By Jared L. Olar
July 2007-June 2015
9. SHERMAN LINN SHAW II ("Sherm"), son of Sherman and Grace Shaw; born 17 May 1912 at home in Lee Center, Lee County, Illinois; died of complications of leukemia on 14 Sept. 1973 during a medical flight from Rochester, Minnesota, to Dixon, Illinois, pronounced dead upon landing; buried in the Shaw family plot in Woodside Cemetery, Lee Center, Illinois. Sherman, my grandfather, was born at home, at the old Shaw place in Lee Center, his parents' youngest child. As noted previously, my great-grandmother Grace was 33 years old when she gave birth to my grandfather, so normally she might have been able to have at least two or three more children, but for whatever reason my grandfather was her last child. His birth was officially reported on 18 May 1912, the day after he was born, and the birth record says "Mrs. N. Sheffler" was the nurse or attendant at his birth, and that his birth was reported by Charles A. Zeigler of Amboy.
Significantly, my grandfather's birth record gives his name as simply "Sherman Linn Shaw," the identical name as his father. Customarily, that would make my grandfather "Sherman Linn Shaw Jr." or "Sherman Linn Shaw II," but he is not so designated on his birth record. In earlier records during his life, my grandfather is usually identified as, and signed his name as, "Sherman L. Shaw Jr.," but later on he and my grandmother preferred the formal style "Sherman L. Shaw II." To his wife and his friends, though, he was "Sherm," while I and my brothers, of course, always called him "Grampa."
About four months later, my great-grandmother Grace acquired a little "Victorian-style" blue-colored baby book for the recording of memories and milestones of a child's early year. Grace didn't make much progress in writing memories of my grandfather's infancy -- in fact, though she wrote my grandfather's date of birth in the book, she didn't even write his name in the book -- but she did record that the physician at the birth was "Dr. Zeigler" and that the nurse in attendance was "Mrs. Nellie Scheffler." She also recorded my grandfather's weight at birth as 9 pounds -- but she added a question mark, showing that some time had passed following the birth before she acquired the baby book, and so she was no longer sure how much he had weighed when he was born. My great-grandmother then proceeded to record my grandfather's weight at one month of age as 10 1/2 pounds, at two months as 12 pounds, at three months as 13 1/2 pounds, and at four months of age as 14 pounds. Besides those entries, the only other thing she wrote in the book is the date my grandfather got his "short clothes" -- 4 July 1912.
The photograph at left, taken in the summer of 1912 and handed down to my family from my grandparents, shows Eleanor Shaw holding her baby brother Sherman, my grandfather, at the old Shaw place in Lee Center, Illinois -- my grandfather looks like he was about 2 months old. The photograph at right, also handed down to my family from my grandparents, shows my grandfather when he was 4 months and 14 days old, around the end of Sept. 1912. Could that be a baptismal gown he was wearing?
My grandfather's name appears in volume two of Frank E. Stevens' 1914 History of Lee County, Illinois, in the biography of my great-grandfather Sherman Linn Shaw, in the paragraph about his wives and children:
"Mr. Shaw has been married twice. On December 22, 1892, at Amboy, he wedded Miss Anna K. Mynard, a daughter of Adam S. and Alvira Mynard. Mrs. Shaw died, leaving two children, Gertrude K. and Russell M., the former now a student in the Francis Shinier School at Mount Carroll, Illinois. On the 21st of June, 1905, Mr. Shaw was again married in Amboy, his second union being with Miss Grace E. Bender, a daughter of Rev. C. and Clarissa Bender. They have two children, Eleanor and Sherman L."
My grandfather was two years old when Stevens' Lee County history was published. His childhood was spent with his parents and siblings on the old Shaw farm, located toward the east end of Lee Center, and he grew up attending Lee Center Congregationalist Church and received his education in the public grade school and high school in Lee Center. His uncles, aunts, and cousins also lived in Lee Center during those years, and, Lee Center being such a small village, he got to see them frequently. His grandmother Rebecca (Linn) Shaw also lived in Lee Center during some of those years, but my grandfather was only five years old when she died in Chicago in 1917, so he didn't have much of a chance to get to know her.
My grandfather Sherman appears along with his siblings and Shaw cousins in this large group photograph with their grandmother Rebecca taken at the old Shaw place in Lee Center in or around 1915. In the center is Mary Rebecca Linn Shaw, about two years before her death. On Mary Rebecca's lap is Phyllis, age 2, daughter of Arthur Monroe Shaw. Standing right in front of Mary Rebecca is my grandfather Sherman, age 3, looking much like my brother Derek did at around that age. Sitting right next to Mary Rebecca is her oldest grandchild, Gertrude, age about 21. The oldest and tallest boy, right behind Mary Rebecca, is Gertrude's younger brother Russell, age about 19 or 20. Aunt Eleanor is the little girl standing right next to Gertrude -- Eleanor would be about 6 years old. Right behind her, and next to Gertrude, is Mary Gwen Shaw, about age 14, daughter of George Harry Thornton Shaw. The dark-haired boy with his hands in his pockets was Mary Gwen's younger brother Clarke Monroe Shaw, age about 12. Standing on the right of the picture are Frank and Helen Leonard, adopted children of Grace Shaw and Charles Taylor Leonard. The remaining children are the three older children of Arthur Monroe Shaw: Frances, age 8, standing between Clarke and Frank; Richard, age 7, seated next to Helen; and Edwina, age 4, standing on the left of the picture.
A little thumbnail-sized photo of Sherman from 1917 was included in a unique "Calendar of Shaw Grandchildren" that someone in the family had prepared as an affectionate gift for Rebecca, that would no doubt also have had the practical use of helping Rebecca remember her grandchildren's names. Since she had 12 grandchildren, each grandchild was assigned to a month, going in order of their births -- thus, Rebecca's first grandchild, Gertrude Katherine Shaw, was January, the first month, while my grandfather Sherman, Rebecca's 11th grandchild, was November, the 11th month. For each grandchild, a rhyming poem was written to go with the photo and calendar page. My grandfather's poem in the grandchildren calendar was:
Now this is little Sherman Linn. How cute he is, I can't begin To tell; nor can you see Because the picture is so wee. (It's really quite a sight they say, To see him managing old May). He raises up his eyes of blue And takes the heart right out of you. He's just the dearest little lad That anybody ever had.
