Patricia Watson Shaw, a native and longtime resident of Mt. Vernon, died on Oct. 24, 2013, in Boonton, N.J. She was 86 years old. Private services will be held at a later time in Mt. Vernon.
The daughter of Harold G. Watson and Dorothy Emmerson Watson, she spent her early years in Springfield while her grandfather, Louis Lincoln Emmerson, served as Governor of Illinois.
She attended Walnut Hill School in Natick, Mass., and Northwestern University in Chicago. After World War II, she married John Livingston Werner and had two children, John and Hank. In 1956, she married Samuel Leslie Shaw and gave birth to twins, Gregory and Leslie.
She and her husband Sam were married for more than 50 years. They loved socializing and sailing and touring the Bahamas on their boat. Pat also had a keen interest in education and helping disadvantaged children. She served several terms on the Mt. Vernon Township High School school board. She also launched Project Excel, a volunteer tutoring program, in Mt. Vernon in the mid-80s.
When she and her husband retired to St. Simons, Ga., she worked with St. Simons Presbyterian Church to organize a tutoring and mentoring program for children in St. Simon’s Elementary School. She also supported the church’s efforts to help homeless people and served in the Stephen Ministry.
In 2010, she moved to Boonton, N.J., where her daughter Leslie lives. She served as a volunteer tutor with the Suburban Cultural Education Enrichment Program (SCEEP) at the Community Church of Mountain Lakes until her declining health forced her to stop. She supported Roots & Wings, an organization dedicated to helping former foster children make the transition to independent living. She also wrote a humor column—“Standing Pat”—for the newsletter of the Victoria Mews Assisted Living Facility.
Pat was an optimist. She loved life. She developed strong friendships with people who admired her spirit, strength of character and kindness wherever she went. And she believed in the importance of lifelong learning, studying navigation, marine biology, foreign languages, art, music, history and theology at different times in her life. Most of all, she was deeply devoted to her family.