John Shaw

Obituary of John S. Shaw

Obituary of: John Seymour Shaw 1923 - 2020 Born in Brooklyn, New York, March 4, 1923, John Seymour Shaw was one of the “Greatest Generation” who lived a long, fulfilling life until the age of 97 when he passed on May 8, 2020. He was the oldest of three brothers, including Robert, “Bud” and Richard, “Dick”. “Johnny” attended Nutley High School, Nutley, New Jersey. Soon after high school, John joined the United States Army Air Corps, predecessor of the U.S. Air Force. He went to basic training, officer school, fighter pilot training and bomber training. He met his future wife, June Langill, who served in the U.S. Navy (WAVE), at his best friend’s funeral in Braintree, Massachusetts, John and June wed on Christmas Eve 1944 at a church candlelight ceremony, in their military uniforms, prior to John’s deployment overseas. John was Second Lieutenant, fighter pilot of the United States Mighty Eighth Air Force during World War II, 1944 – 1946, 62nd Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group based at Boxted England. His nickname and call sign was "Shorty". John flew the formidable P-47 Thunderbolt fighter plane, patrolling the English coast over the Straights of Dover, and Bomber Escort runs where the P-47 Thunderbolt protected the B-17 and B-29 Bombers from Nazi fighter planes as they flew from Boxted England to Berlin in bombing raids to help end the war. John took part in three major battles: Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded a Battle Star for his participation in each of these battles. Like most WWII Veterans, John rarely talked about the War. However, one story he told was when the Bomber Airlifts took off, it was an ominous sight of squadrons of hundreds of Bombers, accompanied by P-47 Thunderbolts, in a huge airlift that blackened the sky as they flew over the Cliffs of Dover England to bomb the enemy in Berlin Germany toward the end of the War. John’s Commander was Brigadier General, Actor Jimmy Stewart. John was never shot down, but he crashed his plane twice during emergency landings, cartwheeling plane wing tips over wing tips during both crashes. Two weeks after both crashes, John’s plane was repaired and he was back flying the same plane. That is the kind of resilience that won the War. After John was discharged, he was promoted to First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force Reserves from 1952 – 1957. He was a member of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society, the Thunderbolts Pilots Association and Founding Member of the American Air Museum in Britain. After John returned to the States after the War, under the GI Bill, he attended Samson College, Geneva, New York in 1946 where his first daughter, Janet, was born. John and June purchased their home in Wyckoff, New Jersey, where he continued to live the remainder of his life for sixty-nine years as beloved husband and father. His second daughter, Julie, was born 10 years after Janet. John earned his Bachelor of Science, Business from New York University, Sterns Business School. After his internship at American Express in New York, John was employed at North Jersey Paper Company, Saddle River. As Vice President and General Manager for Swatek, Scott Paper distributer, Ridgefield Park, John was instrumental in package design until he retired after 35 years. In addition, John formed his own packaging company designing foam inserts to protect sensitive technical equipment for rockets, computers and medical equipment. John loved sailing – “It was the closest thing to flying,” he used to say. He kept his Sloop at Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club, Westport, Connecticut where he and his wife, June, were active members for 45 years. They sailed in Long Island Sound, along the New England Coast to Mystic Seaport, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Cape Cod to Maine. They sailed twice in the Caribbean around the British Virgin Islands. John also enjoyed playing golf, fishing and surf casting in Cape Cod and deep- sea fishing in the Bahamas. In addition, John and June enjoyed camping throughout New England, sailed on the QE2, traveled around the U.S., Hawaii and took an Alaskan Cruise. They traveled to Europe, England and Scotland where John discovered his Scottish heritage. John was a proud Scotsman who renewed family ties with Clan Shaw in the Highlands. Community service came second nature to John. He and his wife, June, founded the Wyckoff Community Club. John was a Boy Scout Master for over 10 years, an Usher at Wyckoff Reformed Church for 35 years, and an active member of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood. Upon retirement, John was a proud member of EAA Experimental Aircraft Association where he coached the Young Eagles group on aviation for 20 years. John enjoyed the Activities Unlimited’s Jazz Club. His favorite Jazz artists from the Big Band Era were: Pete Fountain, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Artie Shaw and New Orleans Jazz. His favorite singers were Sarah Vaughn, Helen Forrest, Theresa Brewer and the Andrew Sisters. He liked to go to NJ Stomps and Jazz Festivals and other jazz events. John’s wife, June, was an accomplished pianist who played John’s favorites, Boogie Woogie and the lilting, “Claire de Lune”. In sports, his favorite baseball team was the NY Yankees, and NY Giants football. John was an avid reader, including, Tom Clancy and James Michener novels. His favorite television series was, “The Honeymooners” with Jackie Gleason. His favorite foods were meatloaf, peanut butter, oatmeal cookies and homemade apple pie. Throughout his life, John witnessed amazing hallmarks of history. He lived through the Great Depression, WWII, achievements and technological advancements, from the Model “T” when he was little, to the advent of Television, Space race - Sputnik, John Glenn’s orbiting the Earth, Rocket launches, Space Shuttles, Astronauts landing on the Moon, International Space Station, age of Computers, the Internet and Cell Phones. As a respected WWII Veteran of the United States Army Air Corps, John Shaw served as an exemplary role model of the “right stuff” who established a standard of excellence for others to strive toward. * “Truth, Justice and the American Way” defined John. He was a devoted family man, loving father, grandfather and a proud patriot. It was fitting that the day John passed, May 8, 1945, was the 75th anniversary of VE Day that celebrates the unconditional surrender of Germany to the Allies, providing Victory in Europe and the end of Hitler’s five years of tyranny. John’s wife of 72 years, June Langill Shaw, passed on April 17, 2017 at the age of 93. John is survived by his two daughters, Janet Louise Shaw King and Julie Ann Shaw; Son-in-Law, James Michael King; three Grandchildren: Kerry Ellen Szymanski, Dusty Szymanski Sylvanson, Jason Scott Szymanski; and four Great Grandchildren, Noah Joseph Szymanski, Hunter James Szymanski, Leana Grace Szymanski and Kai Archer Sylvanson. *(motto from “Superman”)
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