The year of Rebecca's death, of course, was also the year the United States entered World War I, and my grandfather's big brother Russell decided to serve his country by joining the U.S. Navy. Sherman naturally admired his big brother Russ, like little brothers usually do, and that admiration is no doubt reflected in the "Little Sailor Boy" photographs that my great-grandparents had taken of Sherman around that time. Seeing Russ in his Navy sailor's uniform, Sherm must have wanted to be a sailor too, just like his big brother.
Shown at left is a photograph of my mother's "Uncle Russ" -- Russell Mynard Shaw -- taken during World War I. Russell is wearing his U.S. Navy uniform, and the band of his cap shows the name of the cruiser on which he served, the U.S.S. St. Louis (C-20). Next to Russ' photo is a grouping of photographs showing his younger brother Sherman, my grandfather, dressed as a little sailor boy, play clothes that indicate Sherman's admiration for his big brother.
As mentioned above, my grandfather was born and raised on the old Shaw farm in Lee Center. Not surprisingly, he early on conceived a love of animals and an interest in animal husbandry. Some of my family's earliest photographs of my grandfather, dating apparently from about 1915 to 1920, show him with his older sister Eleanor taking turns riding and leading a pony. In one of the photos, a man crouches behind the pony's head to help steady the kindly creature while my grandpa, wearing a joyful grin, sits on the pony's back. The man in the picture may have been my great-grandfather Sherman, or perhaps was a farmhand. In any case, my grandpa's love of animals would endure all his life.
These photographs, taken at the Shaw farm in Lee Center apparently between 1915 and 1920 at left, show Eleanor Shaw and her younger brother Sherman, taking turns riding a pony. On the left, Sherman rides the pony while a man, perhaps their father, kneels behind the pony and Eleanor stands to the side of it. On the right, Eleanor Shaw rides the pony while my grandfather holds the reins. Growing up with animals on the farm gave my grandfather a genuine and abiding love of animals, as well as an interest in and talent for animal husbandry.
The U.S. Census returns for Lee Center Township, dated 29 June 1920, show my great-grandfather "Sherman L. Shaw," age 55 (sic -- he was 56), farmer, with his wife "Grace E. Shaw," age 41, and his children "Gertrude K. Shaw," age 25 (sic -- she was 26), grade school teacher, "Russel M. Shaw," age 24, a laborer on the home farm, "Eleanor Shaw," age 10, and "Sherman L. Shaw," age 7. Their nearest neighbors were the Scott R. Frost and James H. Riley families, while the Chris A. Ullrich family was also nearby. This was the first time my grandfather appeared in the U.S. Census. It was later that year, on 20 Oct. 1920, that his oldest sister Gertrude died tragically and unexpectedly of meningitis in Evanston, Illinois. She was only 26 years old and had never married. Years later, when my mother was a teenager, many people would comment to her how much she resembled her late aunt Gertrude.
During these years, my grandfather was a student at the public grade school in Lee Center, which was a part of School District 92. He entered the first grade in the fall of 1917, when he was 5 years old, and he graduated from the eighth grade on 31 May 1926. In December of 1925, Sherman had received a "Perfect Attendance Certificate" for the month ending on 30 Nov. 1925. The certificate is signed by his teacher, Miss Sara E. Dishong of Lee Center, and Mr. L. W. Miller, Lee County Superintendent of Schools. Miss Dishong and Mr. Miller also signed his eighth grade diploma. It was during Sherman's grade school years that his big brother Russell took a wife and became a father, making Sherman an uncle. Russell married on 11 Aug. 1921 to BESSIE CAROLINE HEWITT (1899-1944), and their first child, ELIZABETH ANN SHAW, was born 15 Oct. 1922 in Lee Center. Sherman was 10 years old at the time.
He began his four years of high school in the autumn of 1926, attending Lee Center High School all four years. My grandfather appears as a team member in an old photograph of the high school basketball team, showing he was active in high school sports. (My family's print of this photograph appears to have been misplaced or lost, however.) We also know that he enjoyed baseball, and was a lifelong fan of the Chicago White Sox. He also enjoyed singing and music, learning how to play the trombone -- in fact, my family still possessed his old aluminum trombone until a few years ago (about 2008-2009), when we sold it to an antique shop in Dixon, Illinois. Besides the trombone, at some point in his childhood or adolescence, he took piano lessons -- among the Shaw family mementos that have been handed down to us are the piano lesson record books of my grandfather and his older sister Eleanor, published by W. F. Strong of Dixon, Illinois. Unfortunately, the record books do not show the year that they took piano lessons, but my grandfather's book says he had 10 lessons with "Miss Oakes" of Lee Center, from Jan. 10 to April 4, learning to play many waltzes and marches. The third lesson, on Jan. 31, has the underlined notation, "Excellent lesson."
At left is a photograph of my grandfather Sherman Linn Shaw II taken in Lee Center, Illinois, probably at the old Shaw farm, when he was about 12 years old. At right is the front cover of Sherman's piano lesson record book. At some point during his childhood, my grandfather and his older sister Eleanor took piano lessons with Miss Oakes -- Eleanor and Sherman had identical piano lesson record books. Piano lessons were just one of the ways my grandfather's musical education and appreciation were cultivated -- he also enjoyed singing and learned to play the trombone.
My grandfather's high school grade transcript shows that he excelled in the study of ancient and medieval history, but his grades weren't as good in American history and civics. Sherman also earned very good marks in general science, biology and agriculture -- grades that no doubt reflect his having grown up on a farm as well as his love of animals. His lowest marks were in mathematics, physics, third-year English, shorthand, and typing. My grandfather graduated from high school not many days after his 18th birthday, on 29 May 1930, on which date commencement exercises were held at Lee Center Congregational Church. There were a total of nine students in his graduating class. Their class colors were yellow and white, their class flower was the yellow rose, and the class motto was "Love, Labor, and Laugh."
Sherman Linn Shaw II at age 17 or 18, the photograph taken for his senior year in high school. My brother Jason Sherman Olar, his namesake, inherited our grandfather's hair as well as his body build.
The 1930 U.S. Census returns for Lee Center, dated 5 April 1930, provide a glimpse into the Shaw household about two months before my grandfather's high school graduation. By that time, Sherman was the only one of his siblings still living at home. The census that month shows "S. L. Shaw," age 65, farm operator, with his wife "Grace E. Shaw," age 51, and their son "Sherman L. Shaw," age 17, farm laborer. At the time, Sherman's older brother Russell, age 34, was living in Wichita, Kansas, with his wife and three children, while Sherman's older sister Eleanor, age 20, was a stenographer living as a lodger in the home of Anna Klein in Amboy, Illinois, near Lee Center. In 1930, the nearest neighbors of my great-grandparents and grandfather in Lee Center were the Henry Herrick family and the family of George Dunseth and his father-in-law John Ullrich.
