MaryAnn Shaw embodied the brave spirit of a pioneer woman. She was strong, independent, spunky, and outspoken but at the same time, a kind and caring friend, loving wife and mother, and a doting grandmother and great-grandmother. Her tomboy nature from the start carried over to later life as no task was too daunting. MaryAnn was as adept behind the wheel of a tractor as she was in the kitchen baking pies or canning apple sauce. She was one of the first women in Idaho to list her occupation as “farmer” instead of “housewife”, and was a true partner running all aspects of the family farm. In her youth, she competed with the local boys to win the Idaho 4-H Award for Agriculture in 1947 and was recognized nationally at the award conference in Chicago. She was one of the few women who have served as a Master of the Grange. As the last leader of the Tensed Grange she led the effort to donate the Grange Hall to the City of Tensed for a Community Center. MaryAnn was a hard worker and the children who grew up in her household learned early that there was not “man’s work” or “woman’s work” there was just “work” and everybody shared in it.
MaryAnn was born October 31, 1931 in a farm house at Mockonema, near Colfax, WA as the fifth child of Doc and Estella Hughes. When she was school age, the Hughes family bought a farm south of DeSmet near Sanders where she went to elementary school across the road at the little Highland Country School. She attended Plummer High School where she was on the starting line-up for the girls’ basketball team.
She met the love of her life, Eldon Shaw, when he was to give her guitar lessons. They were married on November 9, 1947 at the Plummer Congregational Church. She moved just 3 miles down the road to the Shaw family farm where she lived for the next 71 years. Eldon and MaryAnn raised four children: Eldonna Shaw-Davis, Danny Shaw, Cathy Shaw Horlacher and Teresa Shaw Nygaard. They shared nine grandchildren: Tim, Erin and Larry Byres; Rob and Ethan Horlacher; Ashley Westbrook Baune, Stephanie Westbrook Brown, Tyler Westbrook and Jessica Nygaard Ost and 10 great-grandchildren: Liam and Finnley Byres, Frankie Bowers, Ian and Emma Byres, JD and Ron Ost, Jeb and Jaiden Baune and soon to arrive, Ryleigh Rose Flannery Brown.
MaryAnn and Eldon shared a life-long love of country music and dancing. In their retirement, they were inseparable and loved attending their children’s and grandchildren’s events. They were known to be fans with front row seats at sporting events, concerts, 4-H and horseback riding events. They loved traveling with their friends in the Good Sam’s RV club. A highlight of their travels was the Good Sam’s trip to Branson, MO where they got to see some of their favorites at the Grand Ol’ Opry.
MaryAnn loved decorating for the holidays and celebrating, which included hosting the annual Halloween party for her friends in the Highland Ladies Club. Christmas Eve was always a special time where she made sure that her children always got a visit from Santa. It is remembered that one time when no other adult could fit into the Santa suit, she stepped outside and returned in costume with her best deep voiced “Ho Ho Ho”! Many happy memories were shared by family and friends with the Shaw family on the farm. She loved gatherings, picnics and the many backyard “weiner roasts”.
After Eldon passed away in 2016 she stayed at the family farm for 2 years until poor health made it wise to move to Lewiston to live with daughter and husband, Teresa and Jacey Nygaard. She loved seeing all of the great-grand babies grow. After advancing illness in the past month, she left this world peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by loving family in the early hours of March 9, 2021.
A memorial service celebrating her life will take place on Saturday, March 13 at 11:00 a.m. at His Church at Sanders, Sanders Christian Camp, 11249 Sanders Road, Benewah, County. A graveside service will follow at the Woodlawn Cemetery in St. Maries, Idaho. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.
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