We are called upon at this time to chronicle the end of a long and well spent life, passed in the service of others. While the death of Mrs. Shumway is a sad blow to many and will apparently retard the advancement of many noble causes in which she was interested, yet her life was filled with loving thoughts and acts and she could truly have said "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." And though her death brings great sorrow it seems very beautiful and fitting that she should so soon join the husband with whom she spent more than fifty-two happy years and who was called to his eternal home only about six weeks before her death.
Mrs. Shumway had been in poor health for several months but two weeks spent recently with her daughter, Mrs. Wagner, at Green Bay, Wisconsin, seemed to prove very beneficial to her and it was thought that she might regain her health. Sunday morning, May 10, as she was preparing for church she was taken with an acute attack of peritonitis and grew rapidly worse until Friday afternoon at about three o'clock when she passed away. During her last illness she suffered greatly but was conscious most of the time and recognized her daughters and others who were at her bedside constantly. In spite of her intense suffering, she was as always, absolutely unselfish and thoughtful for others. The last words that she spoke while conscious were a message to her grandchildren, Perry and Eugenia Wagner. She said to her son-in-law, Mr. Wagner, "Tell them I want them to be good and worthy."
Eugenia M. Palmer was a daughter of Dr. and Mrs. W. K. Palmer and was born at Aurora, Illinois, March 4, 1839. Her parents were natives of Canada but were pioneers of Illinois, coming to Aurora at a time when only one white family was living there. At the age of ten she moved with her parents to Milledgeville, Illinois, where he father was a practicing physician for many years and where she taught school for a short time. On October 17, 1855, Eugenia Palmer was united in marriage to Romanzo G. Shumway, at the home of the bride in Milledgeville. In 1871 they came to Polo to make their home and had resided here since that time. Mr. and Mrs. Shumway were permitted to travel life's pathway together for more than fifty-two years. They were unusually happily mated. Mr. Shumway's excellent business ability and judgment were the means of his amassing considerable wealth which both himself and his wife with their kindly impulses took pleasure in using for the furtherance of many a good work. Mrs. Shumway was a woman of very beautiful character. Since her youth she had been an earnest Christian, wonderfully devoted to her church and every branch of its work using her influence and her means abundantly to carry forward the work. Her beautiful and kindly disposition made her loved by all. No matter how great her trouble or her suffering she was always ready to give a helping hand to one in need. Her gentle, kindly attitude toward all, at time when others would have held themselves aloof, endeared her greatly to everyone who knew her. She will be sadly missed but her influence for good cannot die and the lives which she has helped in so many ways cannot but be better for her helpful influence upon them.
Mrs. Shumway was especially interested in missions and gave much of her time and money for that work. With the exception of three years, she was district president of the Woman's Home Missionary Society of Freeport district from the time of its organization in August, 1893, until the district was disbanded about a year and a half ago. She was president of the Polo M. E. Woman's Home Missionary society since its organization in January 1894 until her death. She was also district president of the Foreign Society for two years; a staunch supporter of both the home and foreign work. Her money made it possible for her to do untold good in that line of work and though her death seems a great discouragement to her co-workers, her help will not cease for she had made provisions for the furtherance of the work after her death. She was extremely anxious to hear the report of Miss Katherine Bassett who had spent three weeks at the Indian Mission School in New Mexico. Mrs. Shumway was interested in erecting new buildings for the work there but was unable to talk to Miss Bassett when she returned on Friday. The temperance cause was another work which Mrs. Shumway gave her hearty support. She had been a member of the W.C.T.U. for many years and was always active and helpful in that organization. For a time she was corresponding secretary for the Polo Union and at the time of her death was superintendent of evangelistic work. For fourteen years she was superintendent of the M. E. Sunday School. When others would have been idle and indolent, Mrs. Shumway was always busy extending a helping had to those in need and carrying forward the work of her Master. Her life was nobly spent and while we sorrow for her we must rejoice that she has come to her reward.
There remain to mourn her death two daughters, Mrs.W. P. Wagner of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Mrs. F. H. Suffel of Minneapolis, Minn. One daughter, Clara, died sixteen years ago. She is also survived by one sister, Mrs. Washington Knox of Hazelhurst. Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at two o'clock at the M. E. Church and were conducted by Dr. A. E. Saunders, assisted by Dr. J. H. More. Although the weather was extremely inclement the church was filled with sorrowing and sympathizing friends. The choir sang appropriate hymns and Mr. H. H. Williams of Chicago sang a beautiful solo. Dr. More offered prayer and Rev. Saunders read Psalms 23 and 34 which were the last passages read to Mrs. Shumway during her conscious moments. For his text Rev. Saunders took the first part of the eighth verse of the fourteenth chapter of Mark, "She hath done what she could." His sermon was a beautiful tribute to the character and the Christ-like life of the departed and an exhortation for all to follow her example and surrender entirely to Christ. He said that her wealth, her opportunities and her education made her one of the best and noblest Christian characters it has been his pleasure to come in contact with during his twenty years in the ministry. She was a magnificent illustration of what Christ can make of a life surrendered fully to him. She was esteemed so highly and loved so well because of her beautiful character which was the result of a lifetime of development under the influence of the holy spirit. We can never forget her kindliness, her gentleness, her evenness of temper, her sweet disposition. She did what she could to develop her mind. She was conversant with literature and with every current topic. Her busy mind was teeming with plans for furthering the highest good of her fellow men. Especially she gave her heart to the cause of missions. She followed the missionary to the foreign land and knew so well the conditions and the surroundings he must meet there. Every new book on the subject of missions was read and studied until it became a part of her being. Rev. Saunders spoke of Mrs. Shumway's faith in her Savior so often expressed and of her triumphant going home with her hand on her open Bible pointing to the fifth verse of the twenty-seventh Psalm. The Missionary societies to which Mrs. Shumway belonged attended the services in a body.
The pall bearers were Harvey Antrim, Chas. Lindemann, H. L Guyer, John W. McIlnay and Charles Winders. She was laid to rest in Fairmount Cemetery. Persons in attendance at the funeral from out of town were:
Rockford: R. H. Shumway, R. B. Shumway, Harry Shumway, Mr. and Mrs. M. R. Shumway, Mrs. R. H. Shumway, Jr., Mrs. F. E. Catlin, Mrs. LeRoy Shumway.
Hazelhurst: Mrs. G. W. Knox, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Knox
Green Bay, Wisconsin: Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Wagner, Perry and Eugenia Wagner
Minneapolis, Minn.: Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Suffel
Milledgeville: H. C. Knox, Hon. D. C. Busell, Mrs. Russell, Mrs. Wolfe, Homer Olmsted, J. F. Greenawalt, Mrs. George Hubbard, U. M. Cantrall
Mt. Morris: Mrs. B. E. McNeill, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Rice, Mrs. Major Newcomer, Mrs. Harry Cushing....... end of obit missing
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