In the two photographs in the top row, my grandfather Sherman Linn Shaw II plays with a cat and dog in Lee Center, Illinois, probably at the old Shaw farm. In the bottom photograph, my grandfather shows a colt or pony at the Shaw farm in Lee Center. In these three photos, my grandfather looks like he was about age 18-20.
Over the next five years following his graduation from high school, my grandfather continued to live with his parents at the old Shaw place in Lee Center, helping his parents work their farm. In early 1933, however, he moved to the Degner place to help work that farm, as we see in the 23 Feb. 1933 edition of the Lee Center News, which says, "Sherman Linn Shaw Jr. is employed on the Raymond Degner farm and is making his home there." A few months later, the 4 May 1933 edition of the Amboy News mentions that my grandfather and his sister and parents attended the wedding of his cousin Helen Leonard to Dee Trimble in Chicago. Besides those notices, we don't know much about those years of my grandfather's life, but one thing we do know is that he played trombone in a band at dances and other social events in Lee County. It was also during those years that my grandfather met his future wife, my grandmother FRANCES MAE MILLER, born 18 Dec. 1917 in Dixon, Lee County, Illinois, died 4 May 1993 in Dixon, daughter of Norman and Bessie Miller. In the first half of the 1930s, the Millers worked a farm out on Route 52 in rural Dixon, several miles to the northwest of Lee Center, and Frances was a student at Dixon High School. It was probably in 1934 that my grandparents met -- in any case, that was the year they began courting. Unfortunately, the story of how my grandparents first met has not been handed down to us. In the late fall of 1934, my grandfather brought my grandmother with him to a Thanksgiving Day dinner in Milledgeville, Illinois, as we read in the 6 Dec. 1934 edition of the Lee Center News, which says, "Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Shaw and son Sherman Linn, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Ormond Baylor and Frances Miller of near Dixon were guests Thanksgiving day at the A. W. Nicholas home in Milledgeville."
Several times over the years, my mother told the delightful story that she had heard from her parents of how they came to decide to get married. Here is a transcription of relevant excerpts from my mother's recollections as she related them to me in a taped interview on 11 April 2006:
"I know that your granddad played trombone, and he played in the dance band. I know that mother and Arlene [Bellows] -- it was back in the days when they went to the dance halls. They'd been friends for years. They might have gone together to these dances, and that's probably where she met him. I don't know -- Arlene didn't even know for sure, because I asked her -- or she didn't remember. I mean, sometimes we don't remember some of these details -- memory fades. I did know that they went to the dances, and I remember that after they were married, I'd have to go to sleep on the folding chairs until daddy was done -- and she never got to dance with him, because when they'd have a break there was no music. I do remember [them] lamenting about that. Well, they danced [together] later on, you know, but [not] when they were very young.
"I remember when they used to tell about, he would come to visit on Sundays at the farm, because he liked grandma's fried chicken. This one Sunday, grandpa and grandma were gone, and mom was the only one there, [a] 17-year-old. And he thought, 'Oh boy, he's not going to get his fried chicken dinner.' She said, 'I don't know why not.' She went out, caught a chicken, killed that thing, plucked it, dressed it, fried it for him. [My mother begins to laugh.] He decided, 'I'll keep this one! I'm marrying her!' [My mother laughs even harder as she speaks.] He had fried chicken from her -- he liked fried chicken!
"17-year-old girl! Can you see some of these 17-year-old brats that you see around town today with their iPods and their cigarettes hanging out their mouth, going out and grabbing a chicken, and even knowing which end to cut off? But my mother did -- her mother taught her well."
"I have no idea how they met -- because he was five years older than she was. Nobody seems to know, and I've asked several ones who were that age. There aren't too many around any more, and if they are, some of them, they don't have their memories any more. Those things have been erased."
These two photographs of my grandfather Sherman were taken at the Miller farm on Route 52 in rural Dixon in the latter 1940s -- the date can be discerned from the make and model of the car, a 1948 Dodge Sedan (with thanks to Nick Meskimen for identifying the make and model). Presumably these photos were taken by Frances (Miller) Shaw, my grandmother. It was on an earlier visit to the Miller farm, most likely in 1934, when my grandmother prepared and served my grandfather the fried chicken dinner, famous in our family's lore, that convinced him he had better not let her get away.
I don't know how long it was from the time my grandfather reached his conclusion that Frances would make a good wife until the time they married, but evidently a few months went by at least. Frances graduated from Dixon High School on 1 June 1934 at the age of 17, and if my mother's recollections are correct, she was still 17 at the time of the Sunday chicken dinner which she cooked for Sherman, so the dinner must have taken place prior to 18 Dec. 1934. In any event, it was in March 1935 -- a little under a year after Sherman's older sister Eleanor married -- that my grandparents Sherman and Frances decided to elope. Although they successfully concealed their plans to get married from their family and friends, my grandfather couldn't keep all of his plans a secret, for the 21 March 1935 edition of the Lee Center News mentions, "Sherman Linn Shaw plans to leave this week for Wichita, Kans., where he will visit his brother, Russell. He sold his stock and farming equipment to C. E. Braden." Little did the folks in Lee Center know that Sherman would not be traveling alone on his trip to Wichita, and that he and his traveling companion -- my grandmother -- would take a quick trip north to Rockford before turning southwest to Wichita!
And so, the day after that newspaper notice was published, without telling their families, on 22 March 1935 Sherman and Frances ran off to Rockford, Illinois, where they were married at the Second Congregational Church in Rockford by Rev. John Gordon, pastor of that church, with the pastor's wife and a Mrs. T. J. Floden (i.e. Mrs. Lea Floden, wife of Ture J. Floden of 305 Cottage Grove, Rockford) serving as witnesses.
The marriage record of my grandparents Sherman and Frances Shaw, who were married on 22 March 1935 at Second Congregational Church of Rockford, Illinois, by Rev. John Gordon, pastor of that church.
After their marriage, they took their honeymoon trip to Wichita, Kansas, where they stayed with my grandfather's older brother Russ for about 12 days. After arriving in Wichita, they wrote letters to their parents letting them know that they were married, and very quickly the tightly-knit community of Lee Center and its environs also learned of their nuptials. Their marriage was announced on the 28 March 1935 edition of The Amboy News as follows:
"Sherman Linn Shaw Weds Frances Miller of Dixon
"Sherman Linn Shaw, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Shaw of Lee Center, and Frances Miller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Miller of Dixon, were married last Friday afternoon, March 22, by Dr. John Gordon, pastor of the Second Congregational church of Rockford, in the parsonage in that city. The bride was charming in a grey ensemble. The young couple were unattended. They are graduates of the Lee Center and Dixon high schools respectively, and have many friends who will extend congratulations and best wishes. Their honeymoon will be spent with Mr. and Mrs. Russell Shaw in Wichita, Kansas."
