Jean Shaw: May 10, 1936 – December 16, 2021

Jean Tappan Shaw (Gibson/Gaznier) passed away in her sleep on December 16. 2021. She was born in Trenton, New Jersey into a family of educators, diplomats, archeologists, and explorers. She fully embodied that love for adventure. After graduating from Radcliffe in 1957, she married John Conrad Gibson and moved to Montreal so he could attend medical school at McGill. Jean gave birth to her first and second sons, John Eric Gibson and Christopher Heid Gibson, while in Montreal. After graduating, the family moved to Japan where John was stationed in the Navy. Her third son, Michael Adam Gibson, was born there. Later stationed in Bremerton, Jean fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.

In 1974, Jean cut up all her credit cards, bought ten acres of raw land off Coles Rd. and moved her three kids to Whidbey Island. She began teaching at South Whidbey Elementary, one lesson ahead of her guitar class and one play ahead of her basketball team. The house she built was a work of love that grew through the work of several local artists and was a magnet for family and friends. In the ensuing years, Jean had an enormously positive impact on students and staff through her teaching, directing musicals at the High School and in later years as a teacher/mentor at the Bayview School. She also worked for the Giraffe Project helping develop Service Learning projects for educators around the world. Music was also a lifelong passion for Jean. That passion was expressed in the musicals she directed, the choirs she sang in, as one of the Carolina Parrots – an a capella trio born out of the Fools acting troupe in the 1970s – and through teaching numerous young musicians-to-be the guitar, recorder, and piano.

Jean is survived by her three sons and her younger brother, Eric Shaw, and his family. A celebration of life will be held in the spring. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, please make a charitable donation to the South Whidbey Schools Foundation (, which she helped found in 1995.