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The bells were ringing at midnight that New Years Day in 1931 when Donald Benjamin Shaw entered the world celebrating a new year and a new baby, born to LaRue and Alice (Nichols) Shaw. He joined his six other siblings on a farm north of Mandan, North Dakota. Farm life and the outdoors would be a huge part of his life, as he grew up to enjoy fishing, hunting, farming, and ranching along the banks of the Missouri.
His quest for learning was soon recognized, as he entered the small country school at a young age. In 1947, at the young age of 16, he graduated from Mandan High School. He tried teaching at the country school for a short time, but being a quiet young man, and younger than some of his students, soon caused many challenges. After that he spent a few years in Seattle with his sister and worked at Boeing, but his heart was always in North Dakota and returned to help on the family farm.
He soon met a beautiful young girl from Maine who came to North Dakota to visit her sister who had married his older brother. This meeting would shortly require a trip to Scarboro, Maine to marry Honey (Estella) Gray on December 13, 1952. They returned to North Dakota via train, and made their life long home on the very farm he had grown up on.
They raised four girls and one boy in that old farmhouse along the Missouri, so life was always pretty busy. He started working a few months after the opening of the Mandan Oil Refinery, first as a Powerhouse Operator, and later as an Operations Supervisor. He also headed up the Fire Brigade at the Refinery. His love for firefighting also spurred him and another man to start the Mandan Rural Fire Department, where Donald was the Assistant Chief for many years and later the Chief, until his first heart attack in 1998 forced him to retire. He was also a trained CPR instructor and a paramedic and on the water rescue squad.
With the closing of the rural school where his children attended, he saw the need for a bus system for the Mandan Public Schools. So he helped organize the first school bus system for Mandan, now one of the largest bussing programs in the state.
Even with his busy shift-work schedule at the Refinery, he still found time to do book work for the Golden Age and Meals on Wheels, and volunteered in other capacities too. When he retired from the Refinery in 1988, his volunteering increased. He also kept himself busy enjoying retired life with golfing, traveling, and bowling. Don and Honey traveled to several countries including; England, Ireland, Costa Rico, New Zeeland, Australia, Nova Scotia, several Caribbean Cruises, and another breathtaking cruise to Alaska. They went to Arizona to visit other snowbirds several winters, but Donald’s heart always missed his home in North Dakota.
He was an also an active member of the Mandan Lions Club and a member of the Elks. He was very involved at the First Presbyterian Church in Mandan where he was the longest time member until his death.
Donald never lost his love for learning and reading, and was often found with a book in his hand. He taught himself to speed read as a young man, and could read a good size novel easily in a day. He loved to read about airplanes, and had an extensive knowledge of them, although he never got a pilots license to fly. But on March 31, 2018, he didn’t need a pilot’s license as he took flight and left this earth for a better place.
His parents, six siblings, and one son-in-law preceded Donald in death. He is survived by his wife of 65 years Honey (Estella) Shaw, and five children: Dawn (Doug) Diehl, Rapid City, SD, Debbie Shaw, Mandan, ND, Kim Shaw, Mandan, ND, Kelley Reuer, Kenmare, ND, LaRue (Tracie) Shaw, Bismarck,ND. Grandchildren: Dustin (Faith) Diehl, Omaha, NE, Destri (Jesse) Fagerland, Rapid City, SD, Tyson (Sarah) Reuer, Tulsa, OK, Philip Reuer, Washington DC, Kristi Reuer, Kenmare, ND, True Shaw, Bismarck, ND. And Great Grand Children: Juniper Diehl, Josiah, Remi, and Skyler Fagerland, Kadence, Selah, and Ezra Reuer. One sister-in-law, Elsie Shaw, and many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Don's Life will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church in Mandan. Burial will be at Mandan Union Cemetery. A gathering of family and friends will be held from 7 to 8 pm on Friday, April 6, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church, Mandan.
Memorials are preferred to Mandan Golden Age Services or First Presbyterian Church of Mandan.