Jon Thomas “Tom” Shaw, of Oakdale, was born Oct. 31, 1949, in Shenandoah, Iowa, to John Tracy and Mae (Wielage) Shaw, and passed away Sept. 25, 2021, in Lincoln, at the age of 71.
When Tom was four, his family moved to his grandpa and grandma Wielage’s home place north of Dorchester. Tom graduated with the Class of 1967, having been very much involved with sports in high school. He attended UNL and was a member of the Theta Xi Fraternity. He graduated in 1971 with a BA in Social Studies Education.
Following graduation, he spent the summer in Portland, Oregon, near his sister, but realized Nebraska was where he wanted to settle down. When he moved back to Dorchester, he met his future wife, SueAnn Spanyers. They were married March 23, 1974, at the Dorchester United Methodist Church. They made their home in Milford, where Tom was employed by Conner Roofing Company. In 1975, they moved to Beaver Crossing and he took a job with Wielage Farms. Their two beautiful daughters, Traci and Tory were born.
Tom and Sue longed for a simpler life for their family and he had always dreamed of being a cowboy. God blessed them with country school Christmas programs, calving on horseback, old-fashioned cowboy brandings and especially the value of helping your neighbor when they moved to the Sandhills north of Ellsworth to work on the Wilcox Family Ranch. In 1987, Tom took a job with the University at the Gudmundsen Research Ranch near Whitman.
The following year began the best years for the Shaw family, when they became a part of the Wagonhammer Ranch near Bartlett. Tom was proud to be a part of such a well-known and respected cattle company and spent the next 31 years riding for the Wagonhammer brand. Tom loved the horse shows and cattle shows that Traci and Tory were involved in, that taught them the value of hard work. Tom and Sue’s oldest granddaughter, Tarryn, moved to the ranch with them when she was 11 and Tom didn’t waste a minute teaching her everything he could and fostering her love of cattle. He aspired to model respect and integrity to all of his grandchildren.
Although hesitant about retirement, he enjoyed putting up hay one last time alongside his dear friend and boss, Steve Shermer and taking a train trip to the West Coast. Everyone appreciated Tom’s work ethic, loyalty and quiet confidence. God chose to work a miracle in May, bringing Tom through a serious health struggle and giving him four more months to enjoy his life. Tom’s trust in God was lived out in a modest way, serving his family and enjoying nature. He and Sue were so grateful for that extra time to enjoy each others company as they sat on the deck under the hackberry tree with Tom’s faithful companion, Tuf, the cow dog. Tom peacefully went home to heaven on Sept. 25 with his wife of 47 years by his side.
He is preceded in death by his parents, John Tracy and Mae (Wielage) Shaw; fathers-in-law, Harold Krivohlavek and Richard Spanyers; sister, Jeannette Grant; and sister-in-law, Ruth Lee.
Tom is survived by his wife, SueAnn Shaw; daughters, Traci (Bob) McGuan, Farwell, and Tory Shaw-Durre, Albion; grandchildren, Tarryn Shaw and fiancé, Ryan Jonas, South Dakota, Aidan Maddux and Oaklyn McGuan, Farwell, JT Shaw, Nevada, David, Samantha, Ruby Mae and Dominic Durre, Elgin; great-granddaughters, McKinley Shaw and Whitley Jonas, South Dakota; mother-in-law, Virginia Krivohlavek, Dorchester; brothers and sisters (in-law), Keith Spanyers and Pam Carlin, Dorchester, Karen and Scott Wiles, Lincoln, Don Grant, Oregon, Joanne Shaw, Lincoln; aunt, Marsha McCormick and Qadeer Baci, Illinois; uncle, Raymond Krivohlavek and Edna Koll, Wilber; many nieces, nephews, cousins, a host of friends and the Wagonhammer Cattle Company (Jay Wolf and family).
A memorial service was Oct. 1 at Calvary Community Church in Lincoln. Condolences may be left for the family at www.zabkafuneralhome.com.