Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

A dear lady mourned  August 17, 2000

Many of you read last week in the report of the White County Historical
Society board meeting that the Genealogy Library had been informed of a

We are to receive the contents of Mary Smith Fay's library.
Her library is said to outnumber ours in books. We are somewhat
overwhelmed by this. As of yet, we have no idea when we'll be receiving
the books.

Mary Smith Fay lived in Houston, but she came every year and stayed a
few days at my home and visited with relatives and friends and always
looked over the library. She was here in June--her usual charismatic and
vivacious self. Two weeks later she became brain dead as a result of an
allergic reaction to medication and died July 7. People all over the
country were stunned.

The list of accolades which she had received is too lengthy to print
here. The list of organizations to which she belonged and the offices
she has held (from honorary vice president for life of the National
United States Daughters of 1812 to the National Board for Women in
Medicine of the Medical College of Pennsylvania) are amazingly diverse
and too long to print here. Her stature in the field of genealogy was
such that she was court-appointed to determine the heirs in the Howard
Hughes probate estate.

She was the author of three books and numerous articles which were
published in journals and magazines. Her careers included teaching,
hospital administration in Michigan and New Jersey, and being
supervisor of technical information at a laboratory for Shell Oil in
Houston, in addition to her genealogical work.

Her obituary asked, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made
to a charity of your choice.

When I talked to her executor, I asked for suggestions, and he said,
"Oh, look no further than your own Genealogy Library. That was her
favorite charity!" Evidently some people in Texas knew this, as we are
beginning to receive contributions.

For those of you who wish to make a contribution to a charity of your
choice in Mary Smith Fay's name, the charity may make notification of
your gift by writing:

Katherine Stepanski
24418 Lori Lane
Magnolia, TX 77355

Mary Smith Fay was brilliant and charming--a rare person. At our
library, we are going to miss her help and expertise. Personally, I feel
bereft from losing a second cousin (Hunsinger line), a mentor and a
friend. She was my ideal.

The Genealogy Library is open from 11 to 5 Wednesdays.

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The Coordinator for the White County, Illinois ILGenWeb page is Cindy Birk Conley

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