It was strange how often Larry Shaw’s car found its way to the Kimball Farm Ice Cream stand in Leominster, Mass.

A family camping trip somehow ended up there, as did numerous side trips on journeys to visit family and friends up and down the East Coast. It was not unusual for Mr. Shaw to keep a cooler in his car in order to bring some of his favorite ice cream back to Maine.

“Even if we were going to Boston, we’d have to go off track,” said Chrissie Libby of Portland.

Ending up at Kimball’s ice cream was just part of growing up for Libby, one of Mr. Shaw’s daughters, who on Saturday recalled her father’s knack for surprising his family with fun detours and mystery trips.

Elmer Laurence “Larry” Shaw died Friday, at 69, after a short illness.

Mr. Shaw graduated from Potter Academy in Sebago in 1959. He served in the Air Force from 1962 to 1966, earning a trucking license and moving military personnel around the country. Maybe that’s where he caught the travel bug.

“The family used to travel around everywhere,” said his other daughter, Jessica Shaw of Sebago.

One time they drove from Maine to Disney World in Florida in 24 hours, with Mr. Shaw and his wife, Susan, taking turns sleeping and driving. The return trip took much longer, stopping at points of interest such as Williamsburg, Va., and Hershey, Pa.

Mr. Shaw sometimes told his family he didn’t know where they were going on their trips. His daughters now think otherwise, that perhaps the places were points of interest he had passed in his trucking days. Other destinations coincided with trips to visit family and friends in Kentucky, Tennessee and New York.

“We think Dad always knew where we’d end up, but we never did,” Jessica Shaw said.

Mr. Shaw also collected antique sleighs. He might ask the family to pack a lunch and get ready for a mystery trip, only to end up somewhere in Vermont or New Hampshire, where there was an old sleigh he wanted to inspect.

More than a collector, Mr. Shaw was a skilled craftsman. He made Shaker-style furniture, including a matching chest and jewelry box for Jessica.

He cleared the land and built the family home in Sebago, as well as an indoor archery range for his son, Larry, who lives in Missouri.

Illness began to restrict Mr. Shaw’s travels earlier this year, although he enjoyed a picnic along the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire this spring.

One week ago, Mr. Shaw made his final journey, to a nursing home in Rumford where his wife is now living.

“It was his way of saying goodbye,” Libby said. “That was his last trip.”

Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:

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