A Glowing Eulogy for a Good Friend

Recently I decided to look for my 2nd great-uncle, Andrew Stark (1829-1883), who emigrated from Ireland to Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century.

A screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page showing a search for Andrew Stark
Source: GenealogyBank

I know from my FamilySearch notes that Andrew died 2 September 1883, so when I found this September 7th obituary in the Stamford Advocate, I knew I was on the right track.

An obituary for Andrew Stark, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 7 September 1883
Source: GenealogyBank, Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 7 September 1883, page 2

The obituary reads:

“There is something after all, in character. Something, that in the long run, proves itself the most potent element of personal distinction. It levels, not down, but up. More than wealth, or genius, or exceptional skill, or knowledge, or high birth, it compels respect and recognition, and chiefly from those whose good opinion and regard are worth the most, because they themselves have character.

“Andrew Stark was not noted for great wealth or great learning, or professional knowledge or political success. His distinction was merely that of a faithful servant and an honest Christian man, yet few of the so-called great ones of the earth have won more sincere respect or have been laid in the grave with more genuine sorrow.”

Wow – what a beautiful tribute.

The writer of this obituary thought highly of Andrew.

Further down in the article, we learn a bit more about what happened to Andrew, who died at age 54.

An obituary for Andrew Stark, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 7 September 1883
Source: GenealogyBank, Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 7 September 1883, page 2

The article continues:

“He had complained from time to time for some years of a pain across his chest which occasionally became severe. Some time ago Mr. Hoyt brought him to Dr. Parker in New Canaan who thought there was no serious organic trouble. On last Sunday, however, Andrew, after he had brought up the horse and carriage for Dr. and Mrs. Lathrop and was returning to the barn, was suddenly seized with a severe pain in the region of the heart. As he sank to the ground he cried out, ‘Tie the horses,’ as if even in that terrible moment his always characteristic sense of duty had not deserted him.”

It sounds like he had ongoing heart disease, perhaps unstable angina – and died of a heart attack.

I knew very little about my great-uncle, and without GenealogyBank, I never would have found what happened when he died and this testimonial of his life and character.

Andrew must have been an exceptionally good and honest man.

Genealogy Tip: Obituaries are the best source to learn more about who your ancestors were. Find each one and document their lives.

2 thoughts on “A Glowing Eulogy for a Good Friend

  1. I can think of no higher praise than to have somebody write like this about you. He obviously was a good man and his friend cared very deeply for him.

    1. I was really glad to find this obituary. Before this ‘Andrew Stark’ was simply one more name on my family tree – not much more than his life dates and family details.

      With this commentary – I was able to learn more of the circumstances of his death – and to see the high regard others had for him – that he was thought of as a ‘good guy’, hard working right to the end.

      Thank you for writing Linda.

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