My grandfather's letter to his parents announcing his marriage arrived in Lee Center on Wednesday, 27 March 1935. The next day, my great-grandparents Sherman and Grace, who were quite surprised or even shocked at the elopement, wrote letters in reply, and we still have their letters in our possession. My grandparents returned from their honeymoon on 4 April 1935, as briefly noted in the 11 April 1935 Amboy News, which says, "Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Linn Shaw returned last Wednesday from their wedding trip to Wichita, Kan."
Upon their return from Wichita, my grandparents received several wedding presents -- the items, which my grandmother later listed on an index card, were nice household items, such as a small sugar bowl, a glass creamer, a chrome tray, a Wagner Ware Dutch oven (given by my grandmother's uncle Clark Young and his second wife Leola), and a few pairs of salt and pepper shakers from the collection of my grandfather's mother Grace. A few of their wedding presents are still in the possession of their descendants. They received these gifts at three wedding showers that their loved ones and friends threw for them after they got back from Wichita. The first one was noted in the 18 April 1935 edition of The Amboy News, which says, "Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Shaw, newlyweds, were tendered a charivari and miscellaneous shower last Tuesday night [9 April 1935] at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Miller on the Chicago road." Their charivari was a way to congratulate them while also good-naturedly ribbing and scolding them for eloping. Then on Thursday, 25 April 1935, several of my grandmother's friends threw her a bridal shower, as reported in The Amboy News under its "Talk of the Town" column, on 2 May 1935, which says, "Thursday evening Rose Murtaugh entertained with a dinner party for Mrs. Sherman Linn Shaw, a recent bride. Those attending were Genevieve Cotter, Mary Meade, Eleanor Scott, Zelda Green; and Ione Tedwall, Helen Feldus and Margaret Minnehan of Dixon. After the dinner a social hour was enjoyed." Finally, on Tuesday, 21 May 1935, the Lee Center community "repaid" my grandparents' having surprised everyone by surprising them in turn with a grand shower and program at Lee Center Congregational Church, as reported in the 30 May 1935 Amboy Times:
"Mr. and Mrs. Sherman Linn Shaw, who were recently married were tendered a surprise miscellaneous shower in the church last Tuesday evening. A program was given, featuring a xylophone solo and the parody of 'O Promise Me,' sung by Mrs. C. E. Braden, both accompanied by Mrs. C. A. Ullrich; a skit, 'Why We Never Married,' Rev. G. A. Cox, daughters Eva and Grace, son Avon, Mrs. Russell Gentry, Elmer Mortenson, Ormond Baylor, Mrs. W. S. Frost; song by Clara Mortenson, accompanied by Mrs. Braden; humorous reading, Mrs. Frost. A large decorated basket was then brought in, containing many useful and beautiful gifts, which were opened by the bride and groom, and duly inspected by the guests. In a few well chosen words, Mr. and Mrs. Shaw thanks the donors and invited them to visit them in their new home. Coffee and doughnuts were served."
After they started their lives together, my grandparents continued to live in Lee Center. We can't be sure where they lived immediately after they got back from Wichita, Kansas, but almost certainly "their new home," mentioned in the above quoted newspaper article about my grandparent's surprise wedding shower published on 30 May 1935, was the Hattie Lippincott house in Lee Center. That is the house where Sherman and Frances lived for about a year-and-a-half after their marriage.
The winter following my grandparents' marriage was one of the harshest, coldest winters in living memory, and the pages of The Amboy News in late 1935 and early 1936 are filled with stories and notices that attest to the ways in which the heavy snow and brutal sub-zero temperatures affected the residents of Lee Center. One of those items appeared on the Lee Center society page of The Amboy News, 20 Feb. 1936, which says:
"Sherman L. Shaw Jr. visited his wife Saturday and Sunday [Feb. 15-16] at the home of her grandfather, Bailiff Frank Young in Dixon, where she has been staying on account of the weather conditions."
These safety measures of my grandparents were especially prudent given the fact that my grandmother was then pregnant with her first child, my mother. My grandparents had been married for about a year-and-a-half when they had their daughter DOLORES FRANCES SHAW, who was born 15 Aug. 1936 at Amboy Hospital, in nearby Amboy, Lee County, Illinois. My grandmother gave birth during the hottest summer on record in Illinois (which followed on the heels of one of the worst winters). On the audiotape of my mother's personal memories that I made on 28 Nov. 1998, this is what she said about the ordeal that her mother went through in the final month of her pregnancy:
"August of 1936 was the hottest temperature records ever recorded in history. Years later, I asked my mother how in the world she could ever get through having a baby in the heat of August – because I [too] had a baby in August. I said, 'There was no air conditioning! How did you do that?' She said, 'Ice cubes and a fan -- and your grandmother was sure that you were going to be an ice cube!' And to this day I like to chew on ice cubes."
My mother's birth was first heralded in The Amboy News, 20 Aug. 1936, page 3, column 4, where the following note appeared in the Lee Center news section: "Mr. and Mrs. Sherman L. Shaw Jr., announce the arrival of a seven pound daughter, Saturday morning at the Amboy hospital." A second announcement was printed on the front page of the 30 Aug. 1936 Amboy News, under the heading "HELLO WORLD!" It read, "Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Shaw Jr. of Lee Center are the parents of a baby daughter born Saturday, Aug. 15 at Amboy hospital." Remarkably, neither announcement included a name for Sherman and Frances' first child. Only in the 3 Sept. 1936 Amboy News, in the Lee Center news section, was it at last announced what they had decided to name their daughter: "Mrs. Sherman L. Shaw Jr. returned home from the Amboy hospital last week with her infant daughter, Dolores Frances." My grandmother's extended stay in the hospital after giving birth is an indication that it had been a difficult delivery and that there probably were post partum complications -- not at all surprising given that it was her first pregnancy and the area was gripped in an unprecedented heat wave.
