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1927 Idamay 2022

Idamay Shaw

January 6, 1927 — October 25, 2022

Idamay Bolles Shaw, 95, a native of Jamestown, New York, former Pentagon clerk-typist and college business manager, died peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Montclair Personal Care Home in Decatur, Georgia.

Idamay was born in Salamanca, New York, on Epiphany Day, Jan. 6, 1927, to a large, loving family. Her parents, Ruth Patton and Daniel Bradley Bolles, had six other children: Earl, Paul, Ted (Charles Frederick), Harry, Rowena, and one son who died as a young child, Raymond LaVerne. She grew up mostly in Celeron, New York, where she lived right around the corner from Lucille Ball and close to her beloved grandmother and an aunt and uncle who were talented vaudeville performers, renowned locally for having played the Palace in New York City.

When she was 13 years old, Idamay began selling tickets at a small amusement park in Celeron to help with family expenses. She later worked at Kresge’s Five and Dime in downtown Jamestown, and after graduating from Celeron High School in 1945—just as World War II was ending—Idamay moved with a girlfriend to Washington, D.C., to take a job as a clerk-typist at the Pentagon, which had been dedicated in 1943. She worked in the records department from August 1945 to June 1946, and lived in the Arlington Barracks, a temporary housing complex for female civil servants constructed on the grounds of the historic Custis-Lee Mansion.

Idamay—who often went by the name “Pat” (from Patton) after moving south—met a young U.S. Navy Seaman from South Carolina, Charles Edward Shaw, while working in Washington, D.C. The two were married on Aug. 29, 1946, and had two daughters, Rowena Jean and Peggy Jo. During their marriage, Idamay set up homes for her family in five states: New York, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia.

In 1966, Idamay joined the Fairfax Health Department in Virginia as a clerical assistant to health care workers. Then, three years later, she was named as the first secretary to the dean at Northern Virginia Community College, which had opened two years before, offering an affordable, high-quality education to students. She was a valuable and respected employee at NOVA for 26 years, and earned her associate’s degree in business from the college in 1976—after years of working a full-time job and taking courses at night.

Beginning in the 1970s, Idamay pursued another passion—square dancing. And, like everything Idamay did, she did it with her whole heart. Family and friends noticed one of her guest rooms slowly filling up with organza petticoats, ruffled and rickrack-trimmed, tiered dresses, and strappy shoes. She danced her way up from novice to secretary to assistant vice president and finally president of the Washington Area Square Dance Association. Her leadership contributed to the success of the 49th National Square Dance Convention in Baltimore in 2000.

Idamay was proud of being a “cradle Episcopalian.” She was raised in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown, and was active in Episcopal churches in several states. She sang in the choir and helped congregants construct the first building for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, for example, and taught Sunday School steadfastly at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Burke, Virginia.

Idamay was preceded in death by her beloved daughter, Rowena.  Idamay Bolles Shaw leaves to mourn her passing a host of relatives and friends. She is survived by her daughter Peggy Jo Shaw of Decatur, Georgia.; her grandchildren, Phillip Parcell (Jill), Melissa Basabe (Bert), Brian Parcell (Jill), Brendan Beatty, and Elisabeth Steen (John); as well as her great-grandchildren Amanda Basabe, David Basabe, and Amelia Steen.

A service will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 410 N. Main St., Jamestown, New York, next spring.  Her cremated remains will be inurned in the church columbarium.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to local animal shelters, or to the LifeLine Project in Atlanta:

Donations are also appreciated at the Avondale Estates Police Department in Avondale Estates, Georgia, for officers’ needs.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Idamay Shaw, please visit our flower store.

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