Tommy Shaw, shown here at a worksite in the earlier days of Gorham Sand & Gravel, died last week at age 55. Contributed / Gorham Sand & Gravel

Thomas P. Shaw of Standish, co-founder of Gorham Sand & Gravel in Buxton, was remembered this week as a “natural” businessman who was passionate about his family and contributed greatly to his community.

Shaw, 55, died Jan. 13 in a Portland hospital from COVID-19 and pneumonia, a family member said.

Known to all as “Tommy,” he was an icon, said Mark Curtis, general manager of Gorham Sand & Gravel. He was always prepared and focused on finding solutions to problems.

“He was playing chess, the rest of us playing checkers,” Curtis said.

Tommy Shaw

“He was passionate about family, especially kids,” he said. “He had a spectacular sense of humor although you wouldn’t see it until all the work for the day was done.”

Shaw also had “a huge sense of responsibility.”


“That was the driving factor in his life. Responsibility to his family, to his brother and partner Jimmy, to his co-workers,” Curtis said.

Shaw grew up on a family dairy farm and graduated from Gorham High School in 1985, according to his obituary.

Jim Shaw said his older brother “was one of a kind.”

He recalled that when they were kids, he and Tommy would buy chickens, pigs, ponies or cattle at a livestock auction.

“We’d ride them home or herd them home,” he said.

After first working for his older brothers at Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham, Tommy started his own business in 1986 and Jim left Shaw Brothers to join him. They incorporated Gorham Sand & Gravel in January 1987. The business relocated to Buxton in 2000.


Gorham Sand & Gravel, which got its start with one dump truck and a used excavator, has grown to employ nearly 90 in the summer months and works in Cumberland and York counties.

Jon Shaw, president of Shaw Brothers Construction, said Tommy was a “natural” at business and the two companies competed with each other.

“They wanted every job and so did we,” he said. “We used to say we’re brothers after 5 p.m.”

Tommy and his wife, Sue, attended services at West Gorham Union Church and one in Marco Island, Florida, where they had a winter home, Jon Shaw said. He had four children and two stepchildren.

“He was a great family guy. He set the example,” he said.

Tommy Shaw loved snowmobiling, Sebago Lake, and helping communities and people. His community donations included those in Gorham and Buxton.


Mia Dodge, chairperson of Buxton Toy Box, which donates toys and other items to children in need, said Gorham Sand & Gravel was a “huge supporter” for many years.

Curtis recalled Tommy sent a crew to upgrade a driveway for an ill Standish veteran.

He was generous and when he helped someone, he didn’t want it known,” Jon Shaw said.

His brother’s death leaves a “big hole,” Jon Shaw said, and Curtis said he’ll miss everything about Tommy.

Gorham Sand & Gravel will “keep right on going on,” Jimmy Shaw said.

An outdoor celebration of Shaw’s life will be held in the spring.

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