Mrs. S. M. Dingee, whose death occurred May twenty-third while on her way home from a winter in Florida, came to Wilmette first in the year 1858. After a brief residence elsewhere, she and her family returned to Wilmette, living for a time where the Kindergarten College now stands on Sheridan Road. In August, 1870, they moved into the home at 926 Lake avenue which has been her residence from that day until the date of her death.
Mrs. Dingee was a contemporary of many events which most of us regard as long past history. She was a young lady of eighteen when the Civil War began, and a woman of nearly thirty at the time of the Chicago fire. During her lifetime she saw the coming of most of the inventions and discoveries that make our complex civilization what it is today. She witnessed the transformation of Wilmette from a small settlement of scattered villagers to its present magnificent development. Under her eyes it evolved from pioneer conditions to what it is today.
But Mrs. Dingee did more than merely witness the growth of this community. She aided that development in many helpful ways. First of all, she built the kind of a home without which no worthwhile community can exist. There were four sons and two daughters in that home. She mothered them and also made her home a center of hospitality and neighborly kindness. Even the students from the University at Evanston found this a welcome place in which to visit and sometimes stay. At one time she cared for two children of a student while he and his wife completed their preparation for missionary service. At another time, she took into her home some of the survivors of the Lady Elgin and nursed them during their convalescence. Her heart was big and generous, and her strength was abundant. No needy friend or neighbor, even a worthy stranger, appealed to her help in vain.
Interests outside the home found a ready helper in Mrs. Dingee. She was a charter member of the Methodist Episcopal Church organized in 1874, and of the Woman's Club which started in 1891. Through the long years she worked in the Evanston Hospital Auxiliary and with the Red Cross. During the Civil War, as well as the World War, she worked energetically to make dressings and other things needed by the soldiers in the field. In these and other activities the strength of her service reached far beyond the bounds of her own household.
Naturall yone thinks first of the length of Mrs. Dingee's life, for she was eighty-six years old on May 12, 1929. That is a long time to live. Yet, that is not the best that can be said about her life. Hers was a life of more than one dimension. As it had length, so it had depth, breadth, and height. There was in it love and loyalty as well as longevity. The long years simply serve to disclose its inner strength and beauty in larger measure. Written by Horace G. Smith.