With the death of John Fife, passed away one of the prominent pioneers of Tama county and removes from our midst a man who will be missed from South Tama as would have been but few of our citizens. His death, which occurred last Saturday morning after a brief illness with heart trouble, caused genuine sorrow to enter the hearts of a large circle of friends and acquaintances, as he was a man universally admired and respected by all. We have had the peasure of knowing Mr. Fife, more or less intimately, for the past seventeen years and have as yet to hear of a dishonorable, unkind or ungenerous action to come from him. He was a steadfast friend and a rugged upholder of the right and guided his life's work with a view to doing full justice to all men and all measures. Socially he was a most companionable and genial gentlemen, being pleasant in demeanor and action and his "good morning", accompanied by a pleasant smile, was a good starter for the days work before you. In all matters of business his rule was one of the strictest integrity and his word was kept faithfully upon all occasions. As a friend he was never found wanting; if he was your friend he was a friend in need and at all times, never wavering from the straight line of hearty support.
John Fife was born in Harford county, Maryland, February 3d, 1829. At the age of three years his parents moved to Carroll county, Ohio, and there he resided until he was twenty-one years of age and then took up his residence in Van Wert county, Ohio, and in the year 1856 he came to Tama county, Iowa, which has since been his home. When he first landed in Tama county, he settled a few miles west of Toledo and engaged in farming, later he took up his residence in Columbia township and engaged in the saw mill business and later in farming in Tama township, just across the river, and continued his residence on the "home farm" until the year 1883, when he moved to this place, and he retained his residence here until death called him to the "great unknown." When he came to this place he engaged in the live stock business and followed it until a few days prior to death and was one of the best known dealers in that line along the Northwestern railway. His reputation among the farmers was one of the very best for square dealing, top prices and honest weights. This in itself is a record that any man could be proud to leave behind.
He was married to Ann Jane Toland in the year 1858, in this county. To them were born four children, one dying in infancy, the other three surviving and were at his bedside during his last illness and gave him the most tender and faithful care - Mrs. Frank Russel, Mrs. Joseph Crenshaw, Mr. Wm. Fife. Mirs. Fife, the wife, also survives to mourn the loss of a kind and considerate husband. He has three brothers living who are deeply sorrowed because of his demise - Albert, of this place; James and Joseph, of Van Wert, Ohio. And other relatives. To all of whom we tender our most earnest sympathy and assure them that we weep with them, as one who weeps for the departure of a tried, true and kind friend; a friend who we had learned to love and admire for his many good qualities of heart and mind and for his true principles of friendship.
He was a member of the Presbyterian church for many years and was a faithful attendant. He held numberous positions of trust and a responsibility and had been requested upon many occasions to accept various nominations at the hands of the republican party, of which party he was a staunch and outspoken admirer and supporter, but steadily refused to accept until two years ago when he was prevailed upon to accept the nomination for county supervisor of this district, which he reluctantly agreed to do, and was elected and was serving upon his third year. In fact his last public business was during the recent session of the board, as he was taken ill while on duty at Toledo. The county never had a more careful and consciencious official than was Supervisor John Fife and that was the general comment.
The funeral services were held at the Presbyterian church, this place, Monday, at two o'clock, p.m., conducted by Rev. Smith assisted by Rev. Weaver, and the church was crowded with sympathizing friends and relatives who came to pay their last respects to the memory of a kind friend and respected neighbor. The remains were taken to Toledo and interred in Woodlawn cemetery in the family burial lot, beside the remains of his son. Members of the Masonic Lodge from Tama and Toledo attended the funeral services in a body.
The floral designs from the Masonic Lodge and private friends were profuse and beautiful.
Personally the editor will miss Mr. Fife. He was our friend and we appreciated his friendship and kindly advice.
Submitted by: Jeanne Toland Lane (Retiredgrama@aol.com)