Schoharie County NYGenWeb Site

Urminda Catherine Becker obituary

Urminda Catherine becker
April 1909

     Miss Urminda Catherine Becker died at her home in Middleburgh, on Wednesday evening, April 28th, 1909, after a number of weeks illness with typhoid fever, aged 35 years, having been born in this village July 4th, 1874, to Mr. and Mrs. Bartholomew Becker. She was a valued member of the Faculty of Richmondville Union School, where for three years she had filled the responsible position of primary teacher in a manner to win the love and approbation of the Board of Education, the Faculty of the school, the pupils under her care, and the citizens of the town. her life work has been that of a teacher since her graduation from Middleburgh High School in 1891 and wherever she taught she won golden opinions, and a flattering endorsement of her work. True to her convictions that to teach meant far more than to pass the hours away and draw her salary, she prepared the hearts of her pupils by means of love and tenderness, to receive impressions which unfolded the mind to proper advancement, and she never forgot that each pupil represented a human soul for whose well being she was responsible to the great Teacher of men, and she laid many a corner stone in the educational structure of the young in the cement of the principles inculcated by the book of books. The frosted peaks of sorrow and adversity found no safe retreat in the genial vale of her sunny heart, and if she ever harbored even a harsh thought of any of God's creatures, that thought never found the surface of her life, and no one ever heard her speak ill, of man, woman or child. Beneath the ragged garb in the humblest cot, she saw a human soul for whom Christ died, and to her it was as precious as was that of the possessor of riches or fame, and she sacrificed her life on the alter of devotion to duty. In the home and community she was a lady, casting sunshine about her, and in words of cheer she greeted those with whom she came in contact, reflecting the beauty of a companionship with the Master whose teachings she had treasured from childhood's hours. Idleness found no place in her daily life, and the impress of her activity is to be seen everywhere. Her life was an open book - its pages are clean, and she sleeps beloved by all. For two weeks before she broke down under the strain of her fevered brow, she nobly remained at her post of duty, completing the inspection of examination papers, and leaving the work of her department complete in detail, so that whatever happened, all would be well, and then came home - to die. All that medical skill could devise, or tender, faithful nursing could do, was brought into requisition, but to no avail, and she rests, truly loved and mourned. In the presence of death, life's mysteries are always intensified, but more especially where one who has scarce reached the meridian of day, and is of untold value in molding character, and inspiring thought along the higher ideals in the activities of life, is called to surrender the jewel of the human soul to the Author of life, and lay their burdens down at His loving call. We stand by the open tomb of our loved one, and are dumb in silence as we try to fathom the mystery. Out on life's surging waves are human wrecks who are in open rebellion to the laws of both nature and God, and why not, kind father, why not some of these instead of the flower of young, consecrated womanhood, is our cry, and the answer comes back in heart throbs, with the assurance that we shall know by and by. The gathering clouds, ominous in their darkness seem almost impenetrable, but as the shock of the soul loses its grip, we shall see through the rift in the cloud the presence of the heavenly Pilot who will guide us to the calm harbor where trust stills the tempest and bids us rest. To the bereaved mother and sisters, we extend pity, and sympathize in the loss of your loved one who was pure gold, and who acted well her part. In the happy home where the years have so swiftly passed, in love and tender devotion, one toward the other, and where evidences of the touch of her dear hands adorn, the vacant chair will ever remind you of the loved one, but it will be a comfort for you to realize with a certainty that she awaits you on the other side, and where the boatman has safely landed her, as another jewel in the Master's crown. The funeral services took place from her late home, on Saturday last, Rev. George Buckle, D. D., officiating, and were largely attended by people both in and out of town. Beside a large circle of relatives, and other friends we especially noted the presence of a number of residents of Richmondville, in the persons of President M. W. Harroway of the Board of Education of the school where Minnie taught, Mrs. Harroway, Mrs. Mary C. Mayhan, Mrs. Holmes, A. D. Frasier of the Board of Education, Principal Smith, Miss Bouton and Miss Carpenter, of the Faculty, and Janitor Fuller, their distinguished presence corroborating what President Harroway told the writer, that Richmondville had met with a great loss as a village, the school and church a faithful and efficient worker, and that she died loved and regretted by all. The floral remembrances were both valuable and profuse, a statement of which is hereby appended: Galaxis wreath, The Misses Blanche and Viola Cocker, Cohoes; pink and white carnations, Mrs. Martha Hess and Miss Frances M. Hess; white carnations, Miss Clara Cogswell; wreath, Middleburgh High School and pupils; crescent and star, Mr. and Mrs. M. W. Harroway and Mrs. Mary C. Mayhan, Richmondville; harp, High School, Intermediate and Grammar Department, Richmondville school; group of callies, Richmondville High School teachers; wreath, Primary Department, Richmondville school; floral heart, Board of Education, Richmondville High School; white carnations, Lutheran Sunday School of Richmondville; pink and white carnations, Mr. and Mrs. O. M. palmer, Richmondville; floral collection, Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Brand, Central Bridge; carnations, Mrs. Newby, Katharine Patrick, and Delia L. Farquher, central Bridge; carnations, Ladies' Aid Society, Reformed Church, Middleburgh; carnations, Christian Endeavor, Reformed Church, Middleburgh; carnations, Counselor and Mrs. J. V. Guernsey and Vigil Guernsey, Jamaica, Long Island; pink roses, Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Hunt, Miss Wider, Miss Mason and Miss Roberts, Scotia.
     We would not forget to mention the singing by the choir, which was very appropriate, and beautifully rendered, especially the "Isle of Somewhere." Scores of letters of condolence were received, which we cannot publish, but we may be pardoned for reproducing, without request, the following from the Austin House, Central Bridge, where Minnie boarded for a number of years, which is corroborative proof of the accuracy of the estimate of the deceased, given above:
          Central Bridge, April 29, 1900.
     Mrs. Pluma C. Becker: - Please accept our heartfelt sympathy over the loss of your daughter Urminda. She certainly was a good girl. It would be better for the world if there were more of her kind. All the people here were her friends, and no one knew her any better than we have at the "Austin House."  Again accept our condolence.
                               Respectfully yours,
                         Mr. and Mrs. Henry Austin.


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