A photo of James William “Bill” Shaw

James William “Bill” Shaw

October 13, 1946 - January 24, 2021

James William “Bill” Shaw, loving husband, father, and grandfather, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, January 24, 2021, surrounded by his family.

Bill was born in Norfolk, VA and moved to Delaware as a young boy with his parents and younger brother, Steve. He was a graduate of William Penn High School, class of 1965. Bill was a retired Master Sergeant (MSG) of the U.S. Air Force, which he joined right out of high school and actively served for 31 years. Soon after enlisting, he met the love of his life, Patsy, while stationed at England Air Force Base in Louisiana. Shortly after their marriage, he was deployed to serve in Vietnam as a flying crew chief.

After returning home from war, Bill and Patsy spent a year in Tacoma, WA on assignment then settled in Bear, DE. He made his career working at the Chrysler Newark Assembly plant as a Quality Engineer for more than 30 years. Outside of work, Bill served in the Air Force Reserve Command and stayed busy with life. He was a member of the VFW Post 475 in Newark and of the C7A Caribou Association, and enjoyed attending several of their reunions. Bill loved cars and was an avid NASCAR fan. The sound of the races echoed throughout the house for all his years; Bill would wake up from a slumber if one dared to change the channel, insisting to put the race back on and that he “was watching that”.

He was extremely smart and a quick thinker. While working and providing for his family, Bill proudly earned his engineering degree in 1980. He was also innovative, creative and resourceful, which showed throughout his life and workmanship. Bill was able to fix just about anything, from lawnmowers to cars, to building a log-splitter or a shed and he even installed a pool for his family. He loved to work on many projects in the garage, and spent time cutting wood to stock up for the wintertime. Bill enjoyed his retired years with his best friend and beloved dog, Tucker, and relaxing with his wife while watching their weekly television shows. Bill was eternally optimistic. In light of his sufferings, he never gave up or complained. Bill kept his projects moving forward the best he could, and refused to accept his growing limitations. He was still ordering tractor wheels, even in his last few days of life. Bill had an indomitable spirit, was strong willed and had a huge heart. He never failed to make us laugh with his knack for one liners or situational analogies. Bill is going to be sorely missed by his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, James Thurman Shaw; mother, Anna Shaw; and his best four-legged friend, Tucker. Bill is survived by his wife of 54 years, Patsy R. Shaw; son, James M. Shaw (Vincentia) of Bear, daughter, Patricia A. Rhodes (Earl) of Fort Worth, TX; brother, Stephen Shaw of Vermilion, OH; and granddaughters, Victoria Shaw, Ashlyn Shaw, Brenna Shaw, Kelsey Shaw, and Gracie Rhodes.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 11 am until 12:30 pm on Monday, February 15, 2021, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 275 East Main Street, Middletown, DE, followed by a funeral service at 12:30 pm. An honorable interment will be held privately in Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Bear, DE.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests considering donations to The Disabled Veterans of America, or the Wounded Warrior project. 

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7 Condolences for James William “Bill” Shaw

  • Rudy and I send our deepest condolences. Bill will be sorely missed. Love to all.

  • Poppop was the man. He was always very helpful and was a great grandfather. Always helped me out with money, or food, or even a roof over my head. He was the best.

  • So sorry to hear about Bill’s Passing, We worked at Chrysler in the same Department, we also shared time in the Air Force Reserve. I still have the ramps he repaired for me. RIP My Friend, USAF 4 LIFE…

  • May God be with you. Enjoyed working and going to school with you.

  • So sorry for your loss & thoughtful & thankful for his service to our country keeping all Americans free to have a better life.

  • My brother was responsible for my passion for auto mechanics and vehicles in general. We never had a phone call that didn’t include something about sports cars, hot rodding or general repair. Visits always included hours talking and working on vehicles. Even when his health was failing his interest didn’t fail, only his ability to work on them, yet he never complained.
    I miss him and only regret that life got in the way of us spending more time together.
    I love you brother.

  • Patsy & Family,

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Bill was a one of a kind guy, for sure. I used to work with him at Chrysler back around 1999-2000. I remember him under that old station wagon he was always working on. He loved to fix anything that was broke. And he always had time for his friends and coworkers if they needed anything fixed.

    I will pray that you and your family are comforted as you grieve together and that Bill will rest peacefully in heaven!

    P.S.; You may not remember me. But i was the guy who used to come to your place in Caravel Farms and try to fix your computer. Hope it’s working ok for you now!

    Tom Pruitt