Funeral services were held Tuesday for Mary Alice “Tuke” Shoemaker at the Central Texas Stave Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.
Roughly 80 family members, friends and students from Shoemaker High School attended the service despite the cold weather. The Shoemaker High choir provided a final performance for the wife of the man their school was named after — the late retired Gen. Robert M. “Bob” Shoemaker.
The Shoemakers were big supporters of education in the area, setting up a scholarship for students to attend Central Texas College or Texas A&M University-Central Texas after graduation. Many Shoemaker High alumni were also in attendance.
A noted equestrian who loved teaching youth to ride horses, Tuke’s horse, Casey, was also in attendance for the service. Casey was Tuke’s final horse and is stabled at Fort Hood.
Tuke died at the age of 95 on Dec. 27. She was laid to rest at the cemetery with her husband of nearly 70 years, who preceded her in death in June 2017.
Pastor Jimmy Towers of LifeWay Fellowship in Killeen officiated the service.
“She was taught by her parents things like love, passion and care,” Towers said of Tuke. “In Proverbs, it says ‘train up the child in the way they should go, and their whole life they will not depart from it.’ The rightful interpretation (of the scripture) is ... Train the child according to their natural bent. There’s no question about what Tuke’s natural bent was — horses, and the love of horses.”
Tuke’s love of horses began when her father was stationed in Germany after World War II, when a German equestrian named Count Von Rithkirche began teaching her how to ride. According to Towers, that love of horses is what most people will always remember Tuke by.