Shown here are two photographs taken in Lee Center, Illinois, in 1936 apparently in the autumn. These are among the earliest photos we have of my mother. At the left, my mother Dolores shares a baby carriage with her cousin Eddie Baylor, who was only two-and-a-half months older than Dolores. At the right, Dolores and Eddie share a little red wagon while Eddie's older brother Jack prepares to pull them. Although my mother grew up as an only child, she grew up in Lee Center with her male Baylor cousins, with whom she was very close, thinking of them as her own brothers.
This photograph taken in 1937 in Lee Center, Illinois, shows my mother, Dolores Frances Shaw, firstborn and ultimately only surviving child of Sherman Linn Shaw II and Frances Mae (Miller) Shaw. Her parents saved the baby shoes that Dolores is wearing in this picture and later had them bronzed. Her bronzed shoes, as well as one of her infant gowns, are still in the possession of Dolores' family.
A few months after my mother's birth, Sherman and Frances arranged with his parents to rent the old Shaw farm in Lee Center. The 22 Oct. 1936 Amboy News reported that "Mr. and Mrs. Sherman L. Shaw Jr. have moved from the Mrs. Hattie Lippincott house to the S. L. Shaw home, where they have rented the farm for the coming year. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw [i.e. Sherman's parents] will soon move to the George Brewer property on Second street, now occupied by Earl Carlson." My great-grandparents' move to the George Brewer place was completed by early November, as reported in the 12 Nov. 1936 Amboy News, which says, "Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Shaw are now occupying the Brewer residence on Second street, owned by Mrs. C. W. Ross." Sherman and Frances would continue to work the old Shaw farm in Lee Center for the next few years.
Though my mother was born in the summer of 1936, it wasn't until the spring of the following year that my grandparents had her baptised in the Christian faith. In her baby book, my grandmother wrote that Dolores was baptised and formally named on 28 March 1937 at First Presbyterian Church of Dixon by Rev. Herbert Doran. Perhaps my grandparents were then considering membership in the Presbyterian Church in Dixon (although they were then living in Lee Center). On the other hand, the decision to have my mother baptised in the Presbyterian Church was perhaps something of a compromise on the part of my grandparents, since my grandfather Sherman was brought up in the Congregational Church while my grandmother Frances was baptised and raised a Lutheran. Did they come to the mutual decision that, rather than one of them having to give up his or her denominational affiliation, they would try to find a Christian community to which they and the children whom God would give them would all belong? Whatever their reasons for having Dolores baptised by Dixon's Presbyterian pastor, however, my grandparents' actual practice was to attend Lee Center Congregational Church during the years in the 1930s and 1940s when they were living in Lee Center. Later, when they were living in or near Dixon for a few years during the 1940s, they presumably attended First Presbyterian Church. Be that as it may, after moving to Dixon in the latter 1950s, my grandparents did attend First Presbyterian Church in Dixon and maintained their membership there until their deaths.
In this photograph taken in June 1937 in Lee Center, Illinois, my mother, Dolores Frances Shaw, age 10 months, is shown with her parents, Sherman Linn Shaw II and Frances Mae (Miller) Shaw, and her grandparents, Sherman Linn Shaw I and Grace Esther (Bender) Shaw.
As mentioned previously, it was during the 1930s that my great-grandfather Sherman gathered genealogical information about his family which he sent to his cousin Evangeline Linn Halleck (1886-1963), who included that information in her book, Descendants of George Linn (1941). The Shaw branch of the Linns may be found in Halleck's book on pages 142 and 167 -- it is on the latter page where my mother and grandparents are listed. At the time that Halleck's book was published, my mother was about 5 years old. She was my grandparents' first child, and, sadly, would end up being their only child, because my grandmother and grandfather had six other babies who were delivered preterm, either dying through miscarriage or who were stillborn. In the taped interview of my mother from 28 Nov. 1998, she told me:
"I always wanted a brother or sister, since I was the firstborn, but it wasn’t meant to be. Later on in life, I learned that my mother lost six pregnancies, and two of them were little boys. But she never talked about it, so I didn’t know what had happened. Except she did say, while she was working at the City National Bank, one of her co-workers had to go in and have some surgery done, in order to hold a pregnancy, because she had torn so badly when the first one was born. When the reconstruction was done, she was able to carry to term. And mother thinks that that may have been what happened to her, and the doctor thought so too. She did tell me that. But she never told me about losing any of the babies. I remember some of the times when it happened. But my Aunt Eleanor was the one that told me that two of the babies were boys. So I would have had a brother, and we would have had a Sherman Linn Shaw -- but, not this time. We also were told that the Rh factor may have contributed to the problem that they had, but both of them were Rh+. Dad was an O+ which was a universal donor, and she was AB+, and lo and behold their daughter came up A-. So I shouldn’t have been able to have successful pregnancies with five children with a B+ husband, but we did, and no problems. I think the Rhesus monkey got blamed for a lot of stuff he didn’t have anything to do with."
It seems that, per the usual practice in those days, the six babies that my grandparents lost were not given funerals. In any event, they were not buried in the Sherman Linn Shaw family plot in Woodside Cemetery, Lee Center, Illinois. It is presumed that their bodies were cremated, which then and now is commonly the disposition of the remains of stillborn or miscarried babies. As my mother indicated, in those days, and even today, miscarriage and stillbirth are usually shrouded in silence -- they're intensely painful events that we just don't talk about. The loss of so many babies undoubtedly touched my grandparents deeply, and inevitably affected the spiritual, psychological, and emotional contours of their family, subtly influencing the kind of upbringing my mother had. My grandmother's interior anguish of losing six babies, maybe unresolved and perhaps not wholly acknowledged, cloaked in the silence of privacy and etiquette, perhaps helps to explain the somewhat strained relationship that my mother and grandmother had -- for my grandmother was not quite at ease around small children, and that in turn is probably one of the main reasons why my mother ended up being much closer to her father than her mother. Being an only child, my mother also often felt lonely -- but that was ameliorated by the fact that her first cousins, the Baylor boys, Jack, Eddie, and Ronnie, also lived in Lee Center. They were her playmates growing up, and she felt very close to them, looking upon them as her own brothers. Indeed, my mother was thankful for all of her Baylor cousins, but was closest to the three eldest boys since they were close to her in age.
