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REA, John 1846-1895


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 8/16/2010 at 22:16:48

Death of Hon. J. M. Rea at Grundy Centre.

Hon. J. M. Rea died at his home in Grundy Centre last Sunday of Brights disease. He was the senator from Black Hawk and Grundy counties, having two years more to serve. Some one will no doubt be chosen at the coming election to fill vacancy, and the courtesy of permitting Grundy county to select a successor to Mr. Ray, will no doubt be treely accorded. The deceased was a candid, fair minded man, who by years of faithful living has won the esteem and respect of many. He was about 55 years of age. Funeral today at 4 p.m.
--The Semi-Weekly Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa), 27 August 1895

Senator Rea Dead

He Passed Away at his Home in Grundy Center Yesterday Afternoon

The sad news was received this morning that Hon. J. M. Rea, the Senator from the Blackhawk-Grundy district, died at his home in Grundy Center yesterday afternoon. He has been threatened with Bright's disease for some time past and his death is supposed to have resulted from that disease.

Hon. John M. Rea was born in Chester Co., Penn., March 1, 1846. When very young his parents moved to Illinois and he was educated at Mt. Carroll Seminary and afterwards studied law in the Chicago University, graduating therefrom in 1870. He then moved to Grundy Center, where he has since lived. He was elected senator to succeed Hon. Matt Parrott, and has served only one session. He leaves a wife and two sons.
--Waterloo Courier (Waterloo, Iowa), 28 August 1895

Senator J. M. Rea

Grundy County's Leading Attorney Called Home

Rev. Allen, his Pastor, Delivered the Funeral Sermon

Hon. J. Morris Rea died at his home in this city last Sunday at 3 o'clock p.m. Aug. 25, 1895. Mr. Rea had been ill for some time but not confined to his bed and though his friends knew of his feeble condition, no one suspected that the end was so near and the community was grieved to learn that Wednesday of last week he was taken violently ill with no hopes for his recovery. Last spring he consulted specialists in Chicago who agreed with his home physicians that he was afflicted with Bright's disease of the kidneys, and they informed him that with care he might live a number of years, but gave him no hopes of ultimate recovery. He was a man of too much intelligence not to foresee the inevitable result, and knew too much of the history of the dread disease that had possession of him to cherish the faintest hope that he might escape the reaper that annually cuts down so many of his fellow-men with the same affliction. So he sat about to put his house in order. And what a beautiful house it was! Let us pause and enter the chambers of a life of purity and conscientious scruples, and garner a few sheaves from the field of usefulness, and mingle our tears and regrets with those, who, henceforth will be deprived of the gentle companionship of a loving and devoted husband, a kind and indulgent father and a loyal, duful son. Who can measure the extent of his grief or fathom the depths of his misery in being forced to reveal his apprehensions and firm convictions of his approaching death to his loved ones, and only the Allwise Father knew of the struggles that the brave man encountered in defying the dread enemy, death. In the quiet stillness of the solemn night when all others were reposing in good health, he lay on his restless couch and conversed alone with his God. The brave soldier who meets the foe in open battle knows that the eyes of the world are upon him ready to applaud him in victory, or sympathize with him in defeat. But he who sees death staring him in the face must suffer alone and make his peace with the author of his being according to the measure of his earthly deeds. No one but a brave man can conceal his feelings from his family in such an hour. This Mr. Rea succeeded in doing so well that his best loved ones were scarcely prepared to meet the result when it came. He was so thoughtful of their feelings that he endeavored to spare them all he could and not until Wednesday afternoon did he apprise them of his belief that the end was near. No one knew as well as himself that "all was well;" that "though this earthly tabernacle were dissolved" a house not made with hands was to be his everlasting portion. In looking over his past life all that is ennobling, uplifting, true and commendable in humanity, can justify be attributed to his efforts to make life a success and the world better for his having lived in it. A life of true moral courage a career that was honorable and just in sight of God and man; a public record of which no man need feel ashamed; a conscientious discharge of his early duties as a citizen, son, husband and father; a fearless defense of right against the wrong with charity for all and malice toward none--all combine to make a legacy which will be cherished by his loved ones far more than silver or gold. Such are the lives that are ever ready to yield and say with Paul that the battle is fought, and the victory is won.

