Thursday, July 8, 2010
Part of highway named for Shaw
By SUE WATSON
More than 100 friends and family members of the late justice court judge John W. Shaw Sr. gathered at Wall Doxey State Park June 24 to dedicate a segment of Highway 310 in his memory.
The segment from Highway 7 South westward on 310 to the Lafayette County line was named in his honor to recognize the judge for 33 years of public service.
The affair, including testimonials and praises from public officials and former associates of the judge, was capped off by a seated meal of fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and the works.
The memorial was celebrated six years almost to the day of Shaw’s death which was June 25. He died in 2004 and was buried in Hill Crest Cemetery in Holly Springs.
Peggy Shaw, the late judge’s wife now living in Collierville, Tenn., said she requested the highway passing by her husband’s birthplace at Laws Hill be named after her husband. Sen. Bill Stone, Rep. Kelvin Buck, Rep. Tommy Woods and Rep. Jack Gadd were responsible for the passing of legislation for the memorial highway after the Marshall County Board of Supervisors sent a resolution to the Legislature on Peggy Shaw’s behalf.
The entire Shaw family, including his four children - John Shaw Jr., Ronnie, Kim, Greg and grandchildren Kelsey and Jacob, were present at the dedication.
“Myself and my family can’t be more proud than we are today,” Peggy Shaw said.
Shaw began his career in public service as a Holly Springs police officer in about 1965. He was promoted to assistant police chief in 1967 and later to police chief, ran for justice court judge and served three terms before retiring.
Tony Farese cut his teeth as a young attorney, defending clients who were called before Judge Shaw’s bench. John Shaw was one of the first police officers he knew as a little boy.
“He wore a handlebar mustache and looked and acted like a police officer,” Farese said. “Our paths crossed forever.”
Farese began his law practice in 1986 where he was in the courtroom with Shaw, judge Earnest Cunningham and prosecutor Fred Belk Jr.
“I cut my teeth trying cases there, DUIs, dog killings, homicides, burglaries,” Farese said. “Mr. Belk and I had a lot of hard-fought battles then with Mae Garrison, Brenda Franklin and Big Jerry Wilkins - all a part of the justice court family.”
Shaw loved and respected his fellow man, the Ashland attorney said.
“He’s given a lifetime of humble service to this state and nobody is more deserving of this dedication,” Farese said.
Highway commissioner Bill Minor said Shaw was “the kind of person who would help those who wanted to help themselves and make their life better.”
“He was the kind of law enforcement and judge we needed in the State of Mississippi,” Minor said.
In thanking elected officials who helped make the dedication possible, Peggy Shaw said the people who knew her husband meant so much to him. She thanked her family for their love and support and said, “I know John’s smiling down on you today and couldn't be more proud.”
The gathering was like a big family reunion. Everyone raved about the three-layer coconut cake.
“It was my husband’s favorite cake - coconut cake with butterbeans on top,” Peggy Shaw said. “He said the butterbeans ‘cut the sweet.’ ”
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