‘Mr. South Pasadena’ Passes Away at 75

Ted Shaw

Ted Richard Shaw, longtime South Pasadena resident, businessman, civic leader, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, died in his sleep on Saturday, Feb. 1, in Cayucos. He and his family were visiting the Central California town for the funeral of his brother-in-law. Shaw was 75.
Statements of appreciation and acclaim have flooded The Review for the man many called “Mr. South Pasadena” due to his remarkable leadership and volunteer spirit.
“Ted Shaw will be remembered as a loving family man, an accomplished businessman and an engaged community leader, and he will be forever known as ‘Mr. South Pasadena’ thanks to his decades of dedication to the city and its residents,” said Robert “Bob” Joe, mayor of South Pasadena. “He was instrumental in the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, the Fourth of July Festival of Balloons Parade and fundraising efforts for the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Ted will be greatly missed.”
Laurie Wheeler, the president and CEO of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, called Shaw “a true local hero.”
“He was truly ‘Mr. South Pasadena,’” said Wheeler, echoing Joe’s sentiments. “He was born and raised here, bought a home and raised his own family here, started his business here, worshiped here. His passion and dedication to this community were limitless — he tirelessly volunteered and worked with so many organizations and groups, it would take a really long time to list them all. However, I will mention that because of Ted, John Vandercook and a few other dedicated business owners, there is a Chamber of Commerce today. They had the vision to know that in a small town with mom-and-pop businesses, an organization that could advocate and work on behalf of the business community was essential. Ted was a part of the heart and fabric of South Pasadena and will be sorely missed.”

Photos courtesy of Shaw family
Ted Shaw taking the oath of office for South Pasadena City Council.

Former South Pasadena City Councilman and Mayor Odom Stamps said Shaw was “a remarkable man.”
“For the last 10 years, Ted Shaw worked with community leaders and the city of South Pasadena to create a South Pasadena Tournament of Roses float barn and to restore landscaping in Oaklawn Park,” Stamps told The Review. “He commissioned Isabelle Greene to design the barn, landscaping and the permeable parking surface improvements under and adjacent to the Oaklawn Bridge — the bridge and subdivision that was originally designed by her grandfather and great uncle, Charles and Henry Greene (Greene & Greene Architects). Recently, Ted had announced that he had enough committed donations to get this accomplished. He managed to do all this even as he battled cancer and was partially blinded by his treatments. He was a remarkable man.”
“South Pasadena and Holy Family Church were pretty much his whole life. He contributed long after he left the City Council. He was a great person for South Pasadena,” said former Mayor Harry Knapp, who served on the South Pasadena City Council from 1990-2003.
Gina LeBlanc, a South Pasadena resident from 1993-2009, became acquainted with Shaw when she worked at Holy Family Church as the capital campaign coordinator when Shaw served as the volunteer capital campaign chairman.
“Ted was a very special father figure for me,” said Le Blanc. “He is a great leader who always led from the heart. He was a community leader, ‘Mr. South Pasadena,’ a man of service and everyone’s favorite ‘Dutch Uncle.’ There was no role too big or too small when someone needed help. Ted was there. He had an excellent sense of humor and it was an honor to call him my friend.”
Sergio Gonzalez, who worked as city manager of South Pasadena from 2012-17 said he was “deeply saddened” when he heard of Shaw’s passing.

Ted and Joan Shaw
Ted and Joan Shaw

“I have great memories of working with Mr. Shaw,” said Gonzales. “He was passionate about the city and he gave his all to the community. He certainly will be missed.”
Shaw’s admirers can be found in all parts of the community. Mary Ann Parada, who has made South Pasadena her home since the early 1960s, was a longtime opponent of the 710 Freeway extension.
“He was an incredible human being,’ Parada said of Shaw. “He and his lovely bride never stopped working for the city. They worked so hard for the church, too. I was fortunate to have him as a friend.”
“I’ve known him for 40 years,” said Esther Delinko, the administrative secretary of the South Pasadena Police Department. “He loved police and fire unconditionally.”
Shaw was born July 20, 1944, in Alhambra to parents John and Julia (Abbate) Shaw. He attended Holy Family Catholic School in South Pasadena and graduated from St. Francis High School in La Cañada Flintridge. He attended Citrus College in Glendora and USC. He married Joan Monson on Aug. 24, 1963.
Shaw began his career working as an insurance agent in 1986 and opened Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall Insurance Agency in South Pasadena with two partners in 1988. He built the company into a thriving, multifaceted, multistate agency. He was the recipient of numerous industry awards, including the H.K. Dent Society Safeco Award in 2010. He sold the business in 2016 to daughter Sandy Miranti, and her husband, Mark, and daughter, Janet Benjamin. Mark Miranti serves as the company president.
Shaw was heavily involved in the city of South Pasadena, serving as a councilman for three terms and three times as mayor. Among his many accomplishments, Shaw pioneered, with wife Joan and others, the 4th of July Festival of Balloons Parade and festivities almost 40 years ago; was a major supporter of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee and the city’s self-built float; began the SPTOR nonprofit organization; helped found the South Pasadena Prayer Breakfast; spearheaded the establishment of the South Pasadena Senior Center; contributed to multiple Catholic organizations and events, including the Pope’s visit to Dodger Stadium in 1987; served as one of the founding directors of the re-established South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce; and owned, with two other investors, the South Pasadena Review and the Quarterly Magazine from 2012-17.
He and his wife, Joan, have received many awards for their civic contributions.
Shaw is survived by his wife, Joan Shaw; daughter Sandy Miranti her husband, Mark Miranti; daughter Janet Benjamin and her husband, Rob Benjamin; son-in-law Timothy Stratz and wife Charlotte Maya-Stratz; mother Julia Shaw; sister Julie Smith; brother John Shaw; and eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Debbie Marie Stratz.

Ted Shaw (bottom right) and his wife Joan are named South Pasadena’s Distinguished Citizens of 1988.
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With over 22 years in publishing and a long time local, Mitch Lehman is a frequent contributor to the South Pasadena Review and Quarterly magazine. He has received two independent Pulitzer Prize nominations and in 2016, Mitch won 5 awards in the California Newspaper Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest.