August 26, 1921 ~ April 9, 2007
Mary Heath (Billie)
Mary Gladys McFarlane Shaw Heath (Billie) left us to join her maker early on the morning of April 9, the day after Easter, after a fearless battle with pneumonia.
Billie was born in Hilo, Hawaii in August 1921, the second daughter of Bertram and Florence Shaw. She was an island girl, spending most of her carefree, barefoot youth on the island of Oahu. When it came time for college, she boarded a ship with her steamer trunk and ukulele and headed off to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene. During her second year in college, Pearl Harbor was attacked. It took quite an effort and some time to get passage on a ship to return to her family in Hawaii, since ships were primarily used to transport troops.
In October 1943, she met the love of her life, Norval Kemp Heath, an Air Force Major at the time, stationed at Mokuleia on Oahu. They married in June 1947 and began what many would consider a fairytale romance that lasted a lifetime. The Air Force kept Norv and Billie on the move. Their first child, David, was born in Washingon DC and four years later Shannon was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A three-year assignment in Holland added many adventures for the family. The girl from the islands gracefully handled all of the challenges that go with being a diplomat's wife, raising children, and conducting day-to-day life in a foreign country.
After retiring from the Air Force, the family moved in 1966 to Rancho Palos Verdes where they found a home with a view of Billie's beloved Pacific Ocean. Norv then began his second career with Northrop Aircraft Company selling airplanes in Europe. Billie enjoyed joining him on some of his business trips and particularly enjoyed a three-year assignment in Zurich, Switzerland.
Though she never moved fast, Billie was always moving; whether it be volunteering at Cabrillo Beach Marine Museum, taking yoga, tai chi, or art classes, she was always trying to exercise her body and mind. Most recently, she and Norv were learning to speak Spanish and taking a bible study class. Her devout faith in God was a great comfort to her during her illness.
We will miss her boundless love, encouragement, and support; her sense of humor; her touch; her grace; her ability to always make you feel important; her smile; her warmth; her softness; her artistry; her love of her family, and selfless desire for our happiness.
Billie was preceded in death by her parents Bertram and Florence Shaw, her sister Peggy, and her niece Diana. She is survived by her husband Norval; her son David and his wife Yvonne; her daughter Shannon and her husband Mike; her grandson Derek; and her niece Marilyn.
We will bid a final Aloha to our beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and auntie at an 11:00 am memorial service on Saturday, April 14, 2007 at Saint Francis Episcopal Church, 2200 Via Rosa, Palos Verdes Estates, CA. A reception at the church will follow the service.
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