Tom Shaw was a survivor. For years, he survived vocal cord cancer, strokes and a myriad of other health issues. To many he was dubbed as ‘the man with nine lives.’ Unfortunately, Thomas Michael Shaw’s body finally succumbed to the many attacks on his body and he passed away on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. He was 67 years old.
Shaw was born on July 23, 1946 in New York, NY. He was the son of Thomas and Kathleen Shaw and attended Don Bosco Prep and Fordham University. He is survived by his wife, Karen Shaw, a Supervisor Cardiovascular Interventional Radiology at Inova Alexandria Hospital. Karen and his family were with him every step of the way. Early on, when he lost his voice and before he had a throat box installed, she said, “I miss hearing his voice.”
Tom had one son, Bronhed Shaw, from a previous marriage, who married Sparkle Shaw. They were blessed with a grandson, Gavin Shaw, who Tom was able to enjoy before he died. He and Karen are the parents of Ian Shaw and Kate Cavanaugh, married to Greg Cavanaugh. Steve Crane, Client Relations Manager at CACI Productions Group, was a close friend, and said, “I met Tom in 1979. I was his bartender at The Wayfarers in Old Town, and when he started a business in media production, he hired me and later we became partners in a firm that has been in business for over 25 years. Through his wife Karen, I was introduced to my wife Judy, and we have been close friends and travelers together since 1986, even godparents to each other’s children. So I owe both my entry into my career and finding the love of my life to Tom.
“Tom was always a great listener, and had a gift for bringing people together to enjoy their camaraderie and good times. Tom had a special feeling for place and time, for history, an appreciation for living in the moment and sharing that moment with whomever accompanied him. From the National ballpark to the Delaware Shore, from Ocean Drive on Miami Beach to Redskins games, Tom and I shared many memorable times together, and I will miss my friend very much.
“Tom was an innovator and ahead of his time in terms of applying media production with cutting edge distribution techniques to reach professional healthcare audiences.”
Early on, Shaw was in magazine distribution and then sold X-Ray film for Kodak. He decided to get into media production, creating Med-Scene in partnership with radiologists from Alexandria Hospital in 1979. He created the leading interventional radiology video production firm in the US, a leader in educational media at the time. In 1984, he merged his company to create Media Exchange, a production company based in Old Town, producing programming for pharmaceutical companies, the American Stock Exchange, Columbia Pictures, among many other clients. He split away in 1987 to form International Information Resources (IIR), which grew into a major player in the sector of live interactive satellite programming.
Shaw helped create a number of private satellite networks that IIR produced the media for, including Clinical Center Grand Rounds in collaboration with NIH, CenterNet with the Association of Academic Health Centers, and ran production for Hospital Satellite Network for three years in the early 90s. IIR produced MedScholar, the first of its kind digital network to provide continuing professional health education to practitioner’s homes via cable. He began Outcome Communications in the mid-90s and was a partner in Celebrate Productions, a live event and staging company that provides production services to ExxonMobil among its many clients.
There were few networking events or causes that Shaw didn’t support and he was a source of support and knowledge to many organizations. He served on so many boards and committees that they are too numerous to mention.
“I met Tom several years ago and he introduced me to the SFDC when Lara Fritts was the Executive Director and he got me involved with SFDC,” said Peter G. Baldwin, MarketForce Strategies. “He was very generous in making connections, and always tried to create business opportunities. On top of that, he was just a nice guy with a good heart.”
Shaw loved to contribute to and participate in community events. He spent a lot of time with the "Men's Group" and at Via Veneto. He also enjoyed taking his beloved dog Seamus to local dog parks and playing tennis and listening to NPR. His most precious time was spent with his family and friends. Another good friend, Michael Lewan, said, "Tom was a Renaissance Man – comfortable talking politics, poetry, sports and culture. But in a way that made others feel comfortable and welcoming to his knowledge. Tom was a teacher in every sense of the word."