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Roger Bruce Shaw
June 19, 1943 ~ September 27, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
Roger Bruce Shaw, known by Bruce, of Oberlin, Ohio, was born to Roger Morey Shaw and Mary Miller Shaw in Cleveland. They returned to Oberlin where his father was on the faculty until 1946 when his father was asked to head the restoration of authentic history in Germany through the Marshall Plan. He spent ages four-five in Munich and when they returned to the USA, his father accepted a position with the Department of Educational Administration at Kent State University’s College of Education. Bruce attended school in Kent, graduating from Kent State University High School in 1961 after swimming competitively and becoming an Eagle Scout.
That same year his father was selected to head up the creation of the first teacher training college in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), brought Bruce to Dar Es Salaam for two years. While there, President John F. Kennedy launched the Peace Corps. When an independent American was needed to arrange for some 200 volunteers to teach in the nation’s schools, Bruce took on the job of selecting the postings. He was trained by a seasoned hunter and went out into the bush with a suitcase and a Land Rover. He enjoyed the work and met dozens of respected district officers along the way. Unbeknownst to him, it was the beginning of a long and storied career in international development.
From Dar Es Salaam, he returned to the states and to Syracuse University where he received his BA in international relations. While he was there Syracuse won the program to train Peace Corps volunteers heading to Africa. They needed someone to teach the volunteers the Swahili language. It was a stroke of luck for both the university and Bruce as he was easily their Swahili expert. After graduating from Syracuse, he pursued a master’s degree in international education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and worked for their Institute of Social Research while earning his degree in organizational development.
From Ann Arbor he accepted an appointment as a program associate for information development at the National Science Foundation in Washington DC. His next post was with the US Agency for International Development (USAID). He was involved with the development of the planning for technology transfer, organizational development and the use of this information in Ghana. He subsequently worked in Ghana during times of severe political unrest and survived a coup before returning to the USA.
In 1985 he returned to Ann Arbor to complete his doctorate. Instead he fell in love and married Judy Auer. He’d known Judy all his life—their fathers both taught at Oberlin College and their families remained close friends over the years. Small world. They enjoyed thirty-eight years together along with their beloved daughter, Rachel Anne. He watched proudly as she graduated from nursing school at Emory University and developed into a natural communicable disease specialist. They spent most of their married years in Moorestown, New Jersey, where they lived on a modest farm on the banks of the Rancocas Creek. It turned out his family actually lived on the creek when their ship came over to Philadelphia from England in the 1600s. Small world, indeed. When Bruce’s father, Roger, lost his sight to glaucoma, Roger moved in with the family in New Jersey. For a glorious ten years they enjoyed each other’s company and Bruce developed a skill for caring for the elderly. His career, which had been on hold for some time, kicked off again when he was asked to design the program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson family to provide in home care for the elderly before they needed to be in a more supportive eldercare facility. His work also led him to serve on the Board of Directors for the Greenleaf Retirement Home in Moorestown. He was later hired to manage the complete renovation of the facility to great success.
He fully supported his wife as she pursued a career in environmental protection and writing. They officially retired in 2016 and returned to his family home in Kent. He thoroughly enjoyed being back in the midwest and took his wife around the world on the Queen Victoria from January through April of 2023. It was the trip of a lifetime and Bruce enjoyed every minute of their time together. He fell ill with liver cancer in July and battled valiantly to stay with his family as long as he could. He will be missed and loved forever. He is survived by his wife, Judy Auer Shaw, his daughter, Rachel Shaw Kidanne, his son-in-law, Kiflu Kidanne and their twin daughters, Eleanor Shaw Kidanne and Judith Shaw Kidanne of Hyattsville, Maryland.
He will interred in the family plot at Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent in a private celebration of life on Monday, October 2 at 3:00PM. Those wishing to donate in Bruce’s memory may give to the American Cancer Society or the Moorestown Friends Meeting.
Services in care of Bissler & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory, 628 West Main Street, Kent, OH 44240.