Sunday, June 11, 2017

Robert L. Shaw (1943-2017)

Robert Shaw (1943-2017)
Eugene architect Robert Shaw passed away in April. He was 73 years old. Unfortunately, I cannot claim to have known him as a friend. He quietly maintained his practice for many decades, during which he produced a variety of small commercial, ecclesiastical, and residential projects. Robert was not a member of either the American Institute of Architects or the Construction Specifications Institute, the two organizations through which I’ve come to know the majority of Eugene’s architectural community; regardless, I feel duty-bound to acknowledge Robert should there be some among those who knew him well who were not aware he has left us. 

The following is Robert’s obituary. Note the date and place of the memorial service planned by his family. 

Robert L. Shaw, local architect and Eugene resident of 55 years, passed away peacefully on April 13 at his home in Eugene from natural causes. He was 73 years old. 

Robert, known to many as Bob, was born in Grants Pass in 1943 to Elizabeth Chamberlin Shaw and Melvin Shaw, and raised in The Dalles, graduating from The Dalles High School. In high school, he aspired to become an architect, or a pilot. The University of Oregon’s School of Architecture drew him to Eugene, where he stayed for the city’s peaceful ambience and forested hills. 

In 1967, he married Kimberly Gish and they had a daughter, Megan, who he raised in Eugene. The marriage ended in divorce. 

In 1968, he was drafted into the Army and became a First Lieutenant and construction engineer and builder for the 18th Engineer Brigade of the Corps of Engineers in Southeast Asia. He was proud for the rest of his life of having designed and built Army hospitals. His other point of pride from that time was that all the men under his command survived their tours of duty. 

After graduating from the U of O in 1971 and obtaining his architecture license, Robert practiced architecture in Eugene up to the time of his death. During his decades of service to that profession he created many Oregon buildings, both residential and commercial, specializing in energy efficiency and artistry in design. 

In 1979, he obtained his pilot’s license and piloted recreational flights for friends and family around the Pacific Northwest. Later in life he augmented his professional work with volunteer service for organizations including Bring Recycling and the Eugene Public Library, as well as International Bird Rescue in California where he was an architect of flight aviaries. 

To family, friends, and colleagues he was known throughout his life as a gentle, spiritual man who loved animals. His whimsical artworks, original use of language, and droll sense of humor brought delight to those close to him. He was a loving father, brother, uncle, and friend. 

Robert is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Megan Shaw Prelinger and Rick Prelinger of San Francisco; sister Betty Root of Yakima; stepson Chris Hazen of Eugene (Cindy Chan); and by their respective families, including niece Randi Maddox, nephew Rusty Root, and grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and step-grandchildren. Friends of Mr. Shaw are welcome to join the family in remembering his life at a gathering on Tuesday, June 20, 5:30-7:00 PM at the picnic shelter in Hendricks Park. Donations in his memory can be made to Greenhill Humane Society.

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