Archive for August, 2012

Amy Kummerow (1919 – 2012)

The Kummerow family invites you to a Memorial Reception to honor Amy’s life. It will be held Thursday August 16, 2012 at 1 p.m. at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 309 W. Green Street, Urbana IL. Renner-Wikoff Chapel & Crematory is assisting the family

Amy Louise Hildebrand Kummerow was born January 5, 1919, the daughter of Sena C. Loesch and Henry H. Hildebrand, the fifth of eight children. She died July 3, 2012 and is survived by her husband of 70 years, Professor Fred A. Kummerow and her children Max in Christchurch, New Zealand; Jean in St. Paul, MN; and Kay (Ron Mengarelli) in Gilberts, IL. Her three grandchildren are Elizabeth Loban in Sydney, Australia; Robert Loban in Hong Kong; and Patrick Watson (Michael Parrish) in Urbana. Her great-grandson is Asher Watson. Her surviving sisters are Ruth Schmidt (Hutchinson, KS) and Wilma Christine Michener (Ann Arbor, MI). She has numerous nieces and nephews.

She was born on a farm in Greensburg, Kansas and grew up near the southwestern Kansas town of Fowler during the Dust Bowl and Depression days. As a child she disliked her curly red hair and her freckles, especially when she wanted to wear red, but instead was clothed in brown and green. She longed to wear pants instead of skirts and when her aunt gave her a pair of rompers, she wore them out. Her sisters remembered how much she loved to read and that she was often up in a tree with a book whenever she finished her chores on the farm. At the June 2012 Hildebrand cousin reunion Max, Jean and Kay saw, for the first time, their great grandparent’s 1894 farm house near Raymond, Kansas. It was in the Loesch family’s front parlor that their mother Amy hid as a child reading books. Her mother Sena would find her there and send her outside to play with her cousins.

Amy was educated at Ft. Hays Kansas State University where she obtained a BS in English and Speech in 1940, and was a champion debater. She attended the University of Wisconsin where she obtained a Master’s degree in Sociology in 1944. She taught two years at Plains High School in Kansas. She married Fred A. Kummerow on June 24, 1942. They lived in Clemson South Carolina, Manhattan Kansas, and since 1950 in Urbana, Illinois where her husband was Professor of Food Science and is currently an adjunct Professor in the Department of Comparative Biosciences. Amy taught sociology at Parkland College for several years. She was an active volunteer in community organizations, such as the League of Women Voters, the Urbana Human Relations Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Association of University Women and in her church, the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign.

She enjoyed writing and often wrote travelogues of her many trips. One story, published in the local newspaper, was of being in the March 4, 1977 Romanian earthquake. She was the compiler of family history to share at family reunions. Traveling was always enjoyable to her, and her passport doesn’t expire until 2016. She loved attending Krannert Theater events with long time friends, Bernadine & Bob Stake and Jenny & Dick Harvey.

Amy had a strong interest in government and politics and was active in the local Democratic party serving continuously as a precinct committeeman from 1970-2009. When walking with her in the neighborhood, she could easily name which houses held “good Democrats”. She also very much valued listening to other points of view (even from Republicans) to come up with the best solutions. She was elected to the Champaign County Board of Supervisors in 1972, as one of the first three women ever elected to that Board (along with now Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing and the late Jeanne Marie Wyld) with the newspaper headline of the election, “Three Faculty Wives Elected”. She served on the County Board until 1992, and was glad headline writers began to acknowledge women candidates for their own contributions, not those of their husbands. She ran unsuccessfully for the US House of Representatives and the Illinois State Senate in the 1970s.

Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, and a stroke slowed her last years. In true Amy fashion, she wanted her body donated to science so others can continue to learn from her.

Amy had many causes including peace & justice, equity, human rights and population issues. To honor her memory, in lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Urbana Free Library (210 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801), Planned Parenthood of Illinois (Champaign Health Center, 302 E. Stoughton, Champaign, IL 61820) and the Parkland College Foundation’s Amy L. Kummerow scholarship (Parkland College Fd. Attn: Susan Goldenstein, 2400 W. Bradley, Champaign, IL 61821). The local group of the American Association of University Women established a scholarship at Parkland College in Amy’s name. She was very pleased to be able to help other women further their education as did her Aunt Elizabeth for her. This was the same Aunt that recognized a little red-headed farm girl just really needed those rompers to fully experience life.