December 23, 1995: Newspaperman Sam Shaw Dies at 82


Newspaperman Sam Shaw died on December 23, 1995, at age 82. From 1951 until his death, he was the beloved and eccentric editor of the Moundsville Daily Echo.

Shaw was a tinkerer, hiker, musician, photographer, linguist, and bird watcher. During World War II, he was a decoder in army radio intelligence. As editor of the Echo, his quirky ‘‘Jots’’ column served as a sounding board for community projects, including his 30-year crusade to build the Moundsville Ohio River bridge.

Shaw designed the traffic light synchronization for Moundsville and installed the town’s first direct-dial telephones and the first two-way radios in police cruisers and taxis. In the 1950s, the city installed an electric fire alarm system. At its debut, the system failed to work due to faulty wiring. Shaw jury-rigged a toaster to the alarm system, completing the electrical circuit. The system worked for years with the toaster in place.

Sam Shaw was an avid runner but often finished last in races, earning the nickname Flying Turtle. One of his proudest achievements, though, was finishing first for male runners in the 75-79 age group in Pittsburgh’s 1990 Great Race.