Gil Shaw was born September 4, 1944 in San Jose, Costa Rica.
His parents were Betty Daisy Romero Montoya, “Daisy”, who was from Costa Rica and Gilberto Reginaldo Shaw Beaudy who was from Panama.
His younger sister was Leda Yvette Shaw Romero, “Yvette”.
Gil’s parents separated when he was young and his father returned to Panama. As a child Gil said he was known as Chispa “spark” because he was hot tempered. When Gil was 5 he was sent to live in Siquirres, Costa Rica on the farm of his Uncle Reginaldo Alfred Shaw Beaudy. Gil remembered taking the cows to the pasture before dawn, sneaking to the kitchen at night to eat the crisp rice at the bottom of the rice pot, using coconut husk to polish the floors and being sent by his aunt to find his uncle in town. His uncle was in the bar and would give Gil a few coins to pretend he didn’t find him. Gil would go to the local bakery that sold small paper bags of broken cookies. He would buy a bag and go to the railroad yard. Under an open shelter was a large mound of sand used in the trains for braking; he would climb up on the mound and sit and eat his cookies. Gil said those times he sat alone in the railroad yard were peaceful. After 3 years away from his mother and sister he became very ill with asthma. The local priest wrote to Gil’s father of his illness and Gil was returned to his mother in San Jose.
During his boyhood in San Jose he lived with his mother and sister in the home of his grandparents, Dolores Montoya Cabezas, “Lola” and Juan Arquimedes Romero Casorla. Lola and Juan had 11 children and also took in 2 neighborhood children. The dining table was always full of family members. Lola would be cooking huge pots of soups and stews. Gil would run out to the garden to bring her vegetables. After school Gil would find Lola in the kitchen preparing fresh corn tortillas and platanos maduros. He would sneak to one side of her to grab a tortilla and sneak to the other side to grab a platano, roll it up and eat it. He said Lola was very kind to him and they would sit together on her bed playing cards.
Gil’s Uncle Rudy brought home a dog and Gil and “Coronel” became constant companions. They traveled the rain forest together. Gil carried a sling shot he made from a coffee branch and the red rubber from an English bicycle inner tube, small river stones for ammo, a knife, a packet of salt in his pocket, matches and a small iron skillet tied to his belt. Gil would hunt in the rain forest and cook what he caught for himself and Coronel. He stole mangos from a local orchard and swam in the river. Gil once pretended to drown and Coronel pulled him out.
After Gil finished high school in 1962 his mother Daisy and sister Yvette moved to the US, to Connecticut. Gil stayed in Costa Rica, moving to Puerto Limon to work for the railroad. He lived with 2 other young men and slept across 2 chairs in a small apartment. He told us of standing under the locomotive, tucked in against the side while a huge engine was being lowered back into position. One of the supports broke and the engine swung downward and Gil said he felt the wind of it as it swung past him. His coworkers were afraid he was killed that day; Gil said it was one of his nine lives he used up.
Gil’s Mom convinced him to come to Connecticut and in 1964 he moved to the States. He remembered his awe when his Aunt Cecilia picked him up from the airport in a large American car. He worked in a factory stretching knitted fabric over a steamer, in another factory making anatomically correct medical dummies and then for the manufacturing company Algonquin Parts, which began as a tool and die business and later made aircraft and missile parts. His supervisor was his Aunt Cecilia’s husband, Rodolfo Carranza. He learned machining there, which became his lifelong trade. That he chose machining as his trade was an achievement because Gil was dyslexic and machining requires precision with numbers and math. Gil loved Connecticut and the town of Norwalk. He fondly recalled driving on the Connecticut turnpike in the fall, playing the radio in his Charger and looking at the colors of the leaves.
Gil met Haidee Maria Tamayo, “Maria”, through friends at the beach in 1965. Gil became very close with the Tamayo family and Maria’s siblings; Gloria, Elvira, Fernando, Felix and Alvaro “Allen”. Gil became godfather to Gloria and her husband Jose’s daughter, Sandra Murrugarra. Gil and Maria were married from 1967 to 1989 and they welcomed their son Gilbert Shaw in 1973. Gil would come home from the late shift, prepare a bottle and gather Gilbert from his crib and feed him and sleep with his son on his chest. Because Gil’s father was not a part of his life he promised himself he would be the best father he could to Gilbert.
