DR. ALBERT SHUMATE
Dr. Charles Albert "Al" Shumate, Dean of San Francisco historians went to "The Golden Hills" on Wednesday, September 30, 1998 at the age of 94. after an extended illness. A rosary will be recited at Halsted N. Gray-Carew & English funeral home at 1123 Sutter St. on Monday, October 5 at 6 p.m. The funeral service will be held at St. Dominic's Church at 2390 Bush St. on Tuesday at 11 a.m. He is survived by nephews Dr. Thomas Mclaughlin and Andrew McLaughlin of San Francisco and a niece, Diantha Lebenzon of Los Angles and seven great nieces and nephews. Condolences may be sent to his nephew, Dr. Thomas O. Mclaughlin, 2648 Pierce Street, San Francisco, CA 94123-4631.
Charles Albert began life on August 11, 1904, in San Francisco, one of three children born to Thomas E. Shumate and his wife Freda Ortman. His father had come to California as a boy, putting himself through high school, then UC's Pharmacy School and finally Cooper Medical School while running his pharmacy, graduating with an M.D. in 1894. He expanded his pharmacies to 32 stores by 1933. Al's Mother, Freda, was a native of San Francisco, descended from a German immigrant father and an Irish mother. In 1854, her father was listed in the San Francisco Directory as a grocery clerk and in 1856 as owning a grocery store. By the 1876 Directory , he was listed as a "capitalist."
In 1870, he built a beautiful Victorian style residence on Scott Street where Al's mother was born. Al was born in this fascinating home and lived there all of his life. He referred to it as his "Mother's house." After completing Grant elementary school, Al attended Lowell High School, graduating in 1923 with Edmund "Pat" Brown and Norton Simon, among others. He graduated with distinction from the University of San Francisco in 1927 with a pre-med course and enrolled in Creighton University Medical School in Omaha, Nebraska where he received his M.D. in 1931. His internship was under Stanford University Medical School at San Francisco County Hospital. Later, post-graduate work at the Skin and Cancer Institute at Columbia University in New York prepared him to become a Fellow in the American Academy of Dermatology in 1938.
Al began his medical practice in 1933 as an Associate of Harry E. Alderson, M.D. who was Professor of Dermatology at Stanford University Medical School from 1912 to 1944. From 1942-46, he served in the U.S. Public Health Service, part of the Armed Forces, with the rank of major. In 1952, Al continued his private practice at his Post Street address until he retired in 1975. Concurrently, he also was a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Stanford University Medical School until 1961. In 1953-54, he was honored with the Presidency of the San Francisco Dermatological Society.
While medicine was his profession, Al's passion was history. He steeped himself in the history of San Francisco and California and became a self taught authority. he was noted for his outstanding collection of books on the exploration and early history of California. He has been a trustee of the California Historical Society and its President, 1962-64. He has been given the designation of President Emeritus. He has also been elected as a Fellow in 1968 for being a published scholar. Al was a founder and served as the 12th President of the Conference of California Historical Societies in 1967 and a founder of the San Francisco Westerners Corral, serving as its fourth Sheriff in 1971. He filled the post of Grand Historian for the Native Sons of the Golden West in 1965-69. He served on the Board of Directors for the California Pioneer Society 1979-90 and on the Board of Governors since 1990. He served the California Pioneer Society as a director and governor. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors of the Fort Point and Presidio Museum Association since 1971 and a trustee of the San Francisco Hook & Ladder Society since 1978. Finally, he is a long time member of the Sons of the American Revolution and President of the San Francisco Chapter in 1978 as well as President of the California Genealogical Association. Al's preservation interests are shown as a member of the California Heritage Preservation Committee, 1963-67; member of the San Francisco Landmark Preservation Board, 1967-76 and President in 1967; President of the California Heritage Council in 1979 and of San Francisco Beautiful, 1987-88. He was instrumental in preserving the Jackson Square area.
His interest in books is reflected in his election to membership in the Roxburghe Club in 1947, and as Master of the Press, 1958-59. as well as honorary membership in the Zamorano Club since 1958. In 1949, he became chair of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. 1966-67, Chair of the Friends of the Bancroft Library, 1969, President of the Book Club of California and the friends of the Gleeson Library. He was a Regent for the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, 1965-78 and a Trustee, 1977-93. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Patrick's College and Seminary in Menlo Park, 1970-86.
Other more fun groups are E Clampus Vitus where Al was Sublime Noble Grand Humbug 1963-64. He was a founder and Sheriff of the San Francisco Westerners in 1971. From 1970-87, he was a director of the Western Trail Ride (The Tevis Cup) which sponsors a hundred mile horseback ride from Tahoe to Auburn. He also served as Vice President of the San Francisco Art Commission, 1964-67. Life memberships in the Bohemian and Olympic Clubs are also on his list. In 1965, Spain invested him as a Knight Commander of the Order of Isabella Catolica. In 1972, he was installed as a Knight of St. Gregory; Knight Commander, Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and Knight of Malta. In 1991, he received the Asumpta Award from St. Mary's Cathedral. He received the Cable Car Award from the San Francisco Convention and Visitor's Bureau in 1973 for co-chairing the Cable Car Centennial Committee. In 1979, he received the California Historical Society's Historic Preservation Award. In 1989, The Conference of California Historical Societies presented him with their R. Coke Wood Award. He is also an honorary member of the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County and the Ina Coolbrith Circle. The University of San Francisco, where he served as president of the Alumni Association in 1956 awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 1976. In 1977, Creighton University Medical School gave him the Alumni of the Year Award. The USF Alumni Association Board of Governors presented him with its Professional Achievement Award in 1994 for his many contributions to the University. Westerners International gave him the Philip Danielson Award for the best paper presented to a Westerner's Corral meeting in 1991. The Book Club of California presented him with the Oscar Lewis Award for his contributions to Western history. The San Francisco Historical Society selected him to be the first to receive the Father Francisco Palou Award for significantly contributing to researching, interpreting, disseminating and promoting San Francisco History.
To meet Al, you would never think that this modest gentleman has been so very involved and honored. He is quiet, modest, private and reserved but also warm, outgoing, thoughtful and caring. He does indeed know his California history like no other and we are proud to claim him as one of the San Francisco Westerners. 11 BOOKS The Life of George Henry Goddard, 1969 The California of George Gordon, 1976 Francisco Pacheco of Pacheco Pass, 1977 Mariano Malaran, A Life That Spanned Two Cultures, 1980 Boyhood Days, Ygnacio Villegas' Reminiscences of California in the 1850's, 1983 The Notorious I.C. Woods of the Adams Express, 1986 James V. Curtis, Vigilante, 1988 (SF Westerners still has copies if you are interested) Rincon Hill and South Park, 1988 Captain A.A. Ritchie, California Pioneer, 1991 The Stormy Life of Major Wm. Gouverneur Morris in California and Alaska, 1993 A San Francisco Scandal: The California of Charles Gordon, Forty-niner, Pioneer, and Builder of South Park in San Francisco, 1994 PLUS -29 Articles and Pamphlets--21 Keepsakes--10 E Clampus Vitus Keepsakes--10 Annual Keepsakes for the Book Club of California,--A chapter on E Clampus Vitus in the recently published Brand Book 1 of the San Francisco Corral of Westerners, Book Reviews & Introductions & Obituaries Sent to Stockton for CCHS & Ok City for Westerners Intl. & will be in our newsletter.
Last Modified: January 01, 2015