Services for Shirley Joy Shaw

Shirley Joy Shaw, age 83, from Bemidji, MN passed away peacefully 6/18/19 on Farm Lake in Ely, MN.

Shirley received a sudden diagnosis of end stage cancer with an estimate of 7 days to live. Shirley chose to spend her remaining days in Ely, MN at her daughter’s cabin; coming “full circle” and returning to the town where she spent many days during her youth.

Surrounded by family & friends, she enjoyed a week long “celebration of life” in true Shirley Style: a perpetual party of meaningful conversations, song, and laughter.

Shirley was born Sept 19, 1935 to Evelyn D (Carlson) Hill and Emil Hill. Shirley married James Shaw from Ayr, Scotland in 1955 and raised 4 children primarily in Minneapolis and the Western Suburbs. At 47 years of age, Shirley founded Rakhma Inc.; a non-profit organization of group homes aimed at providing a familiar home setting and quality of life for those living with Alzheimers/Dementia.

With the help of long-time friend and writer, Lynn Baskfield, “The Rakhma Story” was published in 1999, sharing Shirley’s Rakhma journey and innovative group home concept. Rakhma homes continue to thrive in the Twin Cities area to this day.

Shirley loved the Northwoods & lakes, hugging trees, the elderly, dogs, ice cream, loons, music, books, and had a unique ability to make everyone she met feel like “the most important person on the planet.” She was a good listener, affirming and non-judgmental.

Shirley was a mentor and role model to many, and dearly loved by all who knew her. A warm smile, infectious laugh, always ready to break out in song, and full of mischief. She adored her 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. She lived life well! Shirley will be missed by all.

A Celebration of Life Service is planned for summer of 2020.

Memorials can be sent to: Clear Waters Life Center, Box 155 Clearbrook, MN 56634


Richards Publishing

P.O. Box 159
239 2nd Ave
Gonvick, MN 56644
Telephone: (218) 487-5225

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