Bench commemorates 65-year-old love story that began at ‘Angel Farm’

A bench was dedicated on the University of Montevallo campus Dec. 10 in honor of Frances Yates Shaw and Truman Shaw, who were married for 62 years. (Reporter Photo/Stephanie Brumfield)

A bench was dedicated on the University of Montevallo campus Dec. 10 in honor of Frances Yates Shaw and Truman Shaw, who were married for 62 years. (Reporter Photo/Stephanie Brumfield)

By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Back when the University of Montevallo was still Alabama College, an all-girls school, it was called “Angel Farm” by the young men who would visit the college campus on weekends.

It was at “Angel Farm” that Frances Yates Shaw met the man who would later become her husband.

“He was mine,” Shaw said of Truman when they first met. “He didn’t know it at the time, but he found it out.”

Truman Shaw died in May 2012 after being married to Frances for 62 years, and a bench was dedicated in the Shaws’ honor on the University of Montevallo campus Dec. 10. Located between Tutwiler and Hanson halls, Frances said the bench is a “heartwarming reminder” of the bench they often visited in the very same courtyard when they first started dating.

“I think (Truman) would be tickled pink that we actually thought back 60-something years to remember how it was,” Frances Shaw said.

The couple met at the beginning of Frances Shaw’s senior year, a year that Frances calls her “happiest year in college.”

Frances was helping with freshman orientation at the time, and Truman had come to campus to visit a friend, who was also a friend of Frances.

“They were sitting at a booth in our recreation area, called the tea house, where we would get drinks and snacks. I went back there to speak to the friend, and I ended up with Truman walking me back to the dorm,” she said.

Frances graduated from Alabama College in May of 1949, and the couple married in May of 1950.

Jeremy Ward, associate director of development for UM’s Office of University Advancement and Alumni Affairs, said the idea of a bench dedication came about after Frances’s daughter, Beth, contacted him with the idea.

“We matched a need we have on campus with (Beth’s) wish of commemorating the relationship,” Ward said.

About 20 of the Shaws’ friends and family members attended the dedication ceremony.