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Deputy's widow thanks community for support after his death

(WHAM/Provided photo)

The life of an Ontario County Sheriff’s Deputy will be celebrated in Canandaigua next month. Joshua Shaver was 35 when he died on May 28, 16 days after a driver ran a stop sign and collided with his car in Hopewell.

The celebration will also be a chance for Shaver’s widow, Mary, to say thanks for all the community support she and her young daughters have received since the accident.

“He was the most generous,” Mary says. “He'd do anything for anyone. He was always the one asking how can we help them out, what can we do?”

When Josh died, the giving he’d done in life was returned for the benefit of his family. Mary says his funeral, with hundreds of law enforcement, family and friends showed just how many lives her husband had touched.

“I always knew that everyone loved Josh,” Mary says. “But to have it all come out at once was really beautiful.”

In the weeks since that funeral, Mary Shaver has continued to receive the support of close friends. But adjusting to life at home without her husband of eleven years is a daily challenge.

“The void is there,” she says. “We went out on the lake on Sunday and had a great day with so many friends. And at the end of the day, it was the three of us coming home alone. But we find joy in the moments because that's what he would want.”

Mary is focused on helping daughters Laney, 7, and Kelsey, 2, deal with the loss of their dad. She says she does not dwell on how he died.

“I don't get into the what-ifs a lot, because it just hurts too bad and it's not going to fix anything. It would have been seconds that made this not happen. And it was seconds that made it last forever.”

Mary Shaver worries that some people who offered their help and kindness over the last month have gone unthanked. And she hopes to remedy that at a community celebration of Josh’s life on July 8th at Granger Homestead in Canandaigua. Admission is free but donations to help the family will be accepted. The event, Team Josh/Back The Blue is planned for noon to 9:30, and will include raffles, a chicken barbeque and music. Organizers include The Ontario County Sheriff’s General Unit, and the Canandaigua YMCA, where Mary Shaver works.

Mary says it will be a “big, Josh-style party.”

“It’s exactly the kind of thing that he would love and support,” Mary says. “I’m just so proud of him and I want to celebrate him.”

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