East Lyme - Patricia Alice "Pat" Shaw, 77, of East Lyme, passed from this life to the next Sept. 19, 2019, at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, surrounded by her loving family.
Pat was hospitalized at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Aug. 30, 2019, and was subsequently transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital by Life Star helicopter. Physicians at Yale determined that Pat was suffering from severe encephalitis as a result of contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Pat was a strong person who fought courageously 25 years ago to become a breast cancer survivor, but she was unable to overcome the EEE infection. Pat was born March 17, 1942, in Lancaster, Pa., the only child of Lawrence Harrison Ross and Mary Flora (Reinhart) Ross, both of whom predeceased her at the ages of 93 and 92, respectively.
Pat was extremely proud of her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. She married her high school sweetheart, Dr. Gerald Shaw, a deacon at St. Matthias parish in Est Lyme, Nov. 21, 1964, in Parkesburg, Pa., and together they raised their three sons, Jeffrey (wife Robin) of Exeter R.I., Timothy of Pacifica, Calif., and Charles, of Braintree and Provincetown, Mass. She and her husband were looking forward to the celebration of their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary Nov. 21, 2019.
Pat was a lover of education. She completed her nurses training at the Lancaster General Hospital in 1963, and earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Millersville University in Pa. in 1965. She taught psychiatric nursing at St. Francis Hospital in Jersey City, N.J., while her husband completed his medical school education. After having their first son in June of 1966, Pat planned to take six weeks of maternity leave and return to her teaching job immediately, but she enjoyed being a mother so much, that it was several years, two more children, and several relocations later, before she returned to a job outside the house.
Pat was always blessed with a "yearning for learning," as she so often said. She was a voracious reader and was seldom seen without a book in her hand or one within easy reach. It was her goal to read a book a week, which she did. She kept a log of every book she read over the past 25 years. For many years, she served as a volunteer with Literacy Volunteers of America in the Southeastern Connecticut area, teaching those unable to read. She especially enjoyed working with those for whom English was not their native language.
Pat was always a person of deep faith. She was raised in a deeply religious Methodist family in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, where Catholics were few and far between. To the chagrin of many in her family, she managed to fall in love and marry one. After working with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor at St. Francis Hospital, she was drawn to join the Catholic church, and became a Catholic in April 1966. Since then, she has studied the Catholic faith in addition to living it, teaching it and passing it on to others. In 1998, she earned a master of arts degree in Moral Theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell.
She has been a life-long lover of animals, not only as pets, but in the wild. She and her husband have owned and cherished many dogs during their life together and her affection for her beloved Samoyeds is well known.
Creative and artistic, she enthusiastically produced many hand-crafted, cross-stitched and needle point gifts for special friends. She also crocheted baby blankets, baby caps and booties that she provided to various charitable organizations. She was generous and kind to all, always bringing laughter and joy to any gathering.
There is so much more that could be said to describe this incredibly unique individual, but her advice always was, "Keep it simple, sweetheart;" so her family will honor her wishes. She will be missed by her loving husband, sons, granddaughters, and all who knew her.
Pat's family will welcome relatives and friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 48 Grand Street, Niantic.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at St. Matthias Church, 317 Chesterfield Road, in East Lyme. Pat will be interred at the East Lyme Cemetery immediately following the Mass.
In lieu of flowers, please considering donating to the Humane Society of the United States in her memory. Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting www.neilanfuneralhome.com
Published by The Day on Sep. 22, 2019.