Joel Edward Shaw, 51, Md. correctional officer

October 01, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

At 6 feet and 240 pounds, Joel Edward Shaw was quite imposing as he patrolled the halls and grounds of Patuxent Institution in Jessup. But Mr. Shaw didn't depend on intimidation for his job as a correctional officer; he relied on respect.

"He just treated everybody the same -- whether they were inmates, other officers or anybody else. He just respected everyone, and they respected him," said Randolph Pate, who worked with Mr. Shaw at the facility for 25 years.

Mr. Shaw, who worked at Patuxent from 1970 until last year, died Sunday at his White Marsh home of heart failure. He was 51.

During his 26 years at Patuxent, Mr. Shaw seldom missed a day of work and was known as a fair officer whom other officers depended upon. He was named Officer of the Year in 1990.

Mr. Shaw was alert and quick to break up disturbances. Several years ago, he prevented an escape while patrolling the grounds outside the prison.

During the escape attempt, an inmate had thrown a rope over the fence and was scaling it when Mr. Shaw noticed him, Mr. Pate said. A bad move on the inmate's part, Mr. Pate said.

"Joe pulled him down and really had a struggle with him," Mr. Pate said. "When everybody else came, he said, 'I'm glad y'all got here.' "

A native of Darlington County, S.C., Mr. Shaw moved to Baltimore as a child with his parents and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1966. He later attended a Baltimore automotive trade school.

Mr. Shaw served two tours of duty in Vietnam from 1966 to 1969, receiving a Purple Heart for injuries he suffered when his tank was bombed.

He worked for Bethlehem Steel Corp. at Sparrows Point from 1969 until 1970, when he became a correctional officer at Patuxent.

Since early this year, Mr. Shaw worked part time as an attendant at Esther's Place, a Northeast Baltimore assisted-care home for senior citizens.

"The thing about him is that he always made the clients laugh," said Franzine Addison, the center's residential manager. Although his duties did not involve cooking, he once helped in the kitchen.

"There was a joke around there that since he was born in South Carolina, he could cook," Ms. Addison said.

Mr. Shaw was active at Mount Calvary Holy Church in Northwest Baltimore, where he served as a deacon, treasurer and van driver.

Services are scheduled for 7 p.m. tomorrow at Brown Memorial Baptist Church, 3215 W. Belvedere Ave. in Baltimore.

He is survived by his wife, the former Cynthia Nelson, whom he married in 1968; three sons, the Rev. Ardie Shaw and Joel Edward Shaw Jr., both of Baltimore, and David Brown of White Marsh; his parents, Edith and Ernest Shaw of Baltimore; five brothers, James Shaw of Washington, Ernest Shaw Jr. of Kansas City, Mo., and Robert Shaw, Larry Shaw and Barry Shaw, all of Baltimore; and a grandson.

Pub Date: 10/01/97

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