Roderick Ross "Rod" Shaw

Shaw, Roderick "Rod" Ross
Rod, 93, has walked on. Rod was born on the Salt River Pima - Maricopa Indian Community in 1920 to Ross K and Anna Moore Shaw. It was a time when only two dirt roads, Thomas and Indian School, connected the Community to the rest of the world. Rod enlisted in the US Army shortly after graduation from Phoenix Union High School. WWII found Sergeant Chief running a squadron of jungle fighters in the China Burma India Theater where he received two Purple Hearts and the Silver and Bronze Stars as a member of Merrill's Marauders. After the war, Rod met and married Selma Reams and began his career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Rod retired as an auditor from the BIA after stints in Arizona, Montana and Colorado and returned to the Salt River Community to care for his elderly father. Two of Rod's great passions in life were language and music. As a youth he became fluent in Spanish picked up from his central Phoenix Spanish speaking friends, in Pima from summers spent on the Salt River and in German which he learned in high school. As an adult his love of language continued as he studied other languages such as Russian, Italian and Yiddish. Rod was known to banter in Mandarin, learned during his WWII time in China, with the staff of a Chinese restaurant. He started violin as a youth and continued on as an adult, culminating with chairs in the Phoenix and Billings Montana Symphony Orchestras. He also played classical and flamenco guitar. Rod possessed a photographic memory, was a great imitator and thus was a fantastic story teller. All who knew Rod marveled at his tales of Native Americana and WWII military life. Rod is survived by his daughter Monica, son-in-law Kent and great grandchildren Fantasia, Tia, Phayd and Alia. He was preceded by his wife Selma, daughter Shirley, grandson Joseph, parents Ross and Anna, sister Adeline and brother Bill. Burial will be at 10:00AM on Saturday, Dec. 14th at the Salt River Cemetery followed by a celebration of Rod's life at the Salt River Memorial Hall at 9849 E. Earll Drive.

Published in The Arizona Republic from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15, 2013