07 October 2010

Obituary--Ben Karnemaat

Yet another young man who died too soon.  This time Ben was still a high school student, and he is again remembered with a flowery tribute from his teacher.  His family still lives in the area.  And again I wonder, if modern medicine could have saved him. 

From the 12 April 1917, Fremont TimesIndicator.

Ben Karnemaat Passed Away at City Hospital After Three Weeks Illness

Ben Karnemaat, one of the most beloved and most respected students of the Fremont high school, passed away at the City hospital Friday night after an ilness of exactly three weeks.  He was taken with hemorrhages three weeks ago and his condition became so serious that he was removed immediately to the City hospital where the best of care and medical treatment proved of no avail.  His last illness was aggravated by a tubercular condition of the lungs which doubtless lessened his physical power to resist his last affliction.
Mr Karnemaat was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Karnemaat who life on a farm near Brookside.  The young man spent his entire life in this community and after completing his rural school work came to Fremont to attend the high school.  His manly characteristics and good nature soon won him the confidence and respect of his fellow students and the faculty and he soon attained a popularity seldom enjoyed by any student.
Words fail to measure the true worth of Ben Karnemaat.  In character he was absolutely clean, in mind he was unusually able, in motive he was animated only by fairest means, his life was exemplary in its every phase.  His popularity was not confined to the younger element.  During his spare time he clerked in the Pioneer Drug store and there his radiant smile, good humor and affability won him a host of friends.  He was never affected and enjoyed an unconscious popularity.
One of the high school teachers pays him the following beautiful tribute.
"With the passing of Ben Karnemaat, Fremont High School loses a well-loved friend.
"Never, perhaps in the history of Fremont, has there been a student who entered so whole-heartedly into all the activities of high school life.  As speaker of the Student House of Representatives and as president of the Athletic Association, he conducted himself with a quite unassuming dignity which never failed to win the co-operation of the student body.  As a member of the editorial staff of the Mogul, he did everything in his power to assure the success of the annual. In athletics he won the respect and admiration of all by his fairmindedness and clean play.  In the class room, he proved himself an able scholar, interested in this work, conscientious, absolutely worthy of trust.
"If we loved him less, we might be able to discuss his characteristics with more eloquence.  As it is, we can only remember that his smile, as he came and went among us, made gloomy faces brighten.  We can only remember that he was loyal without partisanship, ambitious without egotism and gentle without weakness.
This is the second time this year that death has invaded the ranks of the senior class of 1917, Gerald Cooley having passed away February 26th of this year.
Besides his parents, he is survived by one Brother, Koss Karnemaat. (Editor's note--Koos is the correct spelling of the brother's name.) 
The funeral services were held yesterday afternoon from the First Christian Reformed church, the big edifice being filled to its capacity with sorrowing friends.  Rev. H. Keegstra, pastor of the church, spoke in Holland, and Rev. J L Heeres, pastor of the Reeman Christian Reformed church spoke in English.  The body was laid at rest in Maple Grove cemetery.

I found it interesting that the home pastor spoke the language of their homeland, Dutch, while the visiting pastor spoke English.  It doesn't state if he was born in the Netherlands or locally.  Many churches kept their services in the language from home.   The tradition continues of course in the area Amish communities with their own language.  A funeral several years ago following a tragic fire saw services conducted in one location in their traditional language, and in the Amish schoolhouse in English, for others in the community.

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