A tribute to a Mount Pulaski icon:
Florence Bacon Schott Stoll
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[December 14, 2012]
MOUNT PULASKI -- Florence Bacon
Schott Stoll, 97, recently passed on to her heavenly reward to which
she always aspired but still had "just another thing to do or see."
She was so many things, wore so many hats, "led so many lives," as
one granddaughter happily related to me. She was the daughter of a
doctor and the wife of an imaginative university college graduate in
electrical engineering, yet "she knew who she was and was her own
person" -- a remark by someone who knew her the shortest amount of
time among those in a packed Mount Pulaski Zion Lutheran Church
reception room of visitation greeters who had known Florence for so
many, many years.
Florence, a graduate of Springfield's Memorial Hospital School of
Nursing, once worked in the Illinois Department of Mental Health.
Later, no doubt realizing she could do as good a job or better in
contributing to the betterment of the mental health of so many more,
she gleefully stepped in as the director of the Mount Pulaski
Kitchen Band -- using kitchen utensils and cooking wares,
highlighted by a renowned whistler, Mary Febus. The group performed
for scores of nursing facilities, county and state fairs, and a host
of other gatherings throughout Illinois for over 40 years --
performing several times for Chicago's WBBM radio station and then
WBBM-TV's nationally syndicated "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour," in
February of 1964.
She didn't make the national stage again --
unlike former Mount Pulaskians Vaugh De Leath, Lucille Ryman and
others before her -- and no doubt she didn't wish to leave her cozy
adopted town. For where else could she raise a family, love her
children and grandchildren, teach Sunday school, sing in the church
choir, play piano in the local nursing facility, tell stories, be a
Girl Scout leader, actively serve on annual fall festival
committees, do banquet emcee gigs, belong to ABWA, VFW Auxiliary,
Women's Club, and Red Hatters in addition to directing the kitchen
She was at one time a reporter for the Lincoln Courier, and for
many years until her passing this past Tuesday, she authored a
twice-a-month column, "Florence's Corner," in the local newspaper --
writing her last column just two weeks ago in the Mount Pulaski
Times of Dec. 6, 2012.
[to top of second column]
"Florence," we used to tease at her Vonderlieth Living Center
piano several years back, "you are older than most of the people
you're playing for here today."
In that last "Florence's Corner," she wrote: "Life is Sweet," and
"now that we have Thanksgiving in the past" and are amidst all the
sounds of the holidays, "let's not forget the true meaning of
Christmas -- the birth of JESUS." As always with a quip, she
concluded with reference to a helpful roadside good Samaritan
servicing their broken-down car, who answered when queried, "Are you
a mechanic?" "No, I'm a McTavish."
[By PHIL BERTONI]