Arbutus “Fern” Shenshew

By on June 11, 2009

Arbutus “Fern” Shenshew, 88, of Aurora, went to rest with her Lord on Thursday, June 4, 2009. She had struggled with muscular dystrophy for a long time, and it took a great toll on her last years.

She was born on the Old Crow Homestead in Alford, Ind., on Oct. 13, 1920, the daughter of Lisle and Dora (Fair) Crow.

She grew up in Alford, attending eight years of schooling before moving to Petersburg, Ind., where she graduated from high school in 1938. From a very small child, she found her way to Alford Methodist Church every Sunday morning, and later in life, no matter where she made her home, found a place to worship.

In 1943, she met James Shenshew at Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Ind. He served his country in the U.S. Army, and following his discharge, they were united in marriage on Aug. 30, 1946, in Chandler, Ind. They spent 58 happy years together until his passing in December of 2004.

Following their marriage, they lived in Chandler, Ind., and welcomed the birth of their son Larry. The family moved to St. Charles in 1951 and was blessed with their daughter Susan in 1953. Their family now complete, Arbutus became a very busy homemaker, caring for her family and maintaining their Christian home.

She was a willing worker all her life, beginning by being her mother’s special helper as a child. As she grew so did her responsibilities. Arbutus worked several area jobs, including the Old Country Store in Alford, Ind., where she sliced lunch meat and cheese, packed sugar and beans, and pumped kerosene and gasoline. She also taught Sunday school for several years. Nobody could match her in the kitchen, as good food was always ready and the cookie jar was always filled for her children. Every summer, Arbutus harvested Jim’s bountiful garden, canning and freezing until the pantry was full.

Arbutus carried a special faith in her Lord and most recently was a member of the New England Congregational Church of Aurora. In earlier years, she attended Kane United Methodist Church.

Arbutus especially enjoyed God’s word and her many Christian books. Although mostly homebound in later years, she brought many joys to her family and friends with her cards, letters and phone calls. The Lord truly blessed her with a very special, giving heart. She was always thinking of doing for others, never thinking of herself and lived out each day in faith and devotion to God, giving love and kindness to everyone around her. She will be greatly missed by her family and those who knew her.

She now leaves her son, Larry (Mary Lou) Shenshew of Henderson, Nev.; her daughter, Susan (Michael) Herren of Aurora; three grandchildren, Kelly (Richard) Alcantara of Townsend, Mass., Larry Jr. (Dantia) Shirley of Shirley, Mass., and Shelby Herren of Aurora; two great-grandchildren, Melissa Shenshew and Christean Alcantara; two sisters, Edith Fuller of Newburgh, Ind., Margaret Hoskins of Evansville, Ind.; one brother, Lisle (Mary Kay) Crow of Boonville, Ind.; one sister-in-law, Bonnie Crow of Washington, Ind.; 27 nieces and nephews, whom she loved dearly; and numerous cousins and a host of friends.

She now joins her parents and husband, three brothers, Bernard, Clyde and Lynden Crow; three nieces; three sisters-in-law; three brothers-in-law; and many cousins.

The family wishes to thank Barb Welch of VNA for her special loving care, many other hospice volunteers and especially the weekly visits from Rev. Matt Merges, VNA chaplain.

Visitation was held June 7 at Conley Funeral Home in Elburn. A funeral service celebrating her life was held Monday. Rev. Matt Merges, VNA Hospice chaplain, officiated, and interment followed at Kaneville Cemetery.

A memorial has been established in her name to benefit VNA Hospice as well as programs at New England Congregational Church in Aurora. Checks may be made to the “Arbutus Shenshew Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through