Mary Dearden Shaw

ShawMary Dearden Shaw, 92, on April 3, 2018, in State College, Pa. Mardy was born on November 14, 1925, in Philadelphia, Pa., to Marion Craig and Henry Dearden, and was a birthright member of Chestnut Hill Meeting in Philadelphia. She graduated from Germantown Friends School in 1943. While a student at Earlham College, she met her beloved Mark Shaw. They agreed to marry shortly before Mark left for rural China to work for a two-year American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) project. After graduating in 1947, she joined him in China. AFSC had extended his contract, and they married in a Quaker ceremony in Chungmou, China, in 1948. They lived in China and then Hong Kong, where their first child was born, for two years. After returning from China, they spent a year in Philadelphia and then moved in 1951 to State College for Mark to continue his education at Pennsylvania State University and in time join the faculty.

They joined State College Meeting, and in her 67-year membership she served on many, if not all, committees. She was a member of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Life Council and the Education Standing, Annual Fund, and Worship and Ministry Committees. She worked for the AFSC Clothing Committee and was active in the founding of State College Friends School, serving on its board of trustees and volunteering there as a reading specialist.

With her usual can-do attitude, she helped Mark build a large new house for their family, now with five children. She also found time to return to graduate school at Penn State for teaching and reading specialist certification. In 1967, the family moved to Pune, India, for a four-year project cosponsored by Penn State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. There she took classes in watercolor and batik and volunteered with a local orphanage, adding some Indian vocabulary (Marathi and Hindi) to her mastery of Chinese.

Back in the United States, she taught in the State College Area and Bald Eagle Area School Districts, first as a classroom teacher and then as a reading specialist. She and Mark continued to travel, including another year in China in 1984. After retirement, she took classes in sculpture, soon filling the house with her work. She loved gardening, both in their yard in State College and at their summer home in Lempster, N.H.

In 2006 she and Mark moved to Foxdale Village Retirement Community, where she served on the board of trustees, the Foxdale Residents’ Landscape Committee, and several other committees. When Mark’s health declined, his care and comfort became her primary focus. After their 66 years of marriage, Mark died in 2015. Mardy was also predeceased by her sister, Kathleen Bahnsen; and a grandson, Carl Snare.

She is survived by five children, Karen Snare, Betsy Wells (Tony), Craig Shaw (Eileen O’Connor), Jennifer Nikel (Andrew), and Richard Shaw (Patricia Milford); six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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