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Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 12:01 am

Remembering the lives they lived


About the issue

Our annual end-of-year obituary issue offers in-depth portraits and personal remembrances of just a few of the hundreds who have passed from the Springfield scene this year. There is no attempt to be comprehensive, or even representative; these are people who have come to the attention of our writers, and others who our readers have brought to our attention by contributing their personal essays to “Remembering.” But haphazard as our selection process may be, what a treasure we have discovered in these lives. We commend to you not only the lives, but also the writing about them.

The daughter of Ann Elizabeth Sefcik Woolsey writes about her mother’s “goofy fearlessness” (p. 13). The rare quality of simplicity is celebrated in Tisha Rooney’s fine remembrance of her father (p. 12). Andrew Stone had been a childhood friend of Tom Irwin, who remembers how they as boys would shake hands hard in imitation of the way their fathers greeted each other at church. In his remembrance of his mother, A.J. Woodson tells a wonderful story of how even as an adult he hated to face Momma after wrongdoing, but he did. Read the result on p. 17. Grace Murdock, p. 18, was still packing a pistol at 94, a legacy of her Mercer County deputy days. Tecumsay Roberts, a former government official in Liberia, was almost a victim of the civil war there before he found freedom and a better life in Springfield (p. 16).

These lines are just a sampling of the many beautiful and fascinating stories we tell here. And those stories are just a sampling of the interesting lives that have ended this year. “Remembering” is our small contribution to their immortality, and a voice of gratitude for “the lives they lived.”
The singer-songwriter Iris Dement, who appeared at UIS this fall, has a wonderful song, “After You’re Gone,” which may comfort those who are facing their first holiday season without their loved one.

“There’ll be laughter even after you’re gone
“I’ll find reasons to face that empty dawn
“I’ve memorized each line in your face
“And not even death can ever erase
“The story they tell to me.”
–Fletcher Farrar, editor and publisher

KEITH LARKIN TAYLOR
DR. DAVID SPURGEON SUMNER
KENNETH ROBERT FOLKS
NORMA JEAN THOMPSON
CARL VOLKMANN
ELSIEJANE “NING” O’KEEFE
ANDREW RICHARD STONE, SR.
HENRY KRUG III
MARK ALEXANDER MACDONALD
WILLIAM C. SHEA
ANN ELIZABETH SEFCIK WOOLSEY
JEFFREY HOFMANN
RICHARD ROGER “DICK” MORSE
VIVIAN EDNA MCGINNIS
TECUMSAY JUMO ROBERTS, SR.
CECILE MARIE WOODSON-WHEATLEY
RILEY GRAHAM SEVERNS
GRACE ELEANOR MURDOCK

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