MANTENO — Frances Shaw, known as “Grandma Shaw” to countless children and all their friends, some now middle-aged or beyond, Bessie Frances Shaw, 92, most recently of Heritage Woods Assisted Living of Manteno, passed away peacefully March 26, 2021.
Surviving are her daughter, Nancy (William) Hengstler, of Naples, Fla.; foster daughter, Vicky Benoit (Don) Prater, of Panama City, Fla.; as well as her “aunt-in-law” and dear “sister”/friend, Loella Shaw, the wife of the late Robert Shaw, of Rankin. Also surviving are grandchildren, Michael Dee Bonds and Misty Thornton, both of Bourbonnais, Jennifer (Carla) Cochran, of Indianapolis, Ind., Sara Martin, of Deerfield, foster grandson, Adam (Lauren) Prater, of Jamul, Calif., and stepgrandsons, Thomas Angle, of Indiana, and William Angle, of Sevierville, Tenn., and their families. In addition, there are 18 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.
Preceding her in death were her former husband, Cecil “Bud” W. Shaw Jr.; daughter, Patty Peppin; son, James W. Shaw; grandson, J. Douglas Martin; and great-great-grandson, Travis Bristow Jr.
Frances, as she was known to adults, was born in Hereford, Texas, on Oct. 13, 1928, the daughter of a real-life cowboy, Curtis Caraway, and Mary Maude Denny. Her mother died when she was just three, and she was raised by her dear Aunt Bess Jennings, for whom she was named. She was working at the soda fountain in a drug store when a friend introduced her to a young MP from the POW camp outside Hereford. She and Bud Shaw, of Rankin, were married Aug. 2, 1944, when she was not quite 16. Just two months later, her husband was shipped off to Germany to fight the next two years in World War II, and Frances boarded a train to Rankin to live and where she and Bud remained until moving to the Kankakee area in 1963 when he became the plant maintenance manager for Kankakee Electric Steel after working on construction of the plant.
She was an active member of the American Legion in Rankin and served two years as its president. In Kankakee, she enjoyed getting to know people and worked at various times for Kroehler Furniture, Shopper’s Fair, the cafeteria at Olivet Nazarene College and perhaps her favorite job, the Maytag Laundromat in Bourbonnais, until retiring in December 2017 at the age of 89.
Frances delighted in baking pies, cookies and cakes to share. She was also certified in foot reflexology and had a number of people she visited regularly to spend some time, share dessert, lessen their aches and pains, and uplift their spirits, all by rubbing their feet. If someone she knew ever complained of a cold, headache, or some other ailment, she would ask them to remove their shoes and socks so she could do their feet. Even the babies quickly learned to line up for their turn! In these last years, many of these people returned the favor by rubbing her feet.
“Grandma Shaw” strived to always see the good in everyone; never gave up hope, even in those who gave up on themselves; selflessly gave of her time, talents and modest income to anyone in need; and treated friends and strangers the same, always sharing her warm smile.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. Saturday, April 17, until the 11 a.m. memorial service at Jensen Funeral Home, 3639 East Route 17 (frontage road), Kankakee, 815-932-4001. Graveside services will be in Rankin Community Cemetery, together with the urns of her husband, daughter and son.
Everyone is asked to please follow the state’s guidelines where masks/face coverings and distancing are concerned. On behalf of the family and the funeral home staff, thanks for cooperating.