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Longtime San Juan Capistrano community resident Kathrine “Kay” Dana Shaw celebrated her 100th birthday on May 1 at El Adobe de Capistrano with family and friends.
The event included music, and reminiscing about times spent horse riding and at barbecues by those in attendance. Shaw’s life experiences include surviving The Great Depression, running newspaper and camper rental businesses, and producing and co-producing plays and films. Shaw wrote, directed, and produced plays in San Juan.
She has also been a member and president of the Women’s Club of San Juan Capistrano and the Orange County Federation of Republican Women.
“We never complained and were thankful to God,” Shaw said of her early years. “We always lived near trees. I could climb and throw down fruit and nuts to my siblings, and gather branches to burn in the fireplace.”
When Shaw married her second husband, Fulton Shaw, owner of Old Macdonald’s Farm at Knott’s Berry Farm, she also developed The Party Garden, a children’s party area with marionette puppet theatre, while continuing to write Knott’s publicity ads for newspaper, radio, and television.
Kathy Carpenter, a former Women’s Club member and friend of Shaw’s for almost 60 years, said she looked “absolutely lovely” during the birthday celebration.
“Kay is the community guardian angel of San Juan Capistrano,” family friend Suzee Grupe Oberfelder said.
Shaw has also helped abused women and children, and taught prisoners via mail correspondence by sending and correcting Bible study lessons.