Man of Avon: John K. Shaw, III ’64
July 1, 2020
NORTHEAST HARBOR and Glyndon, Md.
John Knox Shaw III, of Glyndon, Md., and Northeast Harbor, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, June 26, surrounded by his beloved family and dogs. He was 75.
Born in Baltimore in 1944, Johnny attended Calvert and Gilman schools before graduating from Avon Old Farms in Connecticut. He then headed west and attended the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Upon his return to Maryland, Shaw formed several enterprises with friend and business partner Michael Keyser, including Photographic Unlimited and the auto racing team Toad Hall Motor Racing. Between 1969 and 1976, they raced in the U.S. and Europe, winning races at Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1972, they also produced a feature-length documentary film about motor racing following four leading drivers, including Mario Andretti. “The Speed Merchants” was released in 1974 and remains a cult classic to this day with racing afficionados.
In later life, Shaw leveraged his network and experience into real estate, and became a successful agent of Baltimore County’s horse farms and premier properties.
Johnny was an avid sportsman, a deadeye shot in a duck or goose blind, as well as a skilled fisherman on fresh or salt waters. His love of horses started at an early age, riding and hunting with his father, John K. Shaw Jr., who was MFH of the Greenspring Valley Hounds. Johnny would later serve as secretary of the Hunt, as well as lifelong committee member of the Grand National Steeplechase. He was an iconic fixture during the point-to-point season every April in Maryland, often with high-end intel gleaned from his wide-reaching network. He was also an ardent supporter of his children’s lacrosse, hockey and field hockey teams, and never missed a game.
Spending summers and autumns on Mount Desert Island was a part of his life since childhood, following in the traditions of his parents and grandparents, and his home on Rock End Road in Northeast Harbor was a meeting place where friends and neighbors could always count on getting the latest “insider intel” on the goings on of the island. Shaw loved nothing more than exploring the nearby islands and waters, and aqua-dining with his Eastern boat, Bender, and was an enthusiastic member of the Northeast Harbor Fleet.
But most of all, Johnny Shaw will be remembered as a devoted husband and father, and beloved friend. He was never happier than in the company of friends and fans of his infectious sense of humor, holding court with a cocktail in hand and great music as a soundtrack. He rarely let precise details get in the way of a good story, and riotous laughter would always ensue.
He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 50 years, Fredericka Savage Shaw; sister, Betty Shaw Weymouth of Monkton, Md; children, Liza Shaw of Petaluma, Calif., and Jack Shaw and Susanna Magruder of Praz-de-Fort, Switzerland.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Friends of Acadia, Bar Harbor, or the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, Md.