13 May 2010

Obituary--Mrs. George VanWingerden (Bertha)

I could tell from the first sentence that this had to be a "Mrs Robertson" obituary. And sure enough, there at the end was her name. Never one to use one word when 10 could tell the same story, Mrs Robertson still manages to paint a picture of valued member of the community.

From the 14 December 1916 Fremont Times-Indicator. Take a deep breath and plunge in.

Not in years has this community been so shocked as it was last Wednesday when the news went flashing all along the line that Bertha, wife of the Rev. George VanWingerden was no more. We all knew that her life had been hanging by a slender thread, but everyone hoped and prayed that her life might be spared for the sake of the helpless ones who were dependent on such care as only a daughter, wife and mother, as she was, can give. But the grim Reaper with his relentless sickle cut her down in matured womanhood when her life like the noonday sun had reached its highest altitude. We all know that death is inevitable and everything must die, but it seems more harrowing and heartbreaking when a woman possessed of the many talents and housewifely qualities and all so vigorously employed for the good of her family and humanity should be thus cut down. But this is life, full of sorrow, full of disappointments. And we ask the question, Who (rest of the line is obscured on the microfilm.)
Bertha Tibbitts, second daughter of Shepherd and Elizabeth Tibbits was born March 28, 1876 on the farm where she always lived until death called her. We knew her as a happy dancing child, and one one time she was the writer's beloved pupil; we watched the young bud gracefully unfold from girlhood into sweet womanhood. We saw her as a happy bride, and we saw her again as a tender mother, crowned with the crown of motherhood, and through all these changes she still remained on the old farm.
On November 27, 1902 she was united in marriage to Rev. George VanWingerden and she was a wife whom Solomon would have delighted to honor, for she looked well to the ways of her household. Her price was above rubies and honor and strength were her clothing.
For the last two or three years she was scarcely know outside the home circle, having the care of her children and her blind mother, but these divine missions were performed with earnest devotion and unselfish efforts. She was a home builder as one seldom finds. The comfort of husband and children and mother always uppermost, and the gap in the family wall which her passing has left, can never be filled.
she was a sympathetic neighbor, a true friend in need, as those can testify who have been comforted by her timely aid.
The funeral services were held at the house at Two o'clock last Saturday, conducted. by Rev. M. Klerekoper, of the Presbyterian church, and Rev. Wylie of the M. E. church. Her casket was covered by the flowers she cultivated and loved, and she was surrounded by her nearest and dearest. She was borne tenderly from the home she had made bright by her presence, separated for the first time from the dear mother who nurtured her all her life; from the husband and children who called her blessed, and she went alone. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.
Bertha, farewell, may your beautiful life be an inspiration to all those who come after you; may your kind deeds ever shine forth; sweet be your last repose and may your crown be studded with the brightest stars.
Mrs. VanWingerden was laid to rest in the East cemetery. She leaves to mourn her untimely death her husband, seven children, Margaret, George, Alta, Verna, Doris, and the week old twins Willard and Bertha; an aged blind mother, two brothers, Willard and John, and a sister, Mrs Judson Cochrane, all of Hesperia.
Those attending the funeral from a dstance were Will VanWingerden (eldest son of Rev. VanWingerden) and wife and Mrs Anna Beatty, of Youngston, Ohio; Mrs Katie McQuaig, of South Boardman; Mrs Maggie VanMeter, of McBain, and Mrs Mammie Wing, of Big Prairie. The first three are sisters and the latter a sister-in-law of Mr VanWingerden. John VanWingerden, a brother, of Muskegon, Mrs Hart, of St. Joe, Ind., Charles Coburn and wife of Fremont, and Mr. and Mrs Will Anderson, of Brunswick.
Mrs Mary Robertson

Whew! I think the only thing missing from this obituary is some mention of the Black Camel of Death kneeling at the door. And did you catch the clue into Mrs Robertson's background? She apparently was a teacher at some time.
Yup, you could depend on it. If you were an acquaintance of Mrs Robertson, when you died, your obituary was a thing of beauty.

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