Demotte, John B - 1907 - Putnam

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Demotte, John B - 1907

Source: Greencastle Herald 2 Sept 1907 p 1

The death of Dr. John B. DeMotte was singularly beautiful and tragic. It was beautiful because his work was done.  He had finished his series of lectures.  He had come home to rest.  Next year he was to spend for himself as far as such a man can live for self.  To die thus with work done is beautiful.  To die at the beginning of recess, with the resttime ahead with dreams of happy days unfulfilled that is tragic.  Dr. DeMotte had just returned from a tour of the chautaquas of the middle West. At 8 o’clock last evening at his home on East Seminary Street occurred the death of John B. Demotte. Heart disease was the cause of his death.  Mr. DeMotte had been confined to his bed since last Tuesday when he was brought home from Chicago.  He was believed to be getting much better yesterday. The end came suddenly. Mrs. DeMotte was alone with her husband when death came.  Mr. DeMotte was stricken with heart trouble while in York, Neb last week. He was there to deliver a lecture.  He immediately went to Chicago, cancelling the last date of his tour in order to come home.  While in Chicago Mr. DeMotte was taken suddenly worse and fell while walking down the street.  He was taken to a hospital and came near dying while there. As soon as he recovered sufficiently to warrant traveling he was brought home. This was last Tuesday. He had been confined to his bed ever since, but was believed to be getting much better.  Mr. DeMotte was 59 years old. He leaves a widow and two sons, John B. Jr of this city and Lawrence of NY.  On account of the telegraphers’ strike the latter could not be notified of the death of his father until this morning when the long distance telephone was used. He will come from NY immediately. The funeral will be at the home Wednesday afternoon.  Dr. DeMotte was a member of the faculty of DePauw University for many years. For the past 20 years, however, he had devoted his time to the lecture platform. His contract with the American and Redpath Lyceum Bureau would have expired soon and Dr. DeMotte had determined to retire and go into private life as soon as he was free from the lecture platform.  Scarcely within memory has our city been so shocked as it was last night as the news, unexpected and terrible, spread in widening circles that Dr. DeMotte was dead. Scarcely within memory has the city mourned so universally. To the whole of Greencastle his death has been like the death of a relative – one dearly loved.  He was near to our city. In our university he was educated. There, too, he began the work of life. From its doors he went out to become the teacher of a higher and nobler knowledge of self to a listening nation. This man one of the greatest lecturers of the US was loved as a man for his manhood.  He was respected as a citizen for his citizenship, honored as a scholar for his learning. True himself, he made others respect truth.  Pure himself, he preached purity.  Honest in purpose, he lived the hard and wearying life of the lecture field, because he believed he had a mission.  Thousands everywhere declare his belief was true.  His life has been an example of high living singularly free from worldliness.  All this we have lost. As a city we mourn, mourn the passing of the scholar, the teacher and the citizen. More than all we mourn the passing of the friend and the man.  Greencastle is better because John DeMotte lived here and from full hearts we acknowledge the debt Today from every home goes forth the sympathy and heartfelt respect that no words, public or private may say. Today our city mourns its dead.

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