My grandfather, Charles Gilbert Shaddle, was born in Half Day, Illinois on October 10, 1883, the eighth (and youngest) child of Charles Wesley and Mary Crowell (Studley) Shaddle. Grandma called him "Gilbert," but everyone around Forrest just referred to him as "Doc." Grandpa was a dentist--he graduated from Northwestern University School of Dentistry in June of 1908 and began practicing Hurley, South Dakota. Within 6 months he had heard of an opportunity in Forrest, and was in practice there with an MD named Dr. Otis P. Hamilton (I still have some of Doc Hamilton's medical books in my library).
On September 2, 1916 he married Diantha Jane (Jenny) Lambert, daughter of Myron and Della (Acker) Lambert in Genoa City, Wisconsin. Jenny was born May 18, 1886 and had 1 sister (Alice) and a brother (Perle).
They had 3 children:
Grandma and Grandpa lived just across the street from us in Forrest, so I have a lot of memories of them. Their house was a beautiful two-story structure with lots of built in cabinets and furniture in the mission style--massive, well-built dark oak. My sister Kathy has told the current owners (we knew them in high school) that if they ever have any interest in selling their house, she wants it! There was a full basement where Grandpa had his wood shop with a turning lathe, jigsaw and belt sander. He used to store walnuts down there, and use his old dental tools to pick the walnuts out of the shell. The whole basement smelled of walnuts and fresh sawdust--wonderful smells for a young kid! My Dad had made a number of very intricate and detailed wooden models as a youngster, and Grandpa still had them in his basement. There was a flying boat, a motorboat and a Roman galley in a glass case. I remember being very impressed with Dad's workmanship, and wishing I could build something as nice as that. I have no doubt that my love of woodworking was largely shaped by my memories of working in that little shop with Grandpa, and then later when Dad and I worked on a carved chess set...well actually Dad worked on it and I watched! (Although I did build the chessboard and drawer set that still houses the chess set Dad carved on Grandpa's lathe). The white pieces are made of maple, and the black from walnut. That chess set and board is probably my single most prized possession.
They also had a laundry chute that went from the upstairs into the basement; although I never slid down it (never quite got up the courage), I think my cousin Steve did on more than one occasion. We would sometimes stay at their house for the night, and I can still conjure up the feeling, the sounds and even the smells of that house.
Grandma and Grandpa Shaddle were pillars of the community of Forrest (small though it is!) Grandpa was in the Lions Club, Grandma taught Sunday School in the Methodist church. Grandpa practiced dentistry from 1909 right up until he died (although semi-retired, he would still go into the office to get his mail, do some X-rays for Dad, and generally putter around in his office). Grandma never missed church on Sunday, and was a pretty staunch Methodist all her life. Never drank alcohol or smoked; in fact, she cancelled her subscription to Better Homes and Gardens when one of the recipes called for wine! (I guess Dad came by his adherence to his faith from his mother!) Both Grandpa and Grandma were highly respected and well-liked in Forrest. I remember a party the town threw Grandpa in honor of 50 years of service to the community in 1959. Read a writeup about that in the local paper.
Grandpa was a lover of animals, particularly birds and squirrels. He always had a bird/squirrel feeder out in the back yard, and another by the window that would feed whole populations during the sometimes harsh Illinois winters. As a bird lover, he was also not especially fond of cats (because they would hunt his beloved birds) and I remember more than one occasion when he would chase a cat away with a stick or broom who had been eyeing the birds around his bird feeder. He had a collection of animal skulls he stored in a large cabinet there at the office, and I remember being fascinated by them. He had one skull of a bear, a tooth of a prehistoric mastadon, and many others. A newspaper article written when I was a kid had a photo of me holding his bear's skull, with a long writeup about his rather unusual hobby. I don't recall exactly what became of that collection, but it seems to me that a distant relative got it. I'd like to follow up on that someday.
I always had the view of Grandma Shaddle as being a little stern and intimidating, but in recent conversations with my sister Kathleen, I found she doesn't share that impression at all. Mom and Grandma didn't see eye-to-eye about a lot of things; I think Grandma had hoped Dad would marry a local girl and settle into the same life she and Grandpa had. Instead he comes home from the War and marries a foreigner he had met during the war a couple of years later. Mom and Dad lived with Grandma and Grandpa for a couple of years after they got married, and I have no doubt that put a significant strain on everyone. In any case, I always felt that Grandma disapproved of us somehow; I would guess looking back today that wasn't the case at all in relation to us three kids, but we were just picking up on the friction that existed between Mom and Grandma. I know she didn't approve of our being Witnesses, but again, looking back I see things a little differently than I did then. Grandma came to live with us for the last two or three years of her life as she was becoming increasingly frail, and I know that was difficult for her. I believe she and Mom had a better relationship in those few years than during most of the rest of their life.
Grandpa died on February 17, 1973 in Forrest, Illinois and was buried in the Forrest cemetery. Grandma died in 1979 and is buried beside her husband in the Forrest cemetery, Forrest, Illinois. Read C.G. Shaddle's obituary
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