Former U.S. Rep. and Fort Lauderdale Mayor E. Clay Shaw, Jr. died Tuesday night after a long battle with lung cancer.
A true statesman, Shaw, 74, served as a Republican in Congress for 26 years. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Emilie, four children and 15 grandchildren, according to the Miami Herald.
“It is with heavy hearts and profound sadness that our family announces the passing of our loving husband, father, grandfather, congressman and mayor, E. Clay Shaw, Jr. Clay Shaw passed away on Tuesday, September 10th at Holy Cross Hospital surrounded by family and following a courageous battle against lung cancer,” Shaw’s family said in a statement .
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a former congressman, worked with Shaw while in Washington.
“Florida lost a great advocate and public servant when Clay Shaw was called home last night,” Putnam said in a statement. “I had an opportunity to work on a number of issues with Clay, but his greatest love was always his family. Melissa and I send our prayers to Emilie and the Shaw family.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., released this statement:
“For over a quarter century, Clay Shaw epitomized everything a public servant should be and made South Floridians proud. I was always impressed by Clay’s work on the causes he was most passionate about. Clay’s impact on America will forever be felt through the important reforms he championed on welfare reform, Social Security reform and Everglades restoration. My wife Jeanette and I are praying for Clay’s wife, Emilie, and their family in this time of grief, and I hope they will find some comfort in knowing he lived an extraordinary life in the service of his community and his country.”
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West called Shaw his mentor, and posted this on his Facebook page:
“As I awoke to this 12th remembrance of 9-11, I was saddened to learn the news of the passing of my Congressional mentor, Representative E. Clay Shaw. Congressman Shaw welcomed me to South Florida upon my retiring from the US Army in 2004. I will never forget meeting him the first time and getting his blessing and endorsement to run in the congressional district which he had represented for over 26 years. Congressman Shaw was there with me the night of our victory in 2010 and sat beside me on the House floor the day of my swearing-in. E. Clay Shaw was truly an American Statesman, great husband, and tender father and grandfather. He will be sorely missed by so many and I shall continue to pursue the restoration of the America he so dearly loved. Fair winds and following seas Sir, Steadfast and Loyal.”
Shaw was instrumental in welfare reform legislation passed in 1996, and spoke to BizPac Review in a January 2012 article about his contribution to the effort. While Shaw was rarely given credit for his involvement, the gavel used by House Speaker Newt Gingrich signaling House passage of the measure hung on Shaw’s office wall.
After he left Congress, Shaw donated his entire congressional collection to his alma mater, Stetson University. The Shaw collection is housed at the university’s duPont-Ball library in Deland, Fla., according to Wikipedia.