10 May 2012

Obituary--Dr. George W. Nafe

While reading some of the older newspapers on microfilm, I become acquainted with various people by name.  Certain names keep recurring.  Mrs. Robertson, as my favorite obituary writer was one such person.  Various minister of the area also became familiar to me.  And the subject of today's obituary, Dr. Nafe was also a name mentioned frequently, both in the newspapers and other historical articles we have.  I was somewhat surprised that he died in 1914, as we didn't have many papers from before this date, but as a doctor, his name was one that appeared frequently.

From the 26 February 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Prominent citizens Succumbs to Heart Failure in His Office
Death Closed a Life Which Had Been Devoted to Years of Sacrifice in the Practice of the Medical Profession

The death of Dr. George W. Nafe occurred at his office on South Division street about 7:30 o'clock Tuesday evening. The passing of the doctor was so sudden that the entire community was shocked.  Although he has been in poor health of late, his death, the result of heart failure, was unexpected.
Dr. Nafe returned to his office after supper Tuesday evening, as was his custom, and had evidently just attended to his fire.  While passing Dr. Nafe's office, Dr. George G. Burns saw the physician sitting in a chair with his head thrown back.  Fearing that Dr. Nafe might be ill, Dr. Burns entered the office and found that life was already extinct.  Death had evidently occurred but a few minutes before.
George W. Nafe was one of Fremont's most beloved citizens.  His passing is an irretrievable loss to the community.  To leave this earth with universal expressions of genuine sorrow upon the lips of the entire community is the splendid tribute that is being paid to the deceased physician.  His was the mantle of untarnished character and sterling worth if not of great deeds and momentous accomplishments.  His devotion to duty will be a cherished memory to all who knew him.
The sacrifices he made in attending the sick when his own health was imperiled attest an unswerving devotion to his duty as a physician which was constant through the long years of his practice.
The doctor's generosity and tender heartedness were his chief faults.  Had he collected his fees as they fell due he would probably have died a wealthy man.  But this was not his ambition.  He was content with his lot.
Dr. Nafe has been prominently identified with the work of the Methodist Episcopal church in this city and his wise counsel and sound judgment have always been sought upon all questions of import pertaining to church work.  He devoted much of his time and gave liberally to the support of the Methodist denomination and his death will be a severe blow to the members of the local church.
The doctor was a stanch Democrat in politics but he was not a bigot.  His party's candidate was often sacrificed in the booth for a friend upon the opposing ticket.  Up to and including the campaign of 1900 he was an energetic and forceful participant in party activities and one of Democracy's ablest speakers upon the stump.  Although no so active in recent years his interest in politics did not wane.
Dr. Nave was a member of the state board of registration in medicine, an honor which came to him last summer from Governor Ferris unsolicited.  He was also a member of the board of United States pension examiners.  He had served the state eclectic medical society as president of the organization.  He was also a member of the Masonic order and of the Modern Maccabees.
The following biographical sketch is taken from the Newaygo County Biographical Album published in 1884.
"George W. Nafe, M. D., is a son of John and Mary M. (Stewart) Nafe, natives of Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively, and was born in Ohio June 19, 1848.  He lived with his parents until about 22 years of age, attending the common schools, and afterward the high school at Rochester, Ind.  He early gave his attention to the study of medicine, and attended the Pennsylvania University, at Philadelphia. Pa., two years and was graduated in 1871.  He has previously studied in the office of Dr. Hector at Rochester, Ind.  Upon leaving college he commenced the practice of his profession in Cass county, Ind., where he remained six and a half years.  In the summer of 1877 he came to Fremont, where he has since followed his profession with gratifying success.
"Dr. Nafe has held the office of village trustee three years, president of the village two years, member of the school board four years and director two years.  In the fall of 1882 he was the democratic candidate for representative, but was defeated by Charles W. Stone, the Greenback candidate, who had the plurality, but less than 100 votes.  He is a member of the Fremont Lodge, 741, K. of H., and in politics a democrat.
"The doctor was married in Rochester, Ind., April 6, 1872, to Cordelia, daughter of Christopher and Julia A. Ernsperger, who was born in Ohio, August 15, 1847.  They have had three children: John C., born March 13, 1875; Julia M., born April 2, 1881; Nellie L., born January 9, 1873, died June 24, 1883."
Besides the widow Dr. Nafe is survived by a daughter, Mrs. E. W. Boyer, of Muskegon; a son, John C. Nafe, of Detroit, and three brothers as follows: James, of Rochester, Ind., Jonathan, of Chicago, and David, who resides in Florida.
The funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock from the Methodist church.

Whew!  And after all that in the paper just after he passed away, the next week there was a followup about his funeral.  I'll save that for next time.  
As is often the case with these older obituaries, especially with the more prominent citizens, a lot of attention is paid to the politics of the deceased.  "But, he was not a bigot."

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