Barbara Shaw Park dedication: ‘Her passion was helping people … and we miss her dearly’

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Family members of former Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw pose for a photo at the newly-dedicated Barbara Shaw Park. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – In all her years of service to her community — as an educator, a state representative and Ward 9 alderman – Barbara Shaw was a study in persistence, tenacity and how to get things done. For more than four decades she tirelessly served her constituents, celebrated her students as they went on to become husbands, wives, mothers, fathers and community leaders, and most of all, cherished her own family.

“She used to spend hours here playing with all the grandkids,” said middle-daughter Jessy-Lyn Tetro, standing on a precious piece of Ward 9 turf formerly known as the Mitchell & Brown Park (for its location at Brown Avenue and West Mitchell Street)  that will now be known for generations to come as Barbara Shaw Park.

Tetro said the family, which includes her two sisters Jilliane Girard and Jennilee Santos, their spouses, and five of Shaw’s seven grandchildren – Derek, Gavin, Nicholas, Theodore, and Jase, along with Shaw’s husband, Jeff Purinton and her sister, Lorene Molloy, were in attendance for the Oct. 5 dedication of the park in Shaw’s name.

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Friends and family mingle before the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Barbara Shaw Park. Photo/Carol Robidoux

It’s been nine months since Shaw passed away unexpectedly, just three days before Christmas, from medical complications after a brief hospitalization for a routine procedure. Her family is still living on the edge of their emotions, especially in a moment such as this one. The loss has been tempered by so many positives – especially the memories and constant affirmations of their mother’s legacy offered up by friends and neighbors, some of them strangers, all with “Barbara stories” that confirm what everyone knew by heart.

Barbara Shaw was a giver and a doer.

And so, as a small thank you for all she gave to her community and did for her constituents the city commissioned a sign with floral landscaping in her honor and created a place that carried great meaning for both Shaw and her family. Several current and former city leaders and employees attended the brief dedication and ribbon-cutting at the park, located near the Hollows Disc Golf course in the city’s south end.

Watch ⇒ video highlights from the dedication ceremony below.

As the crowd dispersed Shaw’s five youngest grandchildren were embroiled in a game of chase on the playground equipment, full of laughter and seemingly removed from the emotion of the ceremonial dedication that had just happened. But when asked to pose for a photograph, instead of saying “cheese” to evoke toothy smiles, they spontaneously said, “Grandma,” in a moment of unity that reflected all the love and joy they still carry with them in their hearts.

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From left, Teddy, Derek Jase, Nicholas and Gavin – five of Barbara Shaw’s seven grandchildren. Photo/Carol Robidoux

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The new sign at Barbara Shaw Park, located at 229 W. Mitchell St. in Manchester. Photo/Carol Robidoux


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!