My grandfather Sherman is mentioned a president of Lee Center High School Alumni in a notice in the 13 May 1937 Amboy News, page 3, column 3, which says, "Invitations have been issued to the annual Lee Center high school alumni banquet to be held Saturday evening, May 29 in the I. O. O. F. hall. A dance in the school gym will follow the banquet and business session. The officers are Sherman L. Shaw Jr., president; Harold Donnelly, vice president; Dorothy Bohn, secreary-treasurer (sic -- secretary)." A few months later, in the summer of 1937, a fire broke out in Lee Center that threatened the old Shaw place where my grandparents and mother lived. My grandfather Sherman helped the Amboy Fire Department fight the fire, which occurred on Monday, 16 Aug. 1937, the day after my mother's first birthday. The following report about this incident appeared in the 19 Aug. 1937 Amboy News:
Call Amboy Firemen to Lee Center on Monday
Amboy firemen were called to Lee Center at noon Monday to fight a fire which threatened the Sherman Shaw property in the east end of that village. A barn on the old Henry Herrick place, now owned by Mrs. Tom Coryell of Amboy was entirely destroyed and for a time it was feared that the flames would spread to the Shaw property.
The firemen fought for three and one-half hours and were successful in controlling the spreading of the flames. Neighbors assisted the firemen greatly, especially Frank Berry whose assistance was greatly appreciated. Water to fight the fire was furnished by Sherman Shaw. The cause of the fire was unknown.
The barn which was built of lumber, contained a quantity of dry cobs and the heat from the flames was intense. The value of the building was estimated at $300 and there was no insurance.
Among the various mementos and artifacts that have survived from my grandfather's life during these years are an early driver's license with an expiration date of 1 May 1942 and the title to a 1933 Chevrolet Sedan. The Sedan's title was witnessed by Illinois Secretary of State Edward J. Hughes on 12 May 1936, and indicates that my grandfather "Sherman L Shaw Jr. Lee Center, Illinois" purchased the car for $275 from Nelson Motor Co., Sandwich, Illinois, on 30 Oct. 1937. I can only guess why, of all the automobiles that my grandfather owned during his life, this title was preserved. Was it the first car he ever owned or ever personally bought with his own money, or was it his favorite? It does seem that my grandfather preferred Sedans, judging from the cars that appear in our old family photos from these decades.
Sherman's wife, my grandmother Frances, was mentioned in the local news in the 27 Jan. 1938 issue of The Amboy News, which includes the following brief notice under the column headline of "HOSPITAL NEWS" -- "Mrs. Sherman Shaw, Jr., of Lee Center underwent a minor operation Wednesday morning." In the next issue, dated 3 Feb. 1938, we read, "Mrs. S. L. Shaw, Jr., is in the Amboy hospital where she submitted to a minor operation last week. She is making a satisfactory recovery and will be able to return home soon." The operation evidently was of a delicate nature, since hers is in only one listed in those issues of the newspaper in which the precise nature of the operation is not described. It's quite likely that this was the first of my grandmother's six miscarriages or stillbirths.
My mother said that one of her earliest memories was of being placed on the back of a large draft horse named Silvermane at the old Shaw farm in Lee Center, Illinois. She also said we had a photograph of her as a child riding Silvermane. However, in our collection of old Shaw photos and mementos, I have only been able to locate this one photo of Silvermane, taken during the 1930s.
Presumably it was while my grandparents were living at and working the old Shaw farm in Lee Center around 1940-41 that my mother had an attack of appendicitis, when she was about 3 years old. There is some uncertainty about the chronology of our Shaw family history on this point, however, because my mother seems to have conflated or confused the time that she had appendicitis with the time that she was quarantined with the measles. In both the 1998 and the 2006 tape-recorded interviews of my mother, she said it was while they were living at and working the Cortwright place in or near Dixon that she got appendicitis, and in both interviews she said she was about 3 years old at the time -- but if that is right, then they could not have been living at the Cortwright place, because the 1940 U.S. Census and our Shaw family records show that my grandparents and mother were living in Lee Center at the time. On the other hand, they certainly were living at the Cortwright place when she got the measles later in the 1940s. In any case, in the 1998 interview, my mother said, "I was about 3 years old and I had an appendicitis attack. I had my appendix removed on Easter Sunday morning by Dr. John Sullivan." She went into greater detail in the 2006 interview:
"I was two years old. I think I was three. I remember grabbing my tummy and said, 'Mommy, my tummy hurts!' and I rolled down the stairs. They took me to Dr. Sullivan, and he was in Amboy, but he was Catholic so he was in Mass, so they took him out to the hospital -- took my appendix out that morning. I don't remember going to the hospital, but I remember grabbing my tummy and going down the stairs."
My mother turned 3 years of age on 15 Aug. 1939, and if her appendectomy took place on Easter Sunday when she was 3, then it must have happened 24 March 1940, a rare year when Easter fell unusually early. It must have been about two weeks later, then, that my grandparents and mother were enrolled in the U.S. Census. The census returns for Lee Center, dated 9 April 1940, show my grandparents and mother as "Shaw Jr. L. Sherman," age 27, a farmer who was renting the farm he worked, "Shaw M. Frances," age 23, a stenographer working in an office environment, and "Shaw F. Dolores," age 3. During the week prior to their enumeration for the census, Sherman had worked 75 hours and Frances had worked eight hours. Curiously, the record shows only a blank for the number of weeks that my grandfather had worked in 1939, and also a blank for his income for 1939. My grandmother, on the other hand, reportedly worked for five weeks in 1939 and earned $60. Notably, the census says that in 1939 my grandfather had earned or received income of more than $50 from other sources than his farm work -- some of that no doubt would include money from playing the trombone in the dance band. The census record says my grandmother had lived in Dixon in 1935 (but, per the census, reportedly not on a farm, even though she was then living on her parents' farm in rural Dixon), and that the residence of my grandfather and mother in 1940 was the same house where they'd been living in 1935. To be accurate, my mother in 1935 was then still living inside my grandmother, and my grandparents and mother in 1940 were not living in the same place as they had lived in 1935. As mentioned above, in October 1936 they moved from the Hattie Lippincott house to the old Shaw place in Lee Center. The 1940 U.S. Census says my grandfather was renting the old Shaw place for $8 per month. At the time of the 1940 census, my grandparents' nearest neighbors on one side were the James T. Starnes family, and on the other side was Margaret Ullrich, age 79, living alone. Also, as mentioned previously, around this same time, the 5 April 1940 U.S. Census returns for Lee Center show my grandfather's parents as "Shaw L. Sherman," age 76, an insurance agent, and "Shaw E Grace," age 61. That same year, the U.S. Census shows my grandfather's older half-brother Russell, age 44, living with his wife and three children at 2700 Western Ave., Mattoon, Illinois, where Russell was working as an oil broker. The 1940 U.S. Census also shows my grandfather's older sister Eleanor Shaw Baylor, age 29, living in Lee Center with her husband and their three oldest sons.
