Paddy Magnuson

Paddy Shaw Magnuson

1925 - 2017

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Obituary of Paddy Magnuson

Mrs. Paddy Shaw Magnuson, a longtime Delhi resident, passed away in her home on September 4, 2017. She was 92.

Born Phyllis Constance Shaw in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1925, and known as Paddy from infancy, Mrs. Magnuson was the fourth of six children born to Ethel Dorman Shaw, a businesswoman, and James Wesley Shaw, a celebrated motorcycle racer. Paddy attended the Richmond Lodge School (now Victoria College) in Belfast and grew up during World War II when Belfast was bombed numerous times by the Luftwaffe. She emigrated to the United States in 1948 along with her parents and younger sisters.

Soon after arriving in Montclair, New Jersey, Paddy and her younger sister, Mrs. Victoria Berry, known as Fay, headed west, to La Jolla, California, and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Both were employed at Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn. Paddy’s photo albums from that period document a love for the wilderness and the cultivation of many friendships. Her travels also led Paddy to John Magnuson, her husband of 51 years, who predeceased her in 2012. John’s post as a professor in SUNY Delhi’s hospitality department brought the couple to Delhi in 1969.

A gifted amateur tennis and badminton player, Paddy competed as a singles and doubles player, often partnered with Fay. But a childhood spent surrounded by animals developed into a 50-year-long passion for breeding, raising, and showing Great Dane dogs. Under the kennel name Magnus Danes, Paddy bred many champions, including most recently, Seanachai, Irish Mooch of Magnus, (known as Seani) and Mochree, Irish Melody of Magnus, known as Madi, brother and sister, whose dam, Rockbridge Charli-Angel, known as Charli, was Paddy’s most successful champion. Seani and Madi survive Paddy, and have been placed in loving homes near Delhi.

In a column she authored for the Great Dane Club of America, Paddy wrote “there is nothing more gratifying than raising a beautiful, healthy litter and seeing them float around the ring, or fly through an agility course with the grace and swiftness of an antelope. It takes experience, dedication, and a continuing search for knowledge to reach such gratification.”

Paddy was a regular contributor to publications and websites related to Great Danes. Entries to her column “Words of Wisdom” ( are still accessible online. Until as recently as 2012, Paddy was a sought-after Great Dane show judge; she also promoted the certification of therapy dogs. In addition, she was an advocate for the proper care and treatment of animals in general, serving on the board of and as an obedience trainer for the Heart of the Catskills Humane Society.

Humane Society Director Deb Crute described Paddy as an ardent supporter of animals and a dear friend, saying she was “a spunky, intelligent, and incredible woman who will be missed greatly by many people—and animals—in the community.” 

“We should all be so fortunate to have had Paddy, or anyone even remotely like her, in our lives,” she added.

Strong in her opinions, her politics, and the proper treatment of animals, Paddy lived as she wished, independently with her handsome dogs beside her, until her death.

In addition to her husband, Paddy was predeceased by four of her five siblings, Wesley Shaw, Maureen Livesey, Joan Bulloch, and Barbara Boyd, and her niece Yvonne Shaw. She is survived by her sister Fay Berry; her nieces Sharon Livesey, Joan Livesey, Patricia Berry, and Victoria Robinson; and her nephews Richard Shaw, Douglas Shaw, Robert Livesey, Michael Berry, Stuart Boyd, and Steve Boyd.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate the life of Paddy Shaw Magnuson at 3 pm., Saturday, October 14, at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi in Centennial Lounge of Sanford Hall, 454 Delhi Drive, Delhi, NY.

Her family asks that gifts in Paddy’s memory be sent to the Heart of the Catskills Humane Society, P.O. Box 88, Delhi, NY 13753, or to the John Magnuson Hospitality Scholarship Endowment, College Foundation at Delhi, Inc. at 454 Delhi Drive, Bush Hall, Room 171, Delhi, NY 13753.

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Celebration of Life

3:00 pm
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Sanford Hall @ SUNY Delhi
454 Delhi Dr.
Delhi, New York, United States