Memorial services were held today for Robert L. Shaw, Jr., AIA, who served as a member of the SmithGroup Board of Directors and was director of the firm's Dallas office. Shaw died on December 2, 2010 of pancreatic cancer. He was 56.
The standing-room-only service at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas, was attended by an estimated audience of up to 2,000 of Shaw's many friends, colleagues and extended family members in what was one of the church's largest memorial gatherings ever.
Longtime Dallas architecture firm F&S Partners merged with SmithGroup, a national architecture and engineer firm, in June 2009, and the Dallas office became SmithGroup/F&S. The merger followed two years of communication and collaboration between SmithGroup and F&S Partners.
"Over the past two years since he told me of his illness, Bob gave me a great lesson in attitude," said Carl Roehling, president & CEO of SmithGroup. "He showed me that big problems were not so big - small moments were huge. Those lessons will stay with me," Roehling said.
"We've been together for 32 years - we came up together in this firm," said Allen Atkinson, Shaw's longtime colleague and friend.
"Bob had an innate ability to reach across all generations, using his humor, passion and optimistic attitude. That stayed with him until the end. Bob was a great friend, colleague and mentor to many," added Atkinson, a studio leader at SmithGroup/F&S.
Shaw became president of F&S Partners in 2008. This followed a successful 30-year career with the firm, during which he served in the roles of vice president over marketing and business development and principal-in-charge of the firm's healthcare, K-12 education and religious projects. Some of the signature projects for which he served as principal-in-charge include a $128 million clinical addition to the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center and $6.7 million Family Life Center for Preston Road Church of Christ in Dallas. He also led the design of the French Family Science, Math & Technology Center, a $15 million building recently completed at the Ursuline Academy of Dallas.
For Shaw, it wasn't just all about work; he served for many years as an enthusiastic leader in Texas' architecture community. He held leadership roles in the American Institute of Architects' Dallas Chapter, the Texas Society of Architects, and the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Council for Educational Facilities Planners International.
Shaw was also fervently dedicated to his community in Texas. His involvement included the City of Dallas Urban Design Advisory Committee, the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, Highland Park Presbyterian Church, and the Boy Scouts of America.
Shaw received a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1977 from the University of Texas at Austin, and joined F&S Partners the following year. He is survived by his wife Ann and four sons. In addition to his family, his passions included hunting and sailing.
Memorials may be made to the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, Highland Park Presbyterian Church Foundation or the Southwestern Medical Foundation.
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Sandra Knight, APR