Robert L. Shaw, 79, of Little Rock, Arkansas, beloved by his family, friends and colleagues, died Thursday, July 15, 2021, with family by his side. Robert was a doting grandfather to his six grandkids and would drop everything to be with his ‘hooty toots.’ He recently became a great-grandfather to two girls and is expecting his third great-grandchild, a boy, in November. He was the historian of the family, always ready with a camera to record the latest and greatest. “Pop Pop” was proud of his kids and grandkids and always offered encouragement in their endeavors.
As a teen, Robert played American Legion baseball, drove a pink Henry J, saw Elvis in concert and was the editor of his high school newspaper. He had a love of sports and history that he passed on to his son, Robbie. His favorite political figure was Winston Churchill. Robert was a bibliophile, accumulating hundreds of books on historical figures as well as mystery fiction. He credits his teacher Katie Lou Russell with guiding him to his chosen career of a writer. Robert began as a sports reporter for the Arkansas Gazette while still in high school.
As a professional writer, Robert accepted a position with The Associated Press after the birth of his daughter, Erin. That distinguished AP career continued for 42 years. His hard work and dedication paid off with his promotion to bureau chief. He led bureaus in Oklahoma, Indiana and Arkansas. He is remembered by colleagues and acquaintances as a strong leader and team member, fair and unbiased in his news coverage while focusing on delivering the news quickly, accurately and thoroughly. Robert was a professional through and through, ready to take off his jacket and roll up his sleeves to cover the latest news story of the day. Robert covered sports, politics, legislatures, civil rights marches, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorism, celebrity news, plane crashes and so much more.
Robert met his wife Joyce Lorraine McElroy in 1959 during his senior year. She was the love of his life and they celebrated 54 years of marriage before her death in 2014. Robert credited Joyce as the cornerstone of the family and being his rock in support of his career with the AP. The family moved seven times during his professional career. Joyce rose to the occasion of managing each move while Robert went ahead to begin his new role.
Robert had other achievements. He made a hole in one on the first hole at War Memorial Golf Course in Little Rock. He was president of the UALR Alumni Association for two years. Robert was a guest speaker at several local universities, providing encouragement and insight to fresh-faced journalism students.
Whatever the challenge, Robert was there at the head of the line, ready to dive in. There will be a big hole where Robert once was, but there is also much rejoicing as Robert and Joyce are reunited once again. Robert loved to twirl Joyce on the dance floor. We expect she is getting quite dizzy by now.
Robert is survived by his sister, Betty Dent of Maumelle, Arkansas, son Robbie Shaw of North Little Rock, Arkansas, daughter Erin Moore (Dwight) of Flower Mound, Texas, grandchildren Allison Abromitis of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Caitlin Moore-Bowlus (Eric Bowlus), Haley Moore and Ashlyn Moore of Flower Mound, Madison Shaw and Mason Shaw of North Little Rock, great-grandchildren Marin Bowlus of Flower Mound and Bryliee Shaw of North Little Rock. Expecting great grandson Charles of Ocean Springs.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 24, at Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home with graveside services at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander, Arkansas. Visitation will be from 6 – 8 p.m. on Friday, July 23. Pallbearers will be Robbie Shaw, Mason Shaw, Dwight Moore, Haley Moore, Eric Bowlus, and Matt Karpoff.
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