February 19, 2020 ~ 24 Shevat 5780
Happy Shaw was born Frieda Theresa Scheer on June 28, 1928 in Eatonton, Georgia, an idyllic small town 75 miles southeast of Atlanta, the 3rd of four children. Her grandmother opened a modest dry-goods store there in the early 1900s, and Happy and her siblings grew up working in the store and helping her parents. Unusual for a small-town Southern girl, she grew up with strong, business-minded women, preparing her for future success in business.
After graduating from the University of Georgia, she took a job as a buyer of children clothes at a large department store in Atlanta. One of her suppliers was a handsome New Yorker, Irving Shaw, who asked her out only days after first meeting her – and, the story goes, proposed to her on their first date. Their marriage lasted for over 60 years and she delighted in being the mother of two sons.
Realizing that a busy garment business itinerary would make it difficult to grow a family, and with Happy as his dedicated supporter, Irv took a position in the Life Insurance business – which led to a move from Atlanta to Louisville to run a large regional agency in 1961. Eventually, Irv inaugurated his own agency with Happy as his ad hoc office manager and accountant. Together, they helped revolutionize the insurance industry by creating a national marketing firm for wholesaling life insurance, American Insurance Marketers, eventually re-christened Shaw American Financial Corporation. Happy helped Irv create and lead almost every local and national life insurance organization in the country, including Life Inc., LifeMark Partners and NAILBA.
A wonderful spouse, an engaged and involved mother, and business leader, she took up the nickname, “Happy”, and later legally changed her name to reflect her ever-optimistic disposition. Happy Shaw blazed the trail for many women who would follow her to take management and leadership roles in the insurance business.
Happy is survived by her younger brother, George Moses Scheer, Jr. (and his spouse Michele Grey Scheer); son, Richard Hale Shaw (and his spouse, Dr. Kimberlyn Leary); son Jonathan Adam Shaw (and his spouse, Maria Shaw); granddaughter Stephanie Walters (and her spouse Brian Walters), and grandson Jonathan Blake Shaw.
The Shaw family would like to thank the associates at Jefferson Manor and her special caregiver, Beth Sawyer.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 23, 2020 at Herman Meyer & Son, Inc, 1338 Ellison Ave. with visiting starting at 1 p.m. Memorial gifts to The JCC Building Campaign are appreciated.