Memories of Mae
Vol. V No. 3 - SPRING 1994
By: Sandee Remis
EHS mourns the passing of good friend and fellow member, Mae Scheeff, who succumbed to cancer on April 29, 1994. She would have been 76 years young this August. And, to her credit, "young" is the operative word, according to her friend of 25 years, EHSer Bill Steinfeld:
Mae was an amazing person - the most positive thinking person I’ve ever met. She never knew her mother, who died in childbirth, but that didn’t stop her from anything. During WWII she was a WAC in the Army - a nurse, I believe. We met through the American Youth Hostel. She was an avid long distance hiker and loved to hike and sometimes bike everywhere. Once she hiked 26 miles around Lake Geneva in one day!
To really appreciate the kind of person she was," Bill continued, "you must understand that 23 years ago Mae was diagnosed as having cancer. The doctors performed a mastectomy on one breast and told her she had less than six months to live. Somewhere along the line she lost a lung. But she made up her mind to live. She just wouldn’t accept what the doctors said. Never. Not then, not during remission, not when the cancer returned a few years back, not during chemo and radiation and not when she entered Weiss Hospital for the last time on April 3, 1994. She had gone cross country skiing this past inter.
Mae always kept busy and loved to ‘couples’ dance; she was a terrific dancer. She loved animals, especially her three cats, and was quite involved with animal rights activities. One of her three cats is a stray she took in just a few months ago after it had been hit by a car; Mae paid for the operation it needed. She loved visiting seniors and taught English and math to illiterates. She loved opera, ballet and ushered with me at the Chicago Theater. Oh, and she loved to eat!
Another EHSer, Mark Harding, met Mae when they were both involved in the Republican Party under Committeeman John McNeal:
I joined (Mae) for dinner one night at Wag’s in 1988-89. From that point on, we did many things and want many places together.
Mae wasn’t originally from Edgewater, but she lived at 6030 N. Sheridan Road some 20 years before moving a year and a half or so ago to 5100 N. Marine Drive. She lived with her three cats, Spunky, Tina and Lucky.
Mae and I drank a lot of coffee at Cafe Bryn Mawr, the "Little Snack Shop" on Thorndale and Broadway, as well as Standee’s on Granville. We traveled together to see the Dawes House in Evanston, the antique shows at McCormick Place and even to Des Plaines when I had jury duty - she wanted to go. We also went down to Kinsey Street to see the source of the Great Chicago Flood.
We both took great pleasure in visiting Everett Stetson, after he broke his leg a year ago March, and Frances Posner every other week. Mae seemed to enjoy being the EHS community visitor! I know Everett and Frances enjoyed the visits, for they said so. I did too, so I shall continue them, even though it won’t be quite the same without Mae.
"Mae was an amazing person," repeated Bill Steinfeld. "I think her motto was ‘there’s nothing like young old age!’ She didn’t talk much about her illness. She was too busy being alive and determined to live life to the fullest. Talk about the power of positive thinking. She should be a good example for all of us."
She surely is, Bill. At the June meeting, the EHS Board voted to purchase a gold brick at the North Lakeside Cultural Center in memory of Mae Scheeff, as a tribute to her indomitable spirit and community service.
Our sincere condolences to her surviving brother, Robert Scheeff.