In the following year, on 12 May 1941, my grandfather's mother Grace suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 62, at home in Lee Center. It was just a few days before my grandfather's 29th birthday. Grace's obituary, published on 15 May 1941, lists among her survivors "one daughter, Mrs. Eleanor Baylor, one son, Sherman L. Shaw, Jr., of near Dixon, . . ." However, both my grandfather Sherman and his sister Eleanor were living in Lee Center at the time, so it's somewhat puzzling that this obituary characterises the locations of their homes as "near Dixon" rather than, say, "near Amboy." After suffering the grief of his mother's death, it was not many months before my grandfather also lost his father, who died at home in Lee Center on Friday, 9 Jan. 1942. In her unpublished notes on Lee Center history, Aunt Eleanor wrote, ". . . dad, after being sick all fall and winter, died on January 9, 1942." He was laid to rest between his wives in Woodside Cemetery, Lee Center, Illinois, on Sunday, 11 Jan. 1942. My grandfather "Sherman L., Jr., of Lee Center" was listed among the survivors in my great-grandfather's obituary published the day of his death in the Dixon Evening Telegraph:
Stayed in Lee Center until 1942, when they moved to the Cortwright place.
My grandfather SHERMAN LINN SHAW II (1912-1973) was never drafted and did not fight overseas during World War II (1941-1945). That was because he was a married father of an only child, a little girl (my mother), and was the primary means of support of his wife and child. In addition, he was then employed by the Dixon State Hospital as their own farmer, with the responsibility of working the hospital's farm. So, instead of serving overseas, he enlisted in the Illinois Reserve Militia and served his state and country in helping to defend "the Home Front." Here are my mother's memories of her dad's enlistment in the militia, from the audiotape of the interview at her home south of Dixon, Illinois, on 11 April 2006 --
"I remember one time, when we lived on the Cortwright farm -- that's when I had the measles and I was quarantined -- your granddad came back in a uniform, and I thought he was going to the Army. But he was in the Illinois Militia, which was the forerunner of the National Guard now. So he didn't have to go, to leave, because he was farming the State Hospital's grounds for them. So he got to stay home."
My family is blessed to have in our keeping some of the records of my grandfather's service in the Illinois Reserve Militia. The service papers indicate that he first enlisted in the militia at Dixon, Illinois, on 11 April 1944, when he was 31 years old. The papers say he had brown hair, blue eyes, a dark complexion, was 5 feet 8 1/2 inches in height, was in "good" physical condition, and had "excellent" character. The following year, on 17 Aug. 1945, Colonel Bradford F. West of the Third Infantry, Illinois Reserve Militia, raised him to the rank of Corporal in Company A of the Third Infantry. His term of service expired on 10 April 1946, when he received an honorable discharge from Colonel West. The following day, my grandfather re-enlisted for another term of service with the Third Infantry, Company A. He completed that term on 10 Feb. 1947, when he was mustered out with his unit and honorably discharged by Colonel West. At the time, according to his discharge papers, he had brown hair, blue eyes, a dark complexion, was 5 feet 6 inches in height (having lost 2 1/2 inches over the preceding three years), was in "good" physical condition, and had "excellent" character.
Here are two photographs showing my grandfather Sherman L. Shaw in his Illinois militia uniform, probably taken in 1944. I don't know who the other militia soldier is. The car in the photos is apparently a 1940 Dodge Sedan.
After stepping down as head of the county farm bureau in 1925, my great-grandfather Sherman continued to manage his farm, but the day-to-day operation in the 1920s and 1930s more and more was the responsibility of his sons Russell and Sherman. In October 1936, my great-grandparents moved from the old Shaw farm, turning it over to my grandparents, who lived on and worked the farm as tenants for a few years. Sherman and Grace moved to the George Brewer place on Second Street, a house adjacent to Lee Center Congregational Church that would later, in or around 1948, become the church parsonage. The house had formerly had been the home of Othniel M. Clark and his family. Othniel Clark was the father-in-law of Sherman Linn Shaw's younger brother George Harry Thornton Shaw, who was married at the Clark home. The decision to move from the Shaw place to the parsonage happened a few months after my mother was born.
Shown here are two photographs of the home located at Lot 1, Block 5 of the Original Town of Lee Center. On the left is an older photo, while the photo on the right shows the house as it was in 1967. My great-grandparents lived in this house for a few years before their deaths. The 1940 U.S. Census says the house where my great-grandparents lived in that year was the same place where they had lived in 1935, so that means they must have moved from the old Shaw place to this house in 1935. In her notes on Lee Center history, Aunt Eleanor said her parents moved from the old Shaw farm about 1936, which generally agrees with the census information -- though she elsewhere said, apparently incorrectly, that her parents only lived at their new home for a year or two before they died. About four years after they died, in 1946, my mother and her parents moved to this house, where they lived until the spring of 1949 -- they moved because in 1948 the house had been bought by Lee Center Congregational Church with the intention to use it as a parsonage.
1957 Dixon City Directory: Sherman L. Shaw and Frances Shaw, 907 W. 7th. (4-5142), Reynolds Wire Div.
1959 Dixon City Directory: Sherman Shaw, RD1
Despite the efforts of the physicians at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Sherm's leukemia did not respond well to treatment, and by early September 1973, his family and friends were informed that his condition was dire and that he would not have long to live. On 10 Sept. 1973, my grandmother's cousin Jack Young wrote the following letter to my grandmother, addressed to the De Lano Motel, Room 206, 1131 S.W. Second St., Rochester, Minnesota, and postmarked 11 Sept. 1973:
"Mom, Aunt Irene and Gramma Culp were up for dinner yesterday and naturally you and Sherm were salient points in our discussions. Leola told Ethel and I privately that you had told her in a phone conversation that Sherman wasn't responding to treatment as well as you had hoped for, and that you weren't sure what the future held in that regard.
"Ethel and I have some understanding of your situation and regret very deeply that circumstances have placed you in this grievous predicament. Nothing we can say or do will relieve Sherm of his tragic illness; but we are hopeful that the knowledge that a great number of people are sincerely concerned for you will help to some degree to relieve your mental torment.
"And we do think of you, Peg, and remember you and Sherm in our prayers."
"God bless you and give you strength."
"Jack, for Ethel too."
He was discharged from Mayo Clinic and taken aboard a medical flight from Minnesota to Dixon so he could spend his final days with his loved ones at home, but he passed away mid-flight and was formally pronounced dead upon landing at 3:10 p.m. at Dixon Airport (although his death notice and obituary incorrectly report that he had died in Rochester). His death certificate states that the immediate cause of death was "perforated viscera," from which he had suffered for one week, as a consequence of "chronic lymphotic (sic -- lymphocytic) leukemia," from which he had suffered for five years.
