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For our friend Mary Shaw

Monday, Sep 10, 2018

* Mary Shaw passed away recently. She was only 42. Mary worked for the Senate Democrats for a dozen years. She ran campaigns and then moved on to work for the Illinois Retired Teachers Association. I think I’ll mainly remember her as one of those unique people who could hold everything together and make things happen. You could always count on her. Always. Excerpt from Toby Trimmer’s tribute

There really aren’t words that can wrap up the impact that Mary Shaw has had on the lives to so many of us under the “dome of make believe.”

Pumpkin… Maybe that’s a word. It was her go-to label to show endearment, comfort, genuine interest and love for many of us.

Mary was a fixer. She could maneuver the personalities of the statehouse like few others I’ve known. In my role as an administrator at one time, I knew Mary as strong ally and a partner – not a subordinate. She wasn’t to be managed. She didn’t need to be.

And now Mary needs us…



* From the GoFundMe page originally set up to help with Mary’s medical expenses

If you worked with or were friends with Mary Shaw you always knew one thing – through good times and bad, Mary had your back.

Mary recently lost her battle with cancer.

Thank you to all who have given to help cover costs associated with her cancer care. This fund is going to continue in an effort to assist and support her husband Shawn and son Lucas.

Mary always had our backs. Now, we need to have hers.

Please, click here to help.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments »
  1. - Todd - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 1:49 pm:

    She was one of the best and truest an unsung hero of the senate

    Sometimes life just isn’t fair we are all diminished by her not being around


  2. - Southern_Dawg - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    Mary was absolutely one of a kind and is greatly missed. Glad to see you posting this Rich. I was a senate staffer 2003-2006. Mary was essential. What all of us should strive to be in this world. It’s just not fair. None of it is.


  3. - John Patterson - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 3:29 pm:

    OK, one thing Mary was not was quiet. So let’s get some more comments.

    Mary was your closer, your starter, your stopper, your whatever you needed to get the job done.

    Brutally honest. Always loyal. Just a phone call away if you needed something/anything.

    She made people around her better.
    Thank you for posting so we can help.


  4. - Rayne of Terror - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    Mary was such a good and generous and take no bull friend. This is such a blow to the Senate Dem family.


  5. - Joe Bidenopolous - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    Once upon a time when she was an undergrad and I had no grey hair, I hired and supervised Mary. She was a great worker and frankly, didn’t need my supervision. Years later when I was working in the dome, I was walking by the Stratton when lo and behold, there she was. She’d just started working for the Senate, and from that day onward, she was a fixture. She’s going to be missed greatly, not just by her family, but by the broader Cap community.


  6. - Michelle McAnarney - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    Thank you for this, Rich. Mary Shaw. The laugh-bringer. Would try anything once (except food). Star Wars. Halloween and Christmas. Lime Street. The perfect Disneyworld guide. I swear she was omnipresent because she knew absolutely everything going on under the dome.

    She’d drop everything to be there for you. Never let you feel sorry for yourself. Never let you down. Never let you go through things alone.

    No matter what was going on with her, she wanted to know what was going on with you. Even up until the end. Mary was the best of the best, and one of a kind human, friend, wife and mother. The world is lesser without her.


  7. - Kim Janas - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 4:57 pm:

    I didn’t get the honor or pleasure of knowing or working with Mary as long as so many other senate dems were lucky to do so.

    I have a wonderful and foggy memory of being in a Springfield bar when Mary was holding a shot of god knows what. She thrust her arm towards me with the shot and said to me, “Drink up. You’re Senate now.” She made me feel like I belonged, even if I didn’t yet earn it. Maybe more importantly, she made me want to belong and for that I’m so grateful to have known her.


  8. - The Real Captain - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 7:11 pm:

    Over the 20 year that I have known Mary. From college, to working on Senate Dem staff and beyond for both of us she was always there when she was needed. When she was needed you didn’t have to ask because she was always there for you at work or away from work. She had a positive and supportive impact on my life and my families life. She will forever be loved by us.


  9. - Toi Hutchinson - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 9:39 pm:

    I’m sorry this is so late. Mary and I have been friends for about 15 years. I met her first when I worksed for then Senator Debbie Halvorson. When I ran and had my first targeted race, Mary moved into the district to work the campaign. She lived with one of my mayors. We were donated campaign space in vacant daycare center. Mary dubbed it Toi Land! There were kids pictures on the wall and lots of primary colors and cartoons and rainbows every where. It was actually hilarious. But what made it a happy place was Mary. Full stop. She was by my side every step of the way and never left it after. Years later when she and Sean were surprised by the impending arrival of Lucas, I walked into the building and Mary ran up and said, I have something to tell you but you can’t cry. Then she whipped out a sonogram picture which immediately made us both burst into tears. Yes Mary loves Limestreet. She also loved Alexanders. And Jameson. And hugs. We discovered How good A bottle of Prisoners is. She used to surprise me with pixie stix. Like 50 of them in a paper bag like we were 12. She knew everything. She knew everyone. And she radiated Love. So I pray that one day I’ll be one of the people who gets to tell Lucas who his Mom was. I know I am forever better because I loved and was loved by Mary. She is resting with the Angels now. But she will live on. In us.


  10. - Jimmy Baseball - Monday, Sep 10, 18 @ 11:50 pm:

    I have had the pleasure of working with Mary since 2011. To me, one story stands out above the rest as the ultimate Mary story.

    A few years ago I was running an election day office for a senate candidate and everything was going wrong. Volunteers showed up late or not at all, the office was a mess, staff was overwhelmed - it was Murphy’s law in action.

    Mary showed up with coffee, donuts and the biggest hug I’ve ever received. Somehow everything fell into place after that.

    The Senate Dems and entire Capitol community are better off thanks to Mary’s tireless work.


  11. - Jo - Tuesday, Sep 11, 18 @ 12:56 am:

    Mary’s death is a huge loss for the entire Senate family. Yes, she was a loyal Senate Democrat but she was also a wonderful friend & colleague, even though I’m on the other side of the aisle. Rich, thank you for posting. Rest In Peace my friend, you enriched my life and the lives of so many others.


  12. - Miss Marie - Tuesday, Sep 11, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    The Capitol and the Senate Dems are not going to be the same without her. I saw her be like an older sister to the staff that came in after her. She would hand you a drink as soon as you walked in the bar, and she would make a big deal out of birthdays and holidays. She also would make it clear that if anyone gave you a hard time, to let her know, and she’d straighten them out. She’s really going to be missed.


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