Former Sen. Bob Shaw, a Greensboro Republican who served for a time as Senate minority leader, died Saturday night, according to Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes. Shaw was 87.
His wife, Linda, said Sunday that Shaw died Saturday night after being in declining health since October. She says Shaw suffered from dementia.
Shaw was a Guilford County Commissioner before serving in the General Assembly from 1984 until 2002. In 2002, he and Sen. Phil Berger of Eden were drawn into the same legislative district and ran against each other in the GOP primary. Berger won and Shaw retired to the political sidelines.
Bob was married to Linda Shaw, a long-time Guilford County Commissioner and former national committeewoman. The couple owned the Friendly Road Inn, a popular Greensboro restaurant which closed in 2006.
"Bob did a great job for the county and for the state," Barnes said. He credits Shaw with creating the the North Carolina "drug tax," which allows law enforcement agencies to collect seize money and assets from those in the illegal drug trade.
Barnes and others I spoke to did not know about funeral arrangements.
"He was a substantial presence in Republican politics for a long time, particularly in Guilford County," said Berger, who is now the president pro tempore of the senate.
Shaw had been in declining health for some time, according to Berger and others. But he was still someone whom GOP politicians sought out for advice.
Berger said Shaw's restaurant was a "must stop" on any Republican politician's itinerary if they were campaigning in the area. There, he said, candidates would find, "good fish, good company and invariably good advice."
In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, two stepchildren, five grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
Reporter's note: I covered part of Shaw's last run for the office and spoke to him occasionally over the years for stories or when I was looking for his wife, who was still very active in politics. He was always a gracious and generous with his time. I know that other who had the privilege of knowing him better will miss him deeply.