Mr. Rea was a true and devoted member of the Baptist church. He was one of their chief supporters, always being present when his health would permit. One week ago last Sunday morning, after spending a miserable night, he insisted upon going to church. He perhaps realized more fully than we can know that soon his feeble limbs would refuse to carry him there longer, and as his feet were touching the waters of the river of death 'twas sweet to him to hear the songs of Zion sung and hear the old story of the Cross and mingle his voice in prayer with the faithful whose hearts and sympathies he knew to be with him till the angels carried him over the dark river into the "everlasting arms of Jesus."

What more can we say? We would gladly add a thought of consolation, but we know that words are empty things, and the hearts already bereaved and broken and sad will find comfort at the throne of grace to which the dear one just gone has taught them to go in times of sorrow and where he himself daily knelt for blessings form the great storehouse of mercy from the Divine Father. Let him rest in peace. His life was full of love and gentleness, and the memory of his pleasant companionship will be a sweet censor upon the altar of the sacrifice they feel in the separation from him.

Deceased was born in Chester county, Pa., March 1, 1846. He moved to Mt. Carroll in '54, and for nine years was a student of the Seminary there. He graduated at the Chicago University in June, 1867. He studied law with C. B. Smith of Mt. Carroll, Ill., and was admitted to the bar in that state. He came to Grundy Center in 1870, and has followed his profession in an upright and worthy manner all these years and was an honor to his profession.

In his death the community loses one of its purest minded citizens; one who was always a promoter of every enterprise which tended to the upbuilding of the community and the morals of the people. He leaves an aged father, a loving wife and two promising sons to mourn his death.

The funeral services were conducted at the family residence at 3:30 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, Rev. Allen officiating. He was assisted by Rev. Mitchell of Cresco, Iowa, who several years ago was pastor of the Baptist church here. The words spoken by these gentlemen were comforting to those left behind and they pointed them to the Lamb of God for help in their hour of need. A male quartet furnished consoling songs and all that sympathizing friends could do to mitigate the sorrows of the bereaved ones was done. The floral decorations were fine and numerous. A large concourse of friends followed the remains to the cemetery led by the Masonic fraternity of which he was a worthy and enthusiastic member. The Masons conducted the services at the grave. Prof. W. D. Wells, W. M. of the order, did beautiful work in the memorial service which added much to the impressiveness of the occasion. The grave was lined with white and green and a large cluster of yellow roses was left upon the casket, making the interior of the grave look restful and beautiful. The family feel truly grateful to their many friends for the able assistance and deep sympathy in this hour of trouble and bereavement.

As a public benefactor Mr. Rea was unselfish and judicious to the highest degree. He was active in the work of his own church and was always ready to respond to legitimate calls from other congregations. He was an active member of the school board, serving as president of the same for some years. He represented Blackhawk and Grundy counties in the state senate one-half of the term to which he had been elected in 1893. He was the senior member of the law firms of Rea & Moffett, Rea & Smyth, Rea & Hayes, and Rea & Wood, in succession. Thus, not only the community will suffer a deep felt loss, but the state will share in the affliction.

Hon. Daniel Kerr pays the following beautiful tribute to the deceased which is concurred in by our whole people.

Mr. Rea came to this county twenty-five years ago this summer and at once began the practice of law in connection with his brother-in-law, F. G. Moffett, and they also became editors and proprietors of the Grundy County Atlas, which is now the Grundy Republican, which they continued to publish until 1876. During a considerable portion of this time Mr. Rea was county superintendent of schools. After this he confined himself to the practice of his profession. In every relation and position in which he was place he acquitted himself honorably and well. As a lawyer he was careful and courteous, never encouraging litigation in a doubtful case. As a public man and politician he was faithful to his friends and just to his opponents. Showing the continuous good estimation in which he was held by his neighbors we note the fact that from 1879 until he was at last nominated and elected to the senate he on every occasion was presented as the choice of the Grundy county republicans. As a public speaker Mr. Rea always exhibited his fine scholarship and was never commonplace, and while he never wholly overcome his diffidence as a speaker his thoughts were always of a high order. Socially Mr. Rea was an exceptionally agreeable and interesting man to those who knew him well. Few were better informed in public affairs and his knowledge of public men was remarkable. His conversation was elevating and never of a low order. For a quarter of a century he has lived among us he has been a modest, unassuming and yet a very influential citizen, and the community and the town especially will miss him greatly.

--The Grundy County Republican (Grundy Center, Iowa), 29 August 1895


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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