John G. Shedd, born July 20, 1850; died Oct. 22, 1926.

John Graves Shedd was the second president and chairman of Marshall Field and Company.

Shedd arrived in Chicago from New Hampshire in 1871 and began working for Field and Lieter as a stockroom clerk. He quickly became a salesman, then a department head, merchandise manager, partner in 1893 and vice-president in 1901. Upon Marshall Field's death in 1906, Shedd took over the presidency of the company.

Shedd was a millionaire and philanthropist. He donated generously to various worthy causes. Shedd is best known for creating the aquarium that still bears his name. Construction of the Shedd Aquarium began in Grant Park in 1927, after a $3 million gift from Shedd.

The John G. Shedd Memorial Chapel is in the front and center of Rosehill Mausoleum, behind a short corridor that leads to the main entrance. Appropriately for a man who established an aquarium, the designs in this chapel are inspired by marine life, such as these bronze chairs.

The Shedd Chapel consists of a large room ringed with marble benches topped with leather cushions. Near the back wall is a podium, behind which is a set of doors flanked by two urn-topped pedestals. Behind these doors is the burial chamber of Shedd and family, featuring a stained-glass window by Tiffany.

Over the center of this room is a skylight, with an intricate pattern of classical motifs and vine leaves. One panel has been rotated ninety degrees, in keeping with the Middle-Eastern tradition of deliberately introducing a flaw into one's work as an acknowledgement that only God can create perfection. Surely, this timeless chamber of polished marble, bronze and glass is as close to perfection as we can achieve.

END: UP - Copyright 1996-2010 Matt Hucke