Colin Stuart Shaw, 75, of Davidson, N.C., died peacefully at home on May 17, 2020. He was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer on April 21, 2020. Colin was born on June 19, 1944, in Jacksonville, N.C., to Dudley Graham Shaw Jr. and his wife Rosalyn Bryan Shaw (née Shaw), both now deceased.
On May 24, 1975, he married his best friend and soul mate, Ruth Gwynn Shaw. They shared a deep and remarkable love, and they enjoyed nothing more than each other’s company, whether hiking in the Colorado Rockies, on photo safari in Kenya, searching for beads in Beijing, snorkeling in the Caribbean, or sampling the wine country in France, Italy, Spain, Australia or California. It was all so good.
Colin grew up primarily in Pender County, N.C., and graduated from UNC Wilmington in 1967. He served as a public school teacher and principal, and was a local leader during school desegregation. After the birth of his daughter, Heather Stuart Shaw in 1968, Colin pursued a master’s degree in biology at East Carolina University. Upon completion, he taught biology, environmental science and anatomy and physiology at Martin Community College.
After their marriage, Colin and Ruth headed to Austin to pursue their Ph.D.’s. They continued to live and work in Texas for twelve years, raising Ruth’s son Henry Clifton Fleming. In 1982, son John Colin Shaw was added to the family. Colin headed the planning and accreditation offices for the Dallas County Community College District.
In 1986, the family returned to North Carolina, where Colin’s roots reached back to Scottish immigrants who had fled following the Battle of Culloden, with farmers, ministers and teachers living and working throughout the Cape Fear region and into Fayetteville.
They settled in Charlotte and moved to Davidson in 1996, to a home shaped by Colin’s aesthetic. He was an executive officer at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College from the late 1980s until 2000 when he retired to spend more time with his family and in volunteer work.
A born naturalist, Colin was a lifelong student and teacher, with both curiosity and encyclopedic knowledge about the natural world. His son John, wife Amy and grandchildren Gwynn and Dylan carry on this legacy. His grandson Emerson Fleming is cultivating his own talent for cooking, an interest developed by his grandfather, whose culinary skills were legendary in the family. Granddaughter Carter shares his keen intellect and dry sense of humor.
Marine environments had a special allure for Colin, and he loved their Ocean Isle Beach home “High Jinks,” which overlooked the wide marsh and intracoastal waterway. He also loved their old West Virginia farmhouse near the Greenbrier River Trail, where Ruth rode her horses and he practiced “horse husbandry.”
Colin developed a strong interest in wine, and built a fine cellar over the years. He was a past member of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin; a past board member and Volunteer of the Year for Charlotte Wine & Food; and a longtime member of Cru5.
Colin was an active youth sports coach and Boy Scout leader for many years. After his retirement, he volunteered frequently with Our Towns Habitat for Humanity. He served on the advisory board for Lake Norman Stand for Animals. He was a member of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church at the time of his death, and had been a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth Gwynn Shaw of the home; his children, John Colin Shaw, wife Amy and grandchildren Gwynn and Dylan Shaw, all of Hillsborough, N.C., Henry Clifton Fleming and grandchildren Emerson and Carter Fleming, all of Davidson, N.C., and Heather Stuart Shaw and granddaughter Phoebe Kroll.
Colin is also survived by his four siblings, William Graham Shaw and wife Patsy of Goldsboro, Mary Nell Anderson and husband John of Wilmington, Roberta Anne Smith and husband David of Wilmington; and Robinson McGregor Shaw and wife Pam of Harrells, N.C. He has many nieces and nephews, as well as cousins with whom he enjoyed happy times. His little dog Roxy will miss the soft heart and gentle touch of this kind, strong, wise man.
The family wishes to thank the many friends who offered support during the shockingly brief time between Colin’s diagnosis and his death. Despite the isolation of COVID-19, they found ways to show their care and lifted prayers. Special thanks go to Mercedes Ospina and Tim Mitchell for their help, and to Hospice and Palliative Care Lake Norman for their devoted care.
Private family funeral services are being held at the home by the Reverend Dr. William Pape Wood, retired senior minister of First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte. The Reverend Larry Lyon of Davidson College Presbyterian Church will assist. Ashes will be interred at Harmony Presbyterian Church, Harrells, N.C. At a later date, post COVID 19, a celebration honoring Colin’s life will be held.
Please direct memorial gifts to the Davidson Lands Conservancy, 907 Barra Row, Suite 202, Davidson, NC 28036 www.davidsonlands.org, or to Stand for Animals, 224 W. 32nd Street, Charlotte, NC 28206 www.standforanimals.org.
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home & Crematory of Mooresville served the Shaw family.