Shirley Shaw

Shirley Shaw

Shirley Shaw: A Gracious Centenarian

A much-beloved Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital fan, Shirley shared her observations on the occasion of her 100th birthday. On July 2, she died peacefully, and she will be remembered fondly by all who knew her. 

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On the table are scrapbooks with family photos and newspaper clippings marking life-changing events. Among the memorabilia are 1940s advertisements touting everything from kitchen appliances to Coca-Cola. The attractive young model featured in the ads is Shirley Shaw—a dear friend and longtime supporter of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. In February, Shirley turned 100—and we visited her at home to learn more about this remarkable centenarian.

Shirley was born in Lake Forest and grew up in the Chicago area. She first put down roots in Barrington when she married John Shaw in 1946. The son of phenomenally successful publisher Arch W. Shaw, John was a great match for Shirley. The couple shared interests in gardening, golf and philanthropy—and Shirley continued to model by volunteering her services for charity fashion shows. She and John soon had an active family life with their sons, Arch and Bruce. Arch still lives nearby, while Bruce hails from the Boston area. They have given Shirley four grandchildren and a great grandchild.

Gardening and golf

For a long time, the Shaws lived on Brinker Road in Barrington, where a sea of daffodils could be seen from the road each spring. It was part of Shirley’s passion for gardening—as was her longstanding dedication to The Garden Club of Barrington, well-known for its philanthropic, educational and civic contributions to the region. While Shirley is now an “armchair gardener,” she still loves flowers—and her home is adorned with orchids. Shirley also confesses to being what she calls a “golf bum”—and brags about being a “good putter.” She’s long been a regular at the Barrington Hills Country Club course, and before John’s death in 1990, the two played at Onwentsia in Lake Forest. While spending the winter in Arizona, she won a ladies 9-hole tournament at the tender age of 86!

Care to count on

Asked how it feels to turn 100, Shirley says, “I don’t feel any different. I’ve had a very good life, and I am thankful for what I’ve had.” She is also thankful for the care she’s received at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. With help from her caregiver, Annie Kern, RN, Shirley shared the tale of her recent medical trials and the extraordinary comeback she’s made.

In August 2013, Shirley’s longtime orthopedic doctor Frederick Locher, MD, referred her to young, new orthopedic surgeon Jeremy Oryhon, MD, to treat the pain in her right hip joint, which had been replaced in 2007. By the fall, a staph infection that had caused abscesses was diagnosed, and intravenous antibiotics were prescribed. After several consultations, Shirley bravely chose to go through the long process of removing the prosthesis, replacing it with a spacer that was pre-loaded with antibiotics, and then having a new hip joint put in. She and Annie discussed whether to have the procedures done at a downtown hospital, but Shirley was adamant about staying close to home. Most importantly, Annie says, “She felt confident in the care at Good Shepherd Hospital.”

Shirley’s confidence proved well-placed, and she managed to get through each procedure and rehabilitation process under the direction of Dr. Oryhon. Despite his youth, she soon felt certain of his competence and became fond of him, as well. “I love him,” she says. As for her hospital stay at Good Shepherd, Shirley reports, “The care was superb. They were very attentive…just wonderful.”

Leadership to respect

Among Shirley’s frequent visitors was Karen Lambert, president of Good Shepherd Hospital. Karen came to see Shirley because she simply enjoys her company. “She’s really a delightful person—and sharp as a tack,” Karen says. The admiration is mutual. Shirley observes that the people who work for Karen respect her and appreciate her leadership in moving forward with the hospital’s campus-wide modernization project. “She’s fabulous,” Shirley says. “They’re lucky to have her.”

By June of last year, Shirley was up and about, insisting on inviting friends to lunch at the Barrington Hills Country Club. Annie snapped a picture of her that day, and she looked as lovely as ever.

A tradition of giving

When thanked for her family’s longtime support of Good Shepherd Hospital through the Arch W. Shaw Foundation, Shirley just smiles and says that three generations of the Shaw family have made charitable investments in health care simply because it is such a critical need. Her recent experiences have deepened her affinity for Good Shepherd and her understanding of its modernization project that will bring private rooms, consolidated services and advanced operating suites to the hospital. She’s also especially glad orthopedic surgeons like Dr. Oryhon will have a dedicated orthopedics floor in the new pavilion.

Shirley has one complaint, though. An avid sports fan, she finds watching sporting events on TV a key element of her healing process, and the options are limited. She recommends offering inpatients an upgrade on sports channels—especially during playoffs!