Dad Is Gone
Fred A. Shewmaker
West Lafayette, Ohio
The telephone rang; I answered it; Mother said, "Your Dad is gone." Lattie Glover Shewmaker, who was called Glover or L.G., was born July 7, 1900 in Arkansas. He departed from life August 14, 1986 at Long Beach, California, having lived 86 years, I month, and 7 days. He is survived by his wife, Grace, whom he married in Alton, Illinois August 10, 1929; a son Fred; a daughter, Marcella Bethel; 3 brothers, Troy, Otto and Aubrey; 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
Dad had limited formal education, but he was well acquainted with the contents of the Bible. Nearly every day of his adult life he took time to read the word of God. It was a settled matter in his home that before bedtime there would be a Bible reading and the offering of prayer.
Dad never was active in politics. One person told me that he was not interested in education. Nevertheless, he was the one who told residents of Stanford, Arkansas, about 45 years ago, "If you do not want to send your high school students to Beach Grove, now is the time to work to get a high school here. It can be done while 'Doc' Self is the County judge." Stanford High School opened for the fall term in 1941. As long as I can remember, Dad encouraged my sister and me to obtain a college education. As we grew up, one of his top priorities was to save enough to pay our college tuition. When circumstances required him to move to obtain work, during a school term, Mother, sister and I would be left behind until that school term ended. Others also received his assistance in their efforts to obtain a college education.
I am altogether convinced that L.G. Shewmaker loved the Lord, the truth, the church and the brethren. He was a friend to preachers. He enjoyed the preaching of the pure gospel. He also appreciated those who defended the truth in honorable debate. He enjoyed telling about various debates he had attended and the debaters he had known. He delighted in repeating illustrations which he had heard debaters use or explaining how a debater had used a certain passage to expose some error.
When I was a boy we lived in Green County, Arkansas. Preachers who came for meetings at Croft College always stayed with us. Dad was not a preacher. Probably the longest speech he ever made to an assembly was delivered at Delaplane, Arkansas in 1939 or 1940. Dad had been asked to "wait on the Lord's table" that Sunday morning. False doctrine regarding punishment after death was advocated by the preacher in his sermon. After serving the Lord's supper, Dad picked up his Bible and said, "There are some things I must say." Then he began reading passage after passage from the New Testament regarding hell and punishment of the wicked. Having finished reading, he said, "These things force me to disagree with that which was taught in the sermon this morning." The preacher arose and said, "When brother Shewmaker becomes as old and I am and has studied as long and as hard as I have, he will change his mind." Immediately Dad responded, "I hope to God I will not live that long."
Although Dad was not a preacher, he did baptize two people. Two young ladies requested baptism at Croft College on a Sunday morning. There was not a preacher present. Dad set out to find a preacher, driving around to the various meeting houses, but arrived at the appointed place for the baptisms without a preacher. One of the young ladies asked, "Why can't Glover do it?" Being unable to give a reason why he could not, he baptized them.
Dad was a man of convictions. He could stand on his convictions when no other man stood with him. At one place where he was a member of the church, it appeared that a brother who had not attended services for an extended period, would be received back into full fellowship without making any acknowledgment of error or expressing any repentance. Dad took his stand with firm and open opposition to that. The brother had a son who was a gospel preacher. He consulted his son and was told to repent and make acknowledgments of his error. He did and Dad welcomed him into the local fellowship.
It was during that same period of his life that Dad put his job on the line. As he and his fellow workers were in line to clock out on Saturday evening, their foreman came down the line saying, "Everybody back tomorrow." Dad stopped him and said that he would not work on Sunday and miss worship. The foreman said that if he did not work the next day, he would not have a job on Monday. After attending worship on Sunday, Dad went to work Monday morning not knowing whether or not he still was employed. His time card was in the rack. He clocked in. Nothing was said about him missing work on Sunday until the workers lined up to clock out Saturday evening. Their foreman came down the line saying, "Everybody back tomorrow. " When he saw Dad, he said, "Everybody back tomorrow, except Glover."
During the years that I was growing up, Dad was a Bible class teacher. In later years it seems that he was content to have those with more formal education teach the classes. in the last two churches with which he was identified, it was his responsibility to select those who participated in the services. He used that position to encourage young men to take part in the services. He was motivated by his own experience as a young man to encourage them. He said that when he grew up, the older men did everything. Then the day came when all the older men had passed on and everything fell on the young men's shoulders. They were untrained and did not know how to carry on. Dad said, "We just had to do the best we could and there are those who lived all their lives without ever participating in a public way."
Zeal for encouraging the development of young men once lead him to ask two service men to assist with the serving of the Lord's supper. They consented to help and did. When services ended that morning some one questioned Dad about the wisdom of using persons "who are not members of the church." The two young men had been regularly attending services and Dad had assumed that, even though they had not identified with the local church, they must be members back where they came from. That did not dampen Dad's zeal for encouraging young men to participate in the public services. After that, he just made certain that a young man was a member of the church, before asking him to participate.
Dad often seemed gruff. He was not one to waste words. At times his manner caused people to think he was angry. An elder where Dad was a deacon once told me, "Fred, when I first met your dad, I thought he had about the sourest disposition of anyone I ever came across; but, you know, as I came to know him, I began to realize that he has about the driest sense of humor a man could have." That is very close to the fact, but Dad also was tender-hearted, hospitable and generous.
Although I did not realize all that I am about to write at the time it happened, Dad revealed to me and others his tender heart on Sunday morning when I was still a small boy. He stood before the church with tears flowing down his cheeks asking forgiveness for his involvement in an incident that had resulted in talk against the church by residents of the community. I have never figured out how he could have avoided that incident, but that is of no consequence. His tears taught me the dignity of tears shed in concern for the cause of Christ.
Dad's hospitality may be seen in his keeping preachers who came for meetings, which was mentioned earlier, but it went beyond that. He delighted in having guests. Many times his desire to show hospitality moved him to extend an invitation, before learning from mother that really she was unprepared to receive guests, but would honor his will.
The scope of dad's generosity probably is unknown to any one outside his immediate family. There was never fanfare about it. By American standards he was not exceptionally wealthy. Nevertheless, even after he retired, he and mother supplied gospel preachers and struggling churches in the United States and across the seas with thousands of dollars in assistance. Neither Dad nor Mother have been what could be called "an easy touch." They answered one request for a contribution, "We feel that what we can contribute to the work of the Lord should be given to directly assist the work of the local church or to directly support gospel preaching."
Dad never seemed to need the praise of men. I believe he was at peace with himself and our Lord. His trial by life on earth has ended. He will no longer be standing at the door of the Spring and Delta meeting house to greet you or help you find a seat when the crowd is large. "Dad is gone." His eternal destiny is sealed. We have full assurance in hope of his eternal welfare.
Lattie Glover Shewmaker's earthly remains were buried August 18, 1986 at Sunnyside Memorial Park in Long Beach, California. Speakers at the memorial service were: Fred A. Shewmaker, son; P.S. Bethel, son-in-law and Don Wright, local minister at Spring and Delta. Don is a young man in his first located work. This was his first funeral. Mother views it as an opportunity for him to gain experience. Dad would have liked that.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 19, pp. 586-587