Loving Luta

Luta Lee Helton Shrum
We interrupt this blog about the stories of my life, to bring you snippets of the stories of those who came before me. These are memories shared with me from family members. Its important to me that these are documented.

My great-grandfather Mark, was not only to be one of the most respected doctors in Bloomington, Indiana and then Lynn, Massachusetts, but he was also known to absolutely adore his wife, Luta. My grandmother, mother and aunt, have always told this story about how Mark fell in love with Luta.


Mark decided he wanted to be a doctor and won a county scholarship away from his best friend, Fred, to be able to attend Indiana University.

Dr, Mark Shrum

The summer before college, Mark and  Fred were sitting on a fence outside a dance hall and a very pretty, stylish girl danced by and Mark said, “There is the girl I would like to marry.” Soon after he arrived in Bloomington, he was in a store when the same girl went by and he was determined to meet her. That girl was Luta Lee Helton. She lived with her Aunt and was one of the most popular girls around college. He joined Delta Tau fraternity and soon he was taking Luta to the college affairs.

For some reason, he left to go to Montana, but before he left he told his roommate, Charles Hortloff, “Take care of Luta while I’m away.” Charles did such a good job of that, it was not too long after that Luta and Charles were engaged. Charles was a wealthy boy, studying to be a doctor too.

Dr and Mrs. Mark Shrum 1942

Finally, Mark received a letter from Luta telling him of all the news around town and at the end a P.S. “by the way, Charlie and I have broken up.”

It was miles to the nearest RR station and it was snowing but Mark put barrell stoves on his feet and started walking to the train. When he arrived in Bloomington, Luta was at a dance with another boy. He went to the dance, got a dance with her and asked her to marry him that night. He said he would go to her aunts and make arrangements. When Luta returned from the dance, he had a minister there waiting.


Mark and Luta Shrum about 1904

They left for Louisville, Kentucky on the night they were married, where Mark graduated from medical school. He went on to become an Osteopathic doctor

The minister said the marriage would never last, doing it in such a rush.

He started his practice in Ellestville, Indiana. Daughter Merah was born in 1895. My grandmother, Jeanette was born 2 years later in 1897.

Mark had offers to teach in Waco, Texas or Boston. He tossed a coin and it came out for Boston.

Once he set up a permanent practice as an osteopathic physician in Lynn, Massachusetts, it was in a wing of their house, so that he could be near Luta all the time.

They were married for 52 years until Mark’s death in 1945.

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