Sarah Catharine Shaw (née Wright)

May 5, 1929 – November 3, 2021
The family of Sarah Catharine Shaw (née Wright) announce her passing on Nov 3, 2021.
Sarah was born May 5, 1929 in Toronto, Ontario to parents Bruce H. Wright and Kathleen H. Wright (née Gray). Predeceased by her Husband of 67 years, Paul Bailey Shaw, her parents, her in-laws, Charles Joseph Shaw and Frances Theresa Shaw (née O’Brien), brothers-in-law, Charles, Barry, Brien and Martin, sisters-in-law, Ruth, Doreen, her granddaughter Hilary Wicker-Shaw, her nieces, Consuelo Guy, Susan Shaw and Kathleen Shaw and by her nephew, Keith Shaw.
Sarah is survived by her sister Mary Martha Guy (Jean-Eudes), her brother-in-law John Shaw (Barbara), 8 children – Stephen (Elizabeth), Douglas (Jackie), Michael (Barbara), Cecily, Catherine (Larry), John (Karen), Patrick (Lori), and Paul, and by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Growing up, Sarah spent happy summers on Toronto Island surrounded by extended family.
She moved with her family to Montreal in 1946, attending Marianopolis College for one year. The next year she went to the art school connected to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts studying under artist Arthur Lismer, a member of the Group of Seven.
What she really wanted to do was study architecture, however her father, an architect himself, told her it was too hard and there was ‘no room for a woman in the drafting room’. Instead, at her parents’ insistence she studied Fine Arts at McGill University. That lasted one year. She was advised not to come back because she did not have the soul of an artist!
She transferred into the regular BA program and studied Geography and Math, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1951. While at University she met Paul Shaw at McGill’s Newman Club. They were married on September 19, 1953. After university she taught at the Priory School and the Sacred Heart Convent in Montreal for a few years until the first of her eight children was born.
Sarah and Paul and their growing family moved west to Calgary in 1967, Southern Alberta in 1973 and Nanaimo in 1981. Through the years Sarah held various part-time positions, volunteered and participated in the running of a number of small family businesses.
In their retirement years Sarah and Paul travelled, with Mackenzie Beach at Tofino being their favourite spot. Mom would walk the beach at dusk, calling it her ‘Holy Hour’. Together they combined Sarah’s love of art with Paul’s passion for family history and self-published a few illustrated books dealing with their lives and the Shaw and Wright families.
You could say Sarah was a stay-at-home Mom, however that wouldn’t tell the whole story. For a woman who was deemed to be ‘unsuitable to be an architect and lacked the soul to be an artist’, she spent a lifetime designing and painting. In her early 30’s Sarah designed a house that was built and became the family home for a few years.
Over the years she designed numerous houses, cottages, and in her 70’s, designed an addition to the family home. Sarah designed the newly constructed chapel at Bethlehem Retreat Centre in Nanaimo, where she served as a volunteer and Board member. Sarah cherished her time spent with the Benedictine Sisters of the House of Bread Monastery.
A prolific watercolour artist she sold some of her paintings however the majority of her artwork remains on permanent and proud display in the ‘art galleries’ of her children, grandchildren, extended family and friends.
For the last 5 years, Sarah and Paul resided at Nanaimo Seniors Village. The family thanks Dr. Dodo and all the wonderful staff at Nanaimo Seniors Village, and is grateful for the exceptional companionship and care provided by nurses Michelle, Erin, Filsan and Kristy.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.Obituary

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