An Exercise in Practical Genealogy

Hello there. Leo here.

Because people don't pay much attention to a lion sitting on a shelf I see it all  with a lion's eye view.
In the days after Jim died Ellouise and her family spent a lot of time around the kitchen table talking about something they called the "eulogy" and then the obituary. It was all about the story they wanted to tell about Jim...
At first they wrote a time-line of "he did this and he did that" ... but no one liked it.  I heard Ellouise say, '' this is more like a resume than a story - it doesn't tell us much about what he did as a doctor because we weren't there to know that and because of patient privacy he did not tell us much about what happened in the office."  

They decided to ask other people about Jim - people who grew up with him, who worked with him, who knew him from different points of view. Since Jim, Jr. would deliver the eulogy he was delegated to call and talk to five key folks. This he did - and then they added a touching "good-bye" letter from one of his nephews and an appreciative letter Ellouise received from one of Jim's patients. As a result many voices told Jim's story when Jim, Jr. delivered his eulogy.
They published an obituary which was more like a resume history and let the eulogy add flesh to the story.

Ellouise, who came to storytelling through genealogy, called it "an exercise in practical genealogy" - - history and story tied together.

A story they were very happy to document concerned Mobile Medical Care, an organization which remained close to Jim's heart through-out his life.

From another article
James A. Schoettler, MD, who died of cancer on March 6, 2012 at the age of 80, was instrumental in the growth of Mobile Medical Care, Inc. (MobileMed), a non-profit organization that provides health care to the uninsured, low income, working poor and homeless in Montgomery County, MD.   If you are not aware of MobileMed, here is a link to its website: http://www.mobilemedicalcare.org/  and a link to Youtube with some additional information: http://youtube/zu5bvLegrIQ.  MobileMed, from very small beginnings around 1970, now has grown to serve over 7000 people annually in our community.

Dr. Schoettler, a successful psychiatrist who practiced medicine in Washington, DC and Montgomery County for over 40 years, joined MobileMed in its earliest days as a volunteer, and later served as its Medical Director (1976-84) and on its Board of Directors (1980 – 2001). He was still an Honorary Board Member at the time of his death. In 1986, he was honored by the Maryland State Senate for his work with MobileMed.

The following quote is from someone who knew him at the time. 
“I first met your father as a member of MobileMed's Board in the 70's and immediately knew  that ‘This is a good man.’ The staff were devoted to him and it  was easy to see why. "Doc" as they referred to him was available,  always respectful and tender in his evaluation of what needed doing
and assessing how he could help. Once, he saved MMC, the organization itself by going without salary for far too long I'm sure for his own finances but that was Jim through and through.”

Being a lion new to living with humans I wondered what all this really had to do with Jim  - since Ellouise is the storyteller  - until I heard someone ask, "Ellouise how did you get so interested in genealogy and family history anyway?'

"From Jim. He started looking up the Schoettler family before we went to Germany in 1985 - - so that we could find the town where his great grand-father came from.  I caught the genealogy bug from him... and that led me to storytelling.

Jim loved stories and storytelling. As a psychiatrist stories were the stuff of his business and he enjoyed listening to an being with storytellers. He called himself a professional listener - - -"

1 comment:

Granny Sue said...

untWhat a good story, Ellouise. I would love to read the eulogy sometime. It sounds like a real tribute.