Jose Murrugarra was the first family member to move from Connecticut to Hollywood, Florida in 1974, followed by Gloria and Sandy, then by Maria with Gilbert, then traveling together; Gil, Elvira, Daisy, Felix and Allen. The last ones to move south were Fernando and finally Yvette who came in 1980. The family later settled in Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Port Charlotte and the surrounding communities. Gil worked on their home and Gil and Maria would have the family over on the weekends. His sister Yvette, husband Ernest and children Jessica and Eric would come to visit. His mother Daisy who had returned to Costa Rica would come to stay for extended periods of time. Gil and Gilbert would play records, watch movies, bicycle in Castle Park and build and run remote controlled cars. Gilbert says his Dad was his best friend. Gil and Gilbert loved animals and over the years they had a rooster, a bird, a cat, many dogs and 2 ferrets.
Gil began working at EBWay Corp, a Fort Lauderdale metal stamping company, in 1981. He worked there as a machinist and a tool and die maker for 23 years. He was so skilled at crafting metal. His son Gilbert remembers going to work with his Dad on Saturdays and sitting in the car watching a battery powered black and white TV while his dad worked a half day. Gil met his co-workers and friends Everett Ramos and John Threlkeld at EBWay and was close with them and their families. Gil and Everett helped each other work on their cars and their homes, sharing many beers, chicken wings and laughs. They liked to cook and would collect money at work to be able to prepare food to share with their co-workers. Gil and John were mates and enjoyed Premier League soccer and they both loved Chelsea Football Club and a pint of ale. Gil spoke to and would visit Everett and Josie and John and Maureen and their families through the years after he retired in 2004. Gil deeply grieved John’s passing in November 2018.
Gil met his wife Jeanne in the Parkway Pub in Miramar, Florida in 1991. Gil, Jeanne and Gilbert became the 3 Musketeers, moving to a new home in Ft Lauderdale in 1994 and celebrated by getting a dog, and later another 2 dogs. Christmas was full of wonderful memories, stringing so many lights that the passing traffic slowed down to look at their house. Gil and Gilbert loved home theater and shared a passion for electronics and movies. Gil was an amazing carpenter and built many pieces of furniture and customized the house. Gil’s goddaughter Sandra would come and stay on the weekends, bringing 3 suitcases for an overnight stay. Gil would fix Sandy a whiskey sour and we’d all watch a movie together, well, we Shaws would watch the movie and Sandy would sleep.
Gil and Jeanne moved to DeLand, Florida in 2002 to live near Jeanne’s family and after a number of years Gilbert joined them. Gil spent his retirement years working on their home, cooking and caring for his family and dogs and watching soccer, especially the World Cup. His favorite players were Messi “la pulga” and Ronaldinho, who Gil called smiley. He traveled to Costa Rica many times to help his aging mother Daisy. While in Costa Rica he would spend time with his Uncle Rudy and his wife Mey and with his Uncle Jorge, cousin Leda, her husband Edwin and their children Carolina and Sergio. They would go out together and have great times. In 2005 Gil, Gilbert and Jeanne took a week-long family vacation to the Smoky Mountains, staying in a chalet overlooking Apalachia Lake near Murphy, NC. It was a rare trip, white water rafting on the Nantahala River, tubing in Helen, GA, visiting Rock City on Lookout Mountain and afternoons watching the mist flow down the mountains and fill Apalachia Lake. We talked about the trip so many times over the years, it was magical.
In 2010 Gil lost his sister Yvette in April and his mother Daisy in September. Yvette called Gil “Gabi”, (his friends and family from Costa Rica called him Gabriel). We liked to remember Daisy and Yvette, Jess and Eric visiting us in Ft. Lauderdale. We have a photo of them lined up showing that they had the same noses. Gil would laugh remembering calling his mom and hearing her boyfriend’s voice in the background. He’d ask her, who’s that man? His mom would say, it’s the carpenter. Whenever Gil would call her he’d ask her, how’s the carpintero?
Gil was very proud of his son for obtaining his degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Gilbert moved to Virginia for his first Sonography job in 2012 and lived there for 4 years. Gil would visit him twice a year, 6 weeks in the spring and 6 weeks in the fall. Gil’s joy in the month leading up to each visit still makes us smile. He would gather recipes, shop for gifts and collect the utensils he needed so he could cook for Gilbert. Gil had his favorite used book store he would shop at while Gilbert was at work. He loved to read crime fiction. He would find an author and get a complete list of their works and check them off as he read each one. Gil and Gilbert loved the miniseries Band of Brothers and learning about Easy Company and their actions in WWII. The two of them were able to travel to Ephrata, PA to visit the grave of Major Richard Winters of Easy Company; it was such a meaningful and memorable trip for them.
