Born on February 8, 1926 in Chicago, Illinois, Beverly Shaw McNamara peacefully passed away at her home in Phoenix, Arizona on May 19, 2012. During her 86 years of life, Beverly accomplished a lot, leaving a profound and memorable mark on this world. The only child of Lester and Hertha Shaw, Beverly grew up in the heart of Chicago, near the south shore of Lake Michigan. After graduating from South Shore High School, she attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and completed her undergraduate degree in 1947 with a major in Dramatic Arts and a minor in Science. Since 1956, Beverly has lived in the same Arcadia home in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the proud mother of two daughters, Linda (“Mac”) and Pam. During the early years, she volunteered at her daughters’ schools and with the ACC swim team. She successfully managed her multiple responsibilities as a mom and volunteer while also teaching Science and Drama to 7th grade students in the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD). She primarily taught at Navajo Elementary School; in the later years, she also taught at Pima and Cocopah Middle Schools. To further advance her skills, Beverly completed her Master’s in Education from ASU in 1972 with an emphasis in Secondary Science Education. “She made science fun!” was the motto of her students, and it is estimated that she taught approximately 3800 students during her teaching career. Beverly served as the district coordinator of Math, Science and Social Studies for the SUSD for four years. She was the co-director of the NAU Summer Science and Energy camp for 7th grade students for five years. She taught fellow educators at summer courses at ASU, and mentored future educators from the NAU College of Education. Her expert teaching skills afforded her with appointments to national boards for the National Science Teachers’ Association, the American Coal Foundation and other education and science related organizations. She was a presenter at the Soviet/American Convention in Moscow, Russia in 1991; she taught Russian science teachers how to use science fairs to teach reasoning and problem solving skills to their students. An early proponent of solar energy, she co-authored a book in 1981 with Eleanor Villalpando about solar power activities in the classroom. Beverly regularly proclaimed, “I loved being a teacher.” She considered teaching to be the greatest profession. Beverly taught so much more than science. She taught her two daughters, Linda and Pam, how to love unconditionally, and how to always maintain a positive attitude. Linda’s husband, Russ Perlich, learned how a woman who had been through a lot could maintain grace and beauty at all times. Beverly taught her three grandchildren, Maggie, Samantha and Molly Perlich, that love means proudly attending their many sporting events, piano recitals and school plays in Tucson; the distance of the drive did not matter. Beverly taught all of us the importance of faith and church; she was an active member of the Valley Presbyterian Church for many years. The value of community service was also taught through her participation in various organizations (e.g. Girls’ Ranch and P.E.O.). Beverly consistently displayed a steadfast commitment to her family and friends; she always made herself available to help in whatever way was needed. She will be deeply missed by her daughters, family, friends and all who had the honor to know her. We are blessed to have been a part of her life. A celebration of the life of Beverly Shaw McNamara will be held on Saturday, June 9th at 10:30 am in the Sanctuary of Valley Presbyterian Church (6947 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253.) A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Beverly’s honor to Teach for America-Phoenix or Hospice of the Valley.
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