On June 17, 1929, an amazing baby girl, Helen Lucille Shaw, was born in the four-way-stop town of Atlas, Illinois. The middle child and only girl of three, she grew up stubborn and self-sufficient, outliving her parents Gladys and Ed Garoutte and her brothers Jimmy and John Garoutte. Her education started in Atlas, Pleasant Hill, finally graduating from Pittsfield High School, Pittsfield, Illinois, in 1947. She moved to Louisiana, Missouri, to work for Ma Bell as a telephone operator, until she was swept off her feet by the love of her life, James Ralph Shaw, a dashing World War II veteran of the European Theatre. Their romance started on the dance floor to Big Band music, “The only good music” according to Helen. Helen and Jim married on August 14, 1949, first enjoying college life at the University of Illinois and then Western Illinois University, before settling down in Warsaw, Illinois. Helen lovingly raised five children: James Mikel, Rick Allen, Karrie Lynn, Karen Ann and Clay Thomas Shaw over the next thirty-six years. With the loss of her lifelong love and partner Jim in 1974, at the age of forty-nine, she went back to school to get her Secretary and Nurses Aide certification. She worked for a local nursing home until her mother required her tender care for the next twelve years until her death at age ninety-five. She was a Warsaw resident for thirty-seven years, an Atlas, Illinois, resident for a total of thirty years, and nineteen years in Kirksville, Missouri. She was an avid Kirksville Aquatic Center aerobics member, best known for announcing “Barn Door”, and correcting any changes in the routine. She was proud to be one of the oldest in her aerobics class. She was seen most evenings riding her three-wheeled bicycle with her black dog, affectionately termed Dorothy and Toto, around the high school and middle schools of Kirksville, making many friends along the way. She was a Brownie Scout/Girl Scout leader, courier of forgotten things for her children in school, taxi driver to skating rinks and horse shows, and a loving daughter, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and surrogate mother/grandmother to all of her children’s and grandchildren’s friends. She traveled all over the United States including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. She was a great co-pilot for horse shows and trail rides from Texas to Michigan. She was never one to turn down a chance to go on a trip. She was fearless in life, including driving a cart in horse shows at the age of seventy-seven. She was amazing, the glue of the Shaw family. She left this earthly place at the age of ninety-one and one-fourth years old on September 12, 2020. A feisty angel on earth as she will be in heaven. She leaves her legacy behind, including her children James “Mike” Shaw of Hamilton, Illinois, Rick and wife Barbara Shaw of Warsaw, Illinois, Karrie (Shaw) Baker of Pekin, Illinois, Dr. Karen (Shaw) and husband Dr. Tod Sylvara of Kirksville, Missouri, Clay Shaw of Anchorage, Alaska; grandchildren Casey and wife Amanda Shaw of Hamilton, Illinois, Ryan Shaw of Basco, Illinois, Ericka Shaw and significant other Austin Jarod Archie of Quincy, Illinois, Jennifer Baker, Benjamin Baker of Pekin, Illinois, John Sylvara and Jimmy Salvara of Kirksville, Missouri; great-grandchildren Abigail Shaw and fiancé Kyle Baumann of Quincy, Illinois, Cooper Shaw of Hamilton, Illinois, Addison Jade Archie of Quincy, Illinois, and Mahala Roberts-Shaw of Quincy, Illinois.
Helen’s life will be celebrated with a graveside service at 2 pm on Saturday, September 19, 2020, at Oakland Cemetery in Warsaw. Visitation will be held on Saturday from noon to 2 pm at Printy Funeral Home in Warsaw. For the safety of those attending, masks and social distancing practices are recommended. A celebration of life will also be held from 5 to 7 pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at Colton’s Steak House in Kirksville, Missouri.
Memorials may be directed to the Humane Shelter in Kirksville or the Ronald McDonald House.
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