My grandfather's death was announced in the Dixon Evening Telegraph as follows:
"Sherman L. Shaw
"DIXON -- Sherman L. Shaw, 61, RR 1, director of the Mid-West Shetland Pony Roadster Club, died Friday in Rochester, Minn., following a long illness.
"Survivors include his widow, Frances; a daughter, Mrs. Joseph Delores (sic) Olor (sic); four grandsons, and a sister, Mrs. O. S. Baylor, Lee Center.
"Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in the Preston Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Woodside Cemetery, Lee Center. Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday."
His full obituary was published in the Dixon Evening Telegraph as follows:
"Sherman L. Shaw
"Sherman L. Shaw, 61, Rt. 1, Dixon, died Friday afternoon in Rochester, Minn., following a long illness.
"He was born May 17, 1912 in Lee Center, the son of Sherman L. and Grace Bender Shaw, and married the former Frances Miller in Rockford, March 22, 1935.
"He is survived by his widow, a daughter, Mrs. Joseph (Delores) (sic) Olor (sic), and four grandsons, all of Pekin, and a sister, Mrs. O. S. Baylor, Lee Center.
"He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, and was a past master of Friendship Lodge AF and AM, Dixon. He was also a past 4-H Club leader, and was a member and director of the Midwest Shetland Pony Roadster Club.
"Funeral services will be conducted at 10 a.m. Monday in the Preston Funeral Home with Dr. Malcolm D. Ludy, pastor of the church, officiating. Burial will be in Woodside Cemetery, Lee Center. Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday."
"Visitation is planned for after noon Sunday in the funeral home, where the family will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m."
The passing of my grandfather touched a multitude of his relatives and friends, and his funeral memory book testifies to the great outpouring of condolences that my grandmother received in the days immediately following his death. Several pages of the memory book are filled with the names of those who came to the visitation and funeral and those who bought flowers. Also, soon after his death, the newsletter of the Midwest Shetland Pony Roadster Club printed the following heartfelt and touching tribute to my grandfather:
SHERMAN SHAW "drives on" When days of jogging come to park And wheels of life no longer spin, Your loving memory will light the dark When stable colors fade and dim. We only hope that we can convey Your same warm smile, your winning way . . . It is our memorial trophy.
Sherman Shaw died on September 14, 1973, at age sixty-one, on his return flight home from the Mayo Clinic. His long fight with leukemia was ended. Sherm is survived by his wife Francis (sic) of R.R. 1, Box 222, Dixon, IL; sister Mrs. Baylor of Lee Center, IL; daughter Delores (sic) and four grandsons of Pekin, IL. Sherman Shaw showed winning Shetland roadster and hand ponies throughout the midwest (sic). "Larigo's Radiant Rhythm" and "Widow's Son" (a pony the Shaws raised) were both Shetland roadsters 43"-46". Sherm's 50" Hackney roadster "King" completed the string. This year Sherm served as a Board member of the Midwest Shetland Roadster Club. We wish to extend our sympathy to those who loved Sherm. He will be missed by those who knew and admired him for his courage and ever so warm personality.
For myself, I no longer have any clear memories of my grandfather's death. I still recall a few moments of the funeral service, but do not remember the graveside service. Being only 5 1/2 years old at the time, I had no understanding of death and was capable of only a little boy's impression of his Grampa. I no longer recall being told of his death and don't remember if I cried when I heard the news -- and I'm pretty sure I didn't even know he had such a serious illness, indeed that he had been sick for the entire time I knew him. I only knew him as a happy, smiling, laughing guy who liked to play with my brothers and me and tease us, and give us harness pony rides in the sulky with him. As far as I and my brothers were concerned, he was simply Grampa -- the quintessential Grampa. I wish I could have known him longer and acquired a better knowledge of him, yet I'm grateful for the brief time I had him as the only grandfather I ever knew, and for the stories my mother and grandmother and other relatives told about him, along with the many facts and documents I've been able to compile which has enabled me to write his biography. It is my hope and desire that we will meet again in the world to come.
The only child of my grandparents who survived to full-term was:
10. DOLORES FRANCES SHAW, born 15 Aug. 1936 in Amboy, Ill.
10. DOLORES FRANCES SHAW, daughter of Sherman and Frances Shaw, born 15 Aug. 1936 in Amboy, Lee County, Illinois; died 10 Nov. 2007 at Katherine Bethea Shaw Hospital, Dixon, Lee County, Illinois. Dolores was baptised on 28 March 1937 in the Presbyterian Church of Dixon by Rev. Herbert Doran. In the summer of 1960, she received Radio Church of God baptismal initiation in the Rock River in Dixon. On 22 Dec. 1962 in Lombard, Illinois, Dolores married JOSEPH OLAR, born 4 Dec. 1927 in Portland, Oregon, son of Alex and Rose Olar. The minister at the wedding was Pastor Dean Blackwell of the Radio Church of God. Dolores and Joseph lived successively in Elmhurst, Dixon, Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, and Dixon. They had five sons. Joseph currently lives in central Illinos. After her death, Dolores' visitation was Wednesday, 14 Nov. 2007 at Preston-Schilling Funeral Home, Dixon, Illinois, where her funeral was held the following day, 15 Nov. 2007. Galen Morrison, pastor of United Church of God, Beloit, Wisconsin, presided at the funeral. Later the day of the funeral, her cremated remains were interred in the grave of her parents during a brief graveside service at Woodside Cemetery, Lee Center, Illinois. On Sunday, 23 Dec. 2007, a memorial Mass for the repose of her soul was offered at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Pekin, Illinois, with the stipend provided by Merlyn and Tina Sondag, friends of her son and daughter-in-law Jared and Christina Olar. For much of her life, Dolores operated a sewing and tailoring business, first in Pekin, and then in Dixon. For a detailed biography of Dolores Olar, see Stories and Memories from My Mother, Dolores Olar.
-- ETHAN JOSEPH OLAR, born 28 Nov. 1963 in Elmhurst, Ill. -- JASON SHERMAN OLAR, born 11 Aug. 1965 in Peoria. -- JARED LINN OLAR, born 6 Feb. 1968 in Peoria. -- DEREK ANDREW OLAR, born 5 Nov. 1970 in Pekin. -- CALEB ALDEN OLAR, born 28 July 1974 in Pekin.
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