This past Thursday, March 17, the historic Poindexter Dental held a 100th Birthday Celebration for one of its longtime patients, Ms. Virlee Shaw.
In conjunction with its 60th Anniversary, Poindexter Dental was honored and privileged to celebrate Shaw’s 100th birthday, who is by far one of their most senior patients. Shaw and guests enjoyed the jazzy smooth sounds of recording artist Donna E. Scott. The event was celebrated by VIP dignitaries and guests, such as Houston City Councilman Dwight Boykins and Forward Times Publisher/CEO Karen Carter Richards.
“Poindexter Dental, Inc. has been providing comprehensive oral care treatment in Houston for over 60 years, so we know a thing or two about history,” said second-generation owner Dr. Zeb F. Poindexter III. “My father left us a tremendous business legacy right here in Sunnyside, so it is only fitting that we honor Ms. Virlee Shaw, a woman who has been as much a part of the overall business success and rich history of Poindexter Dental as anybody.”
Shaw was born in Leesburg, Texas, a small town in northeast Texas, on March 15, 1916. She is the youngest of three children, two girls and one boy born to Sarah Ann Wright and Ecotrel Champion. Her mother died when she was nine years old, so she and her brother went to live with an uncle and her sister was in boarding school. Six months later, they went to live with Elizabeth and James Champion, their grandparents on their father’s side.
Shaw lived and worked on the farm where they raised most of their food; walked five miles a day, to and from elementary school in Leesburg; and finished the 7th grade. At seventeen, she went to Winnsboro High School for two years, one year in Oklahoma City, then returned to Winnsboro. At age 20, she married Elton Shaw, and returned to boarding school in Pittsburg, Texas for half a semester. Married people were allowed to attend that school. At age 24, she gave a natural birth to a beautiful baby girl, Lela Ann Shaw, in 1940.
By living and working on the farm, Shaw had many experiences that are foreign to today’s society, such as cooling butter in the well; keeping meat in the smokehouse; sweeping the yard with a straw broom; and many other things.
When World War II (WWII) was declared on September 1, 1939, Shaw and several other family members left Winnsboro to go work in Michigan.
Shaw worked for two years in Detroit as a Riveter and Driller on the airplane wings of the B-29 Bomber for the Briggs Manufacturing Company. Upon returning to Winnsboro, she performed domestic housekeeping work for the law firm of Suiter & Suiter; part-time janitorial work for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company; and the City Library. She later retired from working at Winnsboro City Hall as a custodian in 1989. While working for lawyers, Will Suiter & Elizabeth Suiter, the NAACP sued the Winnsboro Independent School District for not giving a portion of Allocated State Funds to the Dunbar Elementary School, which was the primary school for Black children. Two Caucasian lawyers for Winnsboro ISD came from Tyler, TX, to the home of the Suiters, who were also Caucasian, in order to interview Shaw in reference to the Federal Discrimination Case (1954). Shaw was an active member of the NAACP at the time.
When Shaw retired, one of the first things she did was build a nine-hole Miniature Golf Course in her backyard. This concept was a bit ahead of its time for the small town community in which she resided. She enjoys playing Putt-Putt golf every time she and her friends go on vacation, and her most recent Hole-in-One was made at the Holly Lake Resort Putt course in 2012.
Having witnessed much history, Shaw became a member of the Historical Marker Club and participated in the installation of five historical markers in the African American community.
When in Houston, Shaw enjoys watching TV political programs, such as Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper and Al Sharpton. She likes the Houston Astros, but her absolute favorite sport to watch is basketball. She loves watching the Houston Rockets play on TV, and especially enjoys Calvin Murphy and Kevin Eschenfelder. Shaw enjoys reasonably good health and traveling with her daughter. She often goes to S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, where she is referred to as “Elder Shaw.” She likes telling jokes and rehashing old stories with other seniors.
Please join the Forward Times in wishing Ms. Virlee Shaw a very Happy 100th Birthday!