In Memory of Chaplain COL-R James Shaw

Rev. Dr. Chaplain (Colonel) James Edwin Shaw, U.S. Army (Retired), was born in Boone, Iowa September 28, 1928, the son of Lawrence Leonard (LL) and Elsie Katherine (Oesch) Shaw. LL was a third-generation railroad man. Chaplain Shaw was baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection in July of 1929, and confirmed March 29, 1942 at Trinity Lutheran Church, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), Boone. He fell asleep in Jesus August 4, 2023, in Oviedo, Florida.

Chaplain Jim Shaw met his wife of 60 years, Joanne Elise (Sexauer) of Ogden, Iowa, through LCMS high school congregational youth activities. She married 2LT Shaw on December 2, 1951, in Ogden, Iowa, and their delightful marriage was blessed with four children: Jamie Elise, Jonathan Eberhardt, Joel Eric, and Jay Ethan. Through 32 moves as a family, Joanne was known for her cheerful Christian faith, vibrant love for family, and energetic support for family, military, and missions. She fell asleep in Jesus in 2011, preceded in death by her parents and brother Carlyle.

After five years as a widower and while serving onboard as a cruise ship chaplain, Chaplain Shaw met Glenna Kiyoe (Minatodani), a widow, and her daughter Michele (married to Keith Yamanaka). Glenna’s husband had amazingly shared Jim’s same birthday. Their relationship blossomed, Glenna, who was not yet a Christian, gladly received many hours of instruction and was baptized into Christ, and they married August 13, 2016, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS), Honolulu, Hawaii. They shared seven happy years of marriage.

In his professional life, Chaplain Shaw graduated from Iowa State University in 1950 during the Korean War; served as a U.S. Army enlisted soldier at Fort Riley, Kansas; completed Officer Candidate School; and finished his service obligation at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Upon discharge, he became a methods engineer for a utility company in Madison, Wisconsin, which work he greatly enjoyed, but he felt called into the ministry and entered Concordia Theological Seminary, then in Springfield, Illinois. Because of a shortage of military chaplains, he received a call from the LCMS to service as an active duty U.S. Army Chaplain upon seminary graduation in 1959. He spent most of his ordained ministry supporting the U.S. Armed Forces. He also served LCMS congregations in Detroit, Michigan and Lago Vista, Texas.

Chaplain Shaw serviced throughout the world during his 24 years as a U.S. Army Chaplain, to include in Vietnam as Division Chaplain for the 23d Infantry “Americal” Division. He also served as Post Chaplain, Fort Ord, California; Community Chaplain, Nurnberg, Germany; VII Corps Chaplain, Stuttgart, Germany; and Sixth Army Chaplain, headquartered at Presidio of San Francisco, California. He spent the last ten years of his U.S. Army service as a Colonel. While on active duty, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal twice, Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Vietnamese Staff Service Ribbon. In 2018 the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains awarded him the Order of Saint Martin of Tours, one of the first to receive this legacy award for strategic Chaplain impact to the U.S. Army.

In 1983, Chaplain Shaw retired early from the U.S. Army to become the Director, Ministry to the Armed Forces, LCMS, then located in Washington, D.C. In this position, he served as the Department of Defense-recognized ecclesiastical supervisor for 350 Chaplains throughout the Armed Services and the Veterans Administration (VA) for a 2.5-million-member church body. For 11 years, he was responsible for annual training and seminars for command support for Chaplains in the Far East, Europe, Eastern and Western U.S.A., and for visitation of all LCMS Military and VA Chaplains once during a given assignment.

He also served as Visiting Professor at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS), Fort Wayne, Indiana for ten years, teaching “The Armed Forces Chaplaincy—a Unique Missionary Field,” and was awarded the Doctor of Divinity degree there in 1985. He served as President of the National Military Chaplains Association, held leadership positions within the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces to ensure religious support to all faiths, and in July 1995 received the Silver St. Martin of Tours Award, the highest recognition given by the LCMS for those who have served the U.S. Armed Forces.

Following this “retirement,” Chaplain Shaw continued his cruise chaplain ministry of almost 40 years, pastoral service to congregations, and writing and publishing, to include Quick and Easy Bible Studies on 600+ Hymns, Concordia Publishing House (2011) and Classic Hymns of Christendom, CrossLink Publishing (2013). His last book, to be published posthumously, is God’s Decades: Understanding the Decades of Life through God’s Love, Holy Scripture, and Human Experience (2023).

James (Jim) Shaw—confessional Lutheran preacher of the Gospel of Christ, lover and encourager of every member of the family, energetic worker, humble gentlemanly leader of all, avid card player, Cub fan, fisherman, traveler, eager reader of biographies, military history, and the American West . . . a redeemed child of God by faith and baptism into Christ—will be sorely missed. His fulfilling life is now brought to total fulfillment, his soul with Christ, his body awaiting the resurrection. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Don and wife Sharon, half-sister Eleanor and husband Jim Younggren, son Jay and his wife Lynne, and great-grandson Caleb Martin. He is survived by his wife Glenna, Honolulu, HI, and by his children: Jamie Belton (and husband Bob), Mt. Dora, FL; Jonathan Shaw (and wife Brenda), Ft. Wayne, IN; and Joel Shaw, New York City. He is survived by 6 grandchildren: Joanna Martin (and husband Clay), Hobbs, NM; Rob Belton (and wife Meredith), Ft. Liberty, NC; Jared Belton (and wife Brandi), Melbourne, FL; Susan Shaw, Los Angeles, CA; Christine Shaw, Los Angeles, CA; Jonathan Eberhardt Shaw II (and wife Chelsea), Ft. Leavenworth, KS; and 17 great-grandchildren: Faith, Jenna, and Audrey Martin, Hobbs, NM; Kendra, Jude, Danae and Amara Belton, Ft. Liberty, NC; Emma, Lucy, and Garrett Belton, Melbourne, FL; and Jonathan III, Daniel, Isla, Jacob, Titus, Milo, and Mila Shaw, Ft. Leavenworth, KS.

Memorials may be made to: Concordia Theological Seminary, 6600 North Clinton St., Fort Wayne, IN 46825; (260) 452-2100; or to LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces, 1333 S. Kirkwood Rd., St. Louis, MO 63122; (571) 234-0073.

Christian Visitation and Memorial Services was held Friday, August 18 at 11 a.m. at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 2021 W State Road 426, Oviedo, FL 32765. The Rite of Christian Funeral will be held at Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church, 1801 Russell Road, Alexandria, VA 22301, followed by Christian Burial with full military honors at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, at a date to be determined.