City to monitor RACVB more closely

City to monitor RACVB more closely


Dr. John A. Schumaker was an illustrious member of the local educational community. Born in Marshall, Ill., the son of John and Martha Kaufman Schumaker, he lived on a farm with his family. He attended the local high school and always maintained an interest in it, going back for many reunions. He attended the University of Illinois, where he earned B.S. and M.A. degrees in mathematics.

He moved to Rockford in 1961 and was hired by Dr. John Howard, then president of Rockford College. He stayed on the faculty until 1992, and at various times served as chair of the Mathematics Department, the Division of Science and Mathematics and as secretary to the faculty. Schumaker was active in Phi Beta Kappa, serving as executive secretary of the local Eta chapter for 36 years. He was active in the local American Association of University Professors and in the professional mathematical associations, both state and national.

At the time he began his career at Rockford College, his next-door neighbors were fellow faculty members Dr. Donald and Justine Walhout. Dr. Donald Walhout recalled, “I have worked with him on committees and on AAUP. He was always a very, very thoughtful person, wise in his judgments and made careful analyses of problems… He was a model of civility and good participation in activities in the faculty.”

Dr. Schumaker was one of the founders of the local ACLU chapter in the early 1970s. He was very active in his church, Our Master’s United Methodist, having served on various boards and committees. He was president of the United Methodist Men and served as lay delegate to the Northern Illinois Annual Conference for his congregation for more than 28 years. He chaired the committee on higher education and campus ministry for several years, served as representative for the church and was active in Rockford Urban Ministries since 1969. He was also active in the Rotary Club.

Stanley Campbell, executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries, stated, “John was very supportive of me when I was first hired in 1985… John took me under his wing and showed me the many and varied ropes of the United Methodist Church bureaucracy. He was able to open doors and get support quickly, sending me to jursdictional urban meetings as well as introducing me to the discipline. John was always supportive of our most radical proposals [including] the needle exchange outreach… he gave me the benefit of his counsel way back in 1973, when I was the editor of the Rock Valley College newspaper, The Valley Forge. We’d just been shut down by the administration, and he helped devise tactics that got us up and running again.”

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