Donald Shaw Sr., the longtime leader of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139, died last week at the age of 91.
Shaw was president of Local 139, the largest construction union in Wisconsin, from 1977 until his retirement in 1995. Before being in that position, he had owned and operated a successful construction company before selling the company to his employees, according to his obituary. According to Shaw’s wishes, his family held a private funeral service last week in Greenfield.
“He was known for having a stubborn determination and an infectious smile,” according to his obituary. “His family knew him as a patient and generous husband and father who nurtured and enjoyed a special closeness with his family.”
A native of Park Falls, Shaw joined the Marine Corps in 1945 and served with occupational forces in Japan and China. After returning from service, he married Lois Ann Phillips in Franklin Park, Illinois, in 1953 before the couple returned to Neenah and raised two sons.
In a memo to Local 139 members, Terry McGowan, the union’s president and business manger, remembered Shaw as a leader who hat worked to advance the interests of the union, although he didn’t shy away from controversy.
“Whenever he spoke of our members whether publicly or privately their interests and financial well-being was always part of his conversation,” McGowan said. “To me, he was a mentor, a friend, and a labor leader that was bigger than life.”Follow @natebeck9