders, whom he counted among his friends and neighbors.
In an October 2012 article in West Newsmagazine, Tom said of Progress 64 West: “The idea was to create some kind of entity that could cross all the boundaries and bring people together on issues that had a broad impact.” Tom had that same effect on people. Maybe because he was so good at telling stories and sharing the histories of both West St. Louis and St. Charles counties.
Tom passed away on Oct. 24 at age 88.
He is survived by his wife, Katherine Shaw [nee Bova] of Defiance, Missouri; his five sons, Tim [Jeri] Shaw of Las Vegas, Nevada; Tom Shaw Jr. of O’Fallon, Missouri; John [Sue] Shaw of Wildwood; Adam [Cynthia] Williams of Sunset Hills; Bradley Williams of Defiance; and his two daughters, Cathy [Bill] Shaw Connely of Wildwood; and Debbie [Jim] Shaw Franke of Ellisville.
Tom was a proud grandfather to Matthew John [Erin] Shaw, Patrick Shaw, Baby Billy Ray Connely, Ravin Williams, Riley Williams, Elizabeth Franke, Alexandra Franke, Elise Williams, Corinne Williams, Sheena Mulhall and Becky Kronauge; and great-grandfather to Millie Ray Mulhall.
He was preceded in death by his father, Charles A Shaw; his mother, May Shaw [nee Sutcliffe]; son, Steve Shaw; brothers, Charles Major Shaw and Jimmy Shaw; and sister, Betty Prouty.
A celebration of Tom’s life will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at St. Louis Family Church, 17458 Chesterfield Airport Road, in Chesterfield Valley. Guests will be able to visit with the family in the church for one hour before the service, from 6-7 p.m., and again after the service in Club XL on the church grounds.
The service will begin promptly at 7 p.m.
Memorial remembrances may be made to: The Alzheimer’s Association, 9370 Olive Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132, or St. Louis Family Church directly or in care of Pitman Funeral Home, 1545 Wentzville Parkway, Wentzville, MO 63385.