By John Rice
Jim Shaw's lasting legacy will be his longtime ownership of Doc Ryan's Bar and Grill and the contributions he made to the Forest Park community. The River Forest resident passed away, on Oct. 21, at the age of 73. Shaw, who was proud of his service in the United States Marine Corps, received full military honors at his visitation on Oct. 23.
Shaw owned 7432 Madison St. from 1985 to the day he sold it, Nov. 20, 2007. During that time he was a strong supporter of the Forest Park Main Street Redevelopment Association.
"Jim was a huge fan of Forest Park," his wife Cathy Shaw recalled. "Trick or Treat on Madison was a big hit with him."
Shaw once made a $10,000 donation to the village. Cathy noted that the Forest Park Police served as an escort for Shaw's funeral.
Shaw also had a full life away from Forest Park. He visited more than 50 countries, sailing with family members on cruise ships. He went with a friend to Africa. He visited Costa Rica five times and traveled to Spain and Italy, where he married Cathy.
"We had the privilege of meeting people from around the world and experiencing their culture," Cathy said. "It was a humbling life lesson that he shared with us."
Shaw was also proud of visiting all 50 states. Ever the card shark, he competed in the World Series of Poker, in Las Vegas. Out of a field of 6,000, Shaw finished at 384. In June 2009, Shaw and his wife drove a motorhome from Phoenix to Alaska's Denali National Park.
Upon their return, Shaw suffered a massive stroke. He never fully recovered but still managed to take a trip to New England.
"We tried to make his life as normal as possible," Cathy said. "He'd ask what time the Cubs game was on and what channel."
However, after he suffered a second stroke, he was confined to the Illinois Veterans Home, in south Manteno, IL.
"We met a lot of fabulous people there," Cathy said. "Jim had many visitors."
Back when he was overseeing 50 employees at Doc Ryan's, Shaw was terrible with names.
"He called Catherine O'Rourke 'Margaret' so many times, she answered to it," Cathy recalled.
But during his recovery, he learned the names of every doctor, therapist and nurse who cared for him.
"He also knew if they were married and their kids' names," Cathy said.
Shaw was preceded in death by his parents, James and Jean Shaw, and his stepson John Malone. He was the beloved father to Kim Shaw (Dan DeVries), Jenny (Brian) O'Neal, step daughter Ciara Malone and proud Papa of Ameila O'Neal. He was the brother of Patricia Johnson, Claudia Ahlgrim (Wesley) and Carol Shaw (Tom Dempsey). He was also uncle and friend to many.
"Jim was generous, compassionate, yet very pragmatic," Cathy said. "He was my strong, funny hero."
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the John J. Malone Scholarship Fund, 505 Washington Blvd. in Oak Park.
Correction: A previous version of this story depicted Cathy Shaw's name as Kathy Shaw. It has been corrected. Forest Park Review regrets the error.