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Owen Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Virginia Hamilton Shaw

July 2, 1924May 3, 2021
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Virginia Hamilton Shaw Dr. Virginia Hamilton July 2, 1924 – May 3, 2021

Virginia Hamilton Shaw, or Dr. Virginia Hamilton as she was known to many, who served for thirty-four years as a Senior District Health Director for the Georgia Department of Human Resources died of natural causes on Monday, May 3rd. She was 96.

Mrs. Shaw was a resident of Cartersville, Georgia and was the Senior District Health Director for the ten county Coosa Health District, responsible for the development and management of the Northwest Georgia region’s public and mental health programs.

In that role she established the region’s first primary health care facilities, staffed by nurse practitioners under her supervision, providing primary care to all citizens of the region regardless of their ability to pay. She developed programs to provide primary health care, mental health care, diabetes treatment programs, stroke and heart attack prevention programs, one of the State’s few home health care services, and spearheaded the development of the region’s first emergency medical services; providing direction and leadership to a staff of over 200 public health and 180 mental health employees.

She was devoted to her work and set high standards for both herself and her employees, and she took great pride in the fact that their health and mental care programs were routinely rated as being among the best in the State.

Over the course of her career she was recognized numerous times including being named Woman of the Year in Gainesville, Georgia in 1953; Woman of the Year in Cartersville, Georgia in 1969; Boss of the Year in Rome, Georgia in 1977; and receiving both the Appalachian Georgia Health Service Award and the Georgia Primary Health Care Provider Award in 1983, given in recognition of the individual who has been deemed to have contributed most significantly to the health care of the residents of North Georgia.

Virginia Dare Hamilton was born on July 2, 1924, in Russellville, Alabama, and grew up in Winder, Georgia. Her father, Fred Gordon Hamilton was a small businessman. Her mother, Katie Mae (Willis) Hamilton was a homemaker and the mother of ten. She was their third child and oldest daughter and from a young age her mother and father emphasized the importance of hard work, integrity, the value of an education and, most importantly, to have empathy for others; values that she passed along to her own family.

She enrolled at the University of Alabama at the age of sixteen and after only one and half years had earned enough undergraduate credits to be one of twelve students, and the only female, to be accepted and enroll at the University of Alabama School of Medicine where she received her medical degree. She did her residency at Crawford W. Long Hospital in Atlanta and after a brief career as a general family practitioner returned to the University of North Carolina for a master’s degree in public health.

There were a number of firsts in her life including being the first female graduate of the University of Alabama Medical School and the first woman to hold the position of Public Health Commissioner in the State of Georgia.

When she was not working or devoting time to her family, she enjoyed numerous hobbies. She was an avid golfer who participated in the Women’s Golf Association at the Cartersville Country Club, carding four holes-in-one over the years. She was an accomplished seamstress who not only made her own clothes, but also provided memorable Halloween costumes for her grandchildren. She was a master quilter who participated in the Etowah Valley Quilting Guild and actively volunteered to participate in quilting demonstrations at the Swan Coach House for the Atlanta Historical Society. She enjoyed gardening and was a wonderful cook whose many recipes, especially those for buttermilk biscuits and cornbread dressing, will be cherished by our family for years to come.

There was a directness in her demeanor that could catch you off guard but was always spot on. Family, friends and others who came to know her learned to appreciate the fact that one of her most endearing qualities was her sharp wit and the fact that she could always be counted on to “tell it like it is”.

Above all she was a devoted Christian who had a strong faith in God and was an active member of the Cartersville First Baptist Church for over six decades.

She was predeceased by her first husband, William Curtis Maley and a son, John Hamilton Maley, both of whom died in the 1950’s. She was also predeceased by her second husband, Henry Clayton “Kid” Shaw. She is survived by her son, Mark Hamilton Shaw (Treacy); her granddaughter, Morgan Shaw DiOrio (Mike); two grandsons, Mark Hamilton Shaw, Jr., and Henry Clayton Shaw II; two great-granddaughters, her namesake Virginia Dare DiOrio and Catherine Coleman DiOrio; a brother Paul L. Hamilton; a sister Polly Evans; a sister-in-law, Mary Hamilton and a host of nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends and family from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 15 in the chapel at Owen Funeral Home, 12 Collins Drive, Cartersville, GA. As per her wishes there will be a brief service immediately after the visitation and the internment at Oak Hill Cemetery will be a private family affair.

The family would like to thank the kind, compassionate and professional staff of Presbyterian Village in Austell, Georgia who lovingly cared for her in her final years. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to either the Atlanta Community Food Bank or the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, both of which serve the Northwest region of Georgia which Dr. Hamilton devoted her life’s work to.

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, May 15, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, May 15, 2021

Memories

Virginia Hamilton Shaw

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Sharyl Hamilton Shelton

May 12, 2021

Mark,
Our sympathy to you, Traecy and family upon Aunt Virginia’s death. She was a remarkable, accomplished woman and I have always been proud to be her niece. Mama Mary especially wants to send her love.
Sharyl Hamilton Shelton
Oxford, NC

Chuck Gilreath

May 11, 2021

Quite a lady and an outstanding leader and contributor to the health of our city and our region. There are very few like her.

Shepherd Howell

May 11, 2021

Dr. Virginia was truly one of the most accomplished citizens of Bartow County, or even the State of Georgia for that matter, in her time. Very few people have given so much to their community and had such a positive impact. She was a legend, and a great example and role model for all of us. A life very well lived.
Sincerely, Shepherd L. Howell

Joseph Brandon

May 10, 2021

With Deepest Sympathy, DeLean and J. Brandon, III

Diannia French Teague

May 7, 2021

Mark,
I enjoyed sitting near your Mother at the old First Baptist Church location in the morning church services for several years.
I also remember her bringing you into Pate’s Store (owned by my family) to buy toys.
I have often thought of her as I passed her house.
Condolences to you and your family.
Sincerely,
Diannia

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Burge Plantation 2013

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