Elden K. Shaw

I was born in Brigham City, Utah on August 20, 1934. My father is William Philip Shaw and my mother is Fern Kimber. The physician who delivered me was W. R. Merrill. Dr. Merrill also was the doctor who delivered my two brothers, Alan and William and Kenneth Elden Shaw, my eldest son, as well as many other residents of Grouse Creek.

I grew up in Grouse Creek, Box Elder County, Utah, a small town in northwestern Utah. Nearly all of the people in the town were related to me and all of the residents were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). My mother came from a family with twenty children and most of them lived in Grouse Creek. My father was the only son in his family of seven children. My brother, Alan and I were inseparable as young boys and often dressed exactly alike. The people in Grouse Creek often called us the “twins.”

Some of my earliest memories are of going to church with my mother, watching the stained glass windows, and attending Sunday School class where we sat on little red chairs. I was baptized in the spillway of the Etna reservoir.

I lived in Grouse Creek until I was nine years old and attended the Grouse Creek School. My first teacher was Mrs. Brown. I thought she was wonderful. She taught me how to read, which opened up the whole world to me. The school had only three rooms:  the little, middle and big rooms. During those years there was no kindergarten in Grouse Creek and education was available only through the eighth grade.

When I was nine years old, we moved to Brigham City, Utah, population about 4,000. I started the fourth grade at Lincoln School. In Brigham City we lived in seven different rented apartments and houses. Finally we bought a home at 611 South First West.

I attended Box Elder High School which has since been torn down. It looked a little bit like a castle. I was a pretty good student but most of all I enjoyed sports. Unfortunately I was too small to participate in high school varsity athletics.

Every summer we went to Montana with Dad and Mom while Dad worked on a sheep shearing crew. My brother Alan and I lived in a tent and spent our days fishing and hunting. It was a great way to spend the summer. When we were older, we worked on the shearing crew, tied up the wool, and carried it to the wool sack.

One year Mother did not go to Montana with us. She was going to have a baby. On December 11, 1948, my brother William Charles Shaw was born. What an exciting time this was for our family.

While I was in high school I also attended Seminary. I had some great teachers who not only taught me the Gospel but helped me gain a testimony of the truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will never forget A. Theodore Tuttle who taught the Old Testament. He later became a General Authority in the Church.

After high school I went to college at Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) in Logan, Utah to study engineering. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1956. I attended Stanford University during 1957 and earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering.

While I was attending college I started “going steady” with a girl who lived down the street from our house in Brigham City. After dating for nearly five years, we were married in the Salt Lake Temple onDecember 30, 1957. The best and most important decision I have ever made was to marry Janice Ohman.

After we were married we went to Dayton, Ohio where I was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. We lived in Dayton for three years. My assignment in the Air Force was developing electronic components. While we were in Ohio, our first daughter, Vicki Ann, was born on December 23, 1958.

After receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force we moved to Bountiful, Utah where I went to work for Litton Tube Corporation as a research engineer. While we were in Utah, Kenneth Elden Shaw was born on February 18, 1960.

We then moved to San Carlos, California to continue working for Litton. In 1960 I started going to Stanford University part time. Finally in December 1966 I graduated with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. During this time Bryan Kay Shaw was born on August 6, 1961 and we moved to Cupertino, California. We also bought our first home at 10438 Prunetree Lane.

In 1967 I accepted a faculty position at San Jose State University and started teaching Electrical Engineering. I taught at San Jose State for seventeen years. During this time I became a full professor and was the Chair of the Computer Science and General Engineering Department for six years. My teaching areas were electromagnetic theory, microwaves, and computer science. In 1977 I received a Master of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Stanford University. These years were a period of spiritual growth for me in the Church. I served in the Bishopric of the San Jose Sixth Ward, on the Stake High Council, and later as Bishop of this same ward for six years. During this period of time I had several profound spiritual experiences which strengthened my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel and the power of the Priesthood. Six months before I was called to be Bishop our youngest daughter, Susan Anita was born on November 26, 1971. What a joy my children have been in my life.

In 1985 the opportunity arose to go to California State University, Fresno to become the Dean of the School of Engineering. Even though this meant selling the family home and leaving the Bay Area, we felt that it was the right thing to do. On June 15, 1985, I became the Dean of Engineering and served in that position until my retirement in 1996. I have not regretted the move to Fresno. We have a lovely home, new friends, and I enjoy my calling as a Stake Patriarch. My only sadness is that most of our family, which included twelve grandchildren, are separated from us by many miles. They are all, however, very close to our hearts.

At age sixty-two I look back on my life with some satisfaction and a great deal of pride in my family and in my Grouse Creek heritage. My greatest desire is that my children will stay close to the Church, have strong testimonies of the Gospel, and raise righteous families who enjoy life!

This brief history of my life was written for my granddaughter, Janice Ann McGhie, in April 1992 with an update in May 1997.