An Obituary from the Summer of 1896

An Obituary from the Summer of 1896

Nannie Van Hooser, wife of Perry F. Van Hooser, was born November 26, 1873; and departed this life at her mother’s home in Jackson County, July 16, 1896. The deceased was married December 7, 1893. She obeyed the Gospel in September 1895, and lived ever afterwards a faithful, earnest Christian. Sister Nannie was a very bright and noble specimen of womanhood, and clung to life with great energy and hope, being a victim of that fell destroyer, Consumption. She was not afraid to die, only regretting to leave her loving young husband, expressing a desire, however, to go to her dear little babe, which was born and died last April, after a very brief sojourn on earth. With an invocation as her last words to the loved ones around her, “Prepare to meet me in heaven,” and a consciousness that seemed only to go out with the last heart throb, she breathed her life sweetly away. To her bereaved companion, left alone on the nearer shore, it is meet to say:

Let us be patient. These severe afflictions

Not from the ground arise,

But oftentimes celestial benedictions

Assume this dark disguise.

– Printed in the Gospel Advocate, Oct. 22, 1896

Did you notice that old medical term “Consumption?” Today, we call it tuberculosis. Imagine this young woman, Nannie, dying in her mother’s home at the age of 22 yrs. and 8 mos. She and her husband have only been married about a year and a half. She has already buried her baby daughter, who was born and died three months earlier. Further, death by consumption was a torturous path to walk in 1896.

Contrast this sad scene with the other statements made in her obituary. Nannie’s is a short life, but so positive and inspiring! She was a person full of “energy and hope,” “a faithful, earnest Christian” and “a very bright and noble specimen of womanhood.” These words tell us of her wonderful character!

But what is the true comfort for her mother, for the husband, the baby, and for Nannie herself? It’s all the same answer. The comfort in Jesus Christ to save us, and the peace of angels taking us to that happier, heavenly shore. Luke 16:22, Matthew 28:20.

What about you and I? I know we all wish for 2024 to be the best year ever and there are many wonderful and positive expectations for this congregation in 2024. But for some in our church family, or someone we know, it won’t be so great. In our joy, let’s also see it from the other side. Let’s not forget to extend love to those needing relief from loneliness, heartache, or illness during this new year.

Psalm 118:22-24 22 A stone which the builders rejected Has become the [ i ] chief cornerstone. 23 This came about from the Lord; It is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day which the Lord has made; Let’s rejoice and be glad in it.

Galatians 6:9-10 9 Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let’s do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Nannie Van Hooser (died age 22) 1873 – 1896. As the funeral preacher often asks the living, “The year we are born, the year we die, but what will you do with the dash?” Energetic, hopeful, faithful, earnest, bright and noble. It seems that Nannie got it right. Let Lehman Avenue do the same in 2024!



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