Cover photo for Seth T. Shaw, Jr.'s Obituary
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Seth T. Shaw, Jr.

April 20, 1934 — June 5, 2024


Seth T. Shaw, Jr.

Seth T. Shaw, Jr. passed away peacefully early in the morning of June 5, 2024 after a short illness, he was 90 years old. 

Born on April 20, 1934 in Provo, UT to Seth T. and Edith (Parkinson) Shaw, he grew up in Provo, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Washington, D.C. He received his undergraduate degree from Willam & Mary College in Williamsburg, VA and a MD and PhD from George Washington University in Washington, DC. He did his internship at Highland Alameda Hospital in Oakland, CA and two years of residency at Samuel Merritt Hospital also in Oakland. He then completed a three-year fellowship at the University of Minnesota and passed his boards in both anatomical and clinical pathology.

He spent his career with LA County, University of Southern California, and University of Chicago. He also devoted significant professional time to the World Health Organization. He spent many years researching contraception, patenting several IUDs. 

Though he never learned how to do more than make toast, he loved food and was an appreciative audience for anyone who cooked for him. He loved all cuisines, and spent his years in Chicago exploring the city’s wealth of ethnic restaurants. He loved to sample local cuisine during international travel and was game to try any dish. The only known exception was monkey brain, which felt a little too close to home.

He loved music, art, and landscape design. He had an ear for accents, making his basic Spanish and nearly nonexistent Italian sound authentic. He loved many types of music, but particularly mid-century jazz and could whistle any tune. Deep in his 80s he discovered, with no guidance from younger generations, a fondness for U2. He took great pleasure in designing and selecting the perfect plantings for his gardens in Rancho Palos Verdes, Hyde Park, and Oceanside. He learned a love of the Western landscapes from his father, who taught him to hunt and fish. His only kill was a single squirrel. Wracked with guilt, he gave up hunting for good before he was 12. He had no such reluctance with trout, enjoying innumerable fly fishing trips with his dad over a 60+ year period.

He spent much of his retirement researching and writing about the mountains that his son, Seth (S.T.) III, had climbed in the Americas and Asia. These meditations on ice, geology, and fauna brought him contentment and helped him process the loss of his son who died in an avalanche in Alaska in 2000. One of his most impressive accomplishments in the arts was his authorship of Saga of the Shawtooth. Written in Seussian rhyme, it was modeled on a favorite childhood book, Saga of the Sawtooth. Illustrated by his then young children, it delighted his immediate family yet incredibly never found a wider audience. He collected paintings his entire life, usually from local artists who caught his eye. When he made his final move from California to Hingham, MA in 2018, he was content to downsize everything except his art collection which adorned his new apartment walls, floor to ceiling, and were a marvel to all who visited.

In addition to his parents and son, he is predeceased by a daughter, Laura Ann. He is survived by his beloved sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Jerry Stokes of Clarksville AR, their three children Justin, Paget and Holly, and their families. He is also survived by his daughter-in-law Beth Malloy of Salt Lake City and Moab UT, and his daughter Suzanne Shaw, her husband Chris Fagan of Cambridge, MA, and two grandchildren Cullen Fagan of NYC and Owen Fagan of Cambridge of whom he was immeasurably proud. The family is grateful the extended Cowles cousins who “adopted” Tom while he lived in Oceanside, to Beth and the extended SLC climbing community who were generous with their memories of Seth (III), and to the caring staff at Linden Ponds Senior Living Community in Hingham, MA (especially Dr. Jennifer Tam and Benaja Eloise) who helped him maintain health and independence in the last years of his life.

Services are private.

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