Gil had a minor heart attack in 2015 and joined the cardiac rehab gym at the nearby hospital. The gym was a favorite part of his week; he went every Thursday and Friday, the days his favorite nurse Elizabeth worked. He liked to burn CDs of music to take with him to share with the others while they exercised. During this period Gil worked part time for long time friend Robert Malkani, keeping watch for Mr. M on a business property in town. The job meant a lot to Gil, he enjoyed the responsibility and the trust placed in him.
Gil was so happy when Gilbert bought his own home in DeLand in 2018. Gil would go to Gilbert’s house while he was at work and leave him home cooked meals in the fridge, which included plenty of rice and platanos maduros. Gil said platanos go with everything.
Gil was diagnosed with dementia in 2017 and continued doing all he was capable of. He was cared for so well at home in 2019 by Gail Worthington. We spent every moment we could together, laughing, talking and visiting family and friends. Gil moved to Deland Manor Assisted Living in October 2019 and was treated like family by Myra and Dennis Javier and their amazing staff. Their kindness to Gil will be remembered. Gil developed pneumonia in May this year and we lost him on June 22, 2020.
Gil was a good, kind and generous man and a wonderful husband and father. He loved his family and friends and we all loved him back. He was deeply sentimental. He was a skilled craftsman. He was well known for his sense of humor and for making everyone laugh. Gil liked cooking and eating foods from his childhood; olla carne, picadillo de platano, pejivalles and always, in memory of his grandmother Lola, tortillas and platanos. Gil had great attention for details and the same hot temper he had since childhood. He’d say, if I can’t do it right, I won’t do it! We teased him about his CLS, Christmas light syndrome; he wanted the lights hung perfectly. He also had a thing about properly parked cars, our niece Gina would say, I’m not going to worry about where I park when I get to your house because Uncle Gil is going to make me move the car anyway. Gil also had a knack for what we called testrisizing. He could pack things so tightly it was amazing, in machinist’s terms, with a very close tolerance. One last smile, Gil was known in our family for his dyslexia causing him to contract his words. Our favorite word was sqootage, for square footage. We still use the word and think it should be added to the dictionary.
A memorial gathering will be held at a future date. We ask that the next time you raise a glass, please toast to our beloved Gil and remember his smiling face and all the times he made us laugh.
Gil was predeceased by:
His father Gilberto Shaw, mother Daisy Romero and all her siblings, sister Yvette Clarius, sister in law Gloria Murrugarra, nephew Fernando Tamayo, cousin Warren Carranza, sister in law Cheryl Ann Tamayo and father in law Vincent DeFalco.
Gil is survived by:
His son Gilbert Shaw, wife Jeanne (DeFalco) Shaw, niece Jessica Sturges, nephew Eric Sturges, great niece Yvie-Giselle Sturges, brother in law Ernest “Sailor” Sturges, ex-wife Maria and her husband Bob Pinder, Goddaughter and niece Sandra Murrugarra, brother in law Jose Murrugarra, sister in law Elvira and her husband Luis Sanchez, brother in law Fernando Tamayo and his wife Mary, brother in law Felix Tamayo, brother in law Alvaro Tamayo and his wife Nelly, nephew Luis Sanchez (wife Jessica and children Matthew, Samuel, Jonathan and Arielle), nephew Daniel Sanchez (wife Lauren), nephew Alvaro “AJ” Tamayo (wife Heather and children Christian, Natalia and Mason) and nephew Alejandro Tamayo.
His mother in law, Dori DeFalco, his brother and sister in law Brett and Carmen DeFalco, his niece Gina Marie DeFalco, his brothers in law Darren DeFalco and Hwal Lee, step mother in law Liesbeth DeFalco, sister in law Kirstin DeFalco, sister in law Michelle “Mikki” DeFalco, step mother in law Betsy Kramer and step sister in law Lisa Woodburn.
Maternal cousins who have been so kind to stay in touch over the years though we live so far apart; Leda Romero, Lisa Carranza, Linda Carranza, Marjorie Carranza Freund, Mario Alvarez, Maritza Alvarez, Maureen Romero Van Kuren, Patricia Romero and Arlene Gonzalez and their families.
Friends Carlos Balma, David Johnson, Robert Malkani, Everett Ramos, Maureen Threlkeld and families.
Please forgive any omissions.