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Lazarus Project

An expanded obituary project of MennObits.  Includes additional information of obituaries appearing in
The Mennonite and other newspapers.   Source of individual obituaries given with each record.  Project managed by Thelma Martin.

2021  L

Laidig, Juanita M. "Nita" ; . . Landis, Esther W. Alderfer ; . . Landis, Rachael Ann Hess ; . . Lehman, Ora J. ; . . Leinbach, Esther Mae Weaver ; . . Leinbach, Shirley A. Smeltzer ; . . Liechty, Miriam Jeanelle Kuhns Zehr ; . .


Laidig, Juanita M. "Nita"
October 30, 1940 - January 29, 2021

Juanita M. Laidig, 80, of Goshen passed away peacefully at Goshen Hospital on Friday, January 29, 2021 after a fall, surgery, and then contracting COVID-19.

Born October 30, 1940 in Plymouth, she was the eldest child of the late Silas and Pauline (Binkele) Laidig. Following graduation from Madison Township High School in 1958, Nita proceeded to obtain a diploma in nursing from Parkview Methodist School of Nursing, Fort Wayne in 1961, plus three degrees from Indiana University (BS in General Nursing 1965; MSN 1977 and Ed.D. 1995).

Nita began her nursing career at Parkview Memorial and Elkhart General Hospitals from 1961-62. She entered her teaching career at Marion County General Hospital School of Nursing where she taught Fundamentals of Nursing and Medical-Surgical Nursing from 1965-68. In 1968 Nita joined the I.U. School of Nursing faculty and served in teaching, mentoring, curricular and mid-level administrative roles for 30 plus years. In December 2002 she retired as Associate Professor Emerita. During her educational journey and professional career, she was involved in the local levels of Sigma Theta Tau and National League for Nursing and at the local and state levels of the American Nurses Association. In her retirement she enjoyed mentoring nursing graduates in preparation for their nursing licensure examinations and assisting with the activities of the Madison Twp. Alumni Association and History Center.

Nita will be remembered for her care-giving of her dear friend, Billie F. Bond and Nita’s mother during her last three years of life; her support of her friends and neighbors; and her passion for traveling. Nita worshipped at Eighth Street Mennonite Church until limited by her mobility issues.

Survivors include four siblings, Karen (Darrel) Sommers of Goshen, Sharon (Walter) Rager of Toledo, Roger (Susan) Laidig of Mishawaka and Linda Smith of Fort Wayne; sister-in-law, Barbara Laidig of Bremen; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews; a great-great niece and many extended Binkele and Laidig family members, with whom she enjoyed many memorable get-togethers.

Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by two brothers James and Eldon and a brother-in-law, Robert Smith.

A private funeral service will be conducted 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 6, at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home. Pastor Velma Swartz will officiate. COVID-19 protocols will be followed.

Private burial will be in Bremen Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be given to Center for Healing and Hope, 902 S. Main St., Goshen, IN 46526; Youth for Christ, Northern Indiana, 6427 Oakbrook Pkwy, Fort Wayne, IN 46825 or to your favorite charity.

Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen, IN
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin


Landis, Esther W. Alderfer
May 25, 1932 - January 1, 2021

Esther W. Landis, 88, of Goshen, passed away Friday, January 1, 2021 at Greencroft Healthcare following a short illness.

She was born to Howard Kratz Alderfer and Florence Wombold Alderfer on May 25, 1932 in Franconia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Souderton High School.

She married Melvin A. Landis of Harleysville on September 2, 1950 at Souderton Mennonite Church and raised her family in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

She is survived by her children; Stephen (Emily) Landis of Goshen; Michael (Jan) Landis of Goshen; Florence (Larry) Shetler of Lakeside, Montana; John (Sally) Landis of Pipersville, Pennsylvania and Jayne (Chuck) Eppley of Harleysville, Pennsylvania; 16 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren, and sister Gladys Neter of Tucson, Arizona.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Melvin, parents; Howard, Florence and step mother Elsie; brothers; Earnest, Laverne, and Earl, and sister Kathryn Benner.

Esther found great joy in her family and God’s creation and it’s care and passed that love on to her family.

Services will be held at a later date in Pennsylvania.

Yoder-Culp Funeral Home is providing local services.

Memorials may be given to Merry Lea, or mailed to Merry Lea Goshen College 1700 S. Main Street, Goshen, IN 46526.

Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen, IN
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin


Landis, Rachael Ann Hess
October 7, 1925 - February 10, 2021

Rachael Ann Landis, 95, of Landis Homes, Lititz and formerly of Hunsicker Road, Lancaster passed away on Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Born in Upper Leacock Township, she was the daughter of David Leaman and Amelia Buckwalter Hess. Rachael was the loving wife of Mervin L. Landis and they celebrated 72 years of marriage this past November. A double wedding was held at their home with her twin sister, Martha Jane and Roy L. Bomberger.

Rachael graduated from the former East Donegal High School (Maytown) in 1943. She was a resident of Landis Valley, PA since 1948 except for 5 ½ years where she resided in Willow Street, PA. A homemaker, Rachael helped operate the family farm with her husband and family for 30 years. She was an active member of Landis Valley Christian Fellowship and spent many hours of volunteering, especially at Landis Homes Adult Day Care. Rachael was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and could name all her family members by name. Her greatest joy was spending time with her family.

Surviving in addition to her husband are children: Elmer G. husband of Linda Rohrer Landis of Leola, Mary M. wife of Glen Martin of Reinholds, Edward D. husband of Carol Rutt Landis of Kentucky, Frederick R. husband of Velma Redcay Landis of Kansas, Mervin L. husband of June Burkholder Landis of Ephrata, Sarah "Sally" wife of J. Myron Stoltzfus of Paradise, William A. husband of Valerie Ortman Landis of Caribbean/Lancaster and Roger husband of Beverly Hess Landis of Lancaster; son-in-law, Dennis Kilheffer of Alabama; 40 grandchildren, 77 great-grandchildren, a twin sister, Martha Jane Bomberger of Lititz and three brothers: Joseph husband of Lois Hess and Andrew husband of Dorothy Hess both of Mount Joy and Owen R. husband of E. Joy Hess of Indiana. She was preceded in death by a daughter, Anne L. Kilheffer, a grandson, Christopher Andrew "Drew" Landis and four siblings: David L. Hess, Dr. Robert B. Hess, Jean Yunginger and Benjamin Hess.

A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Private interment for the family in Landis Valley Mennonite Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, those desiring may send contributions in Rachael's memory to Landis Valley Christian Fellowship, 2420 Kissel Hill Road, Lancaster, PA 17601. To send the family on-line condolences, please visit:

Intelligencer Journal - 2/16/2021
Lancaster, PA
Submitted by: Robert Fish


Lehman, Ora J.
November 13, 1941 - January 10, 2021

Ora J. Lehman, 79, of Middlebury, formerly of Topeka passed away peacefully, while surrounded by his family, at 4:27 pm on Sunday, January 10, at Elkhart General Hospital, after a brief illness. He was born on November 13, 1941 in LaGrange County to John J. and Edna (Eash) Lehman. On August 19, 1962 in Townline Mennonite Church he married Elizabeth Frey, she survives.

Survivors in addition to his wife are two daughters, Lorraine (Norman) Lambright of Sarasota, FL, Rose (Clint) Schwartz of Elkhart; three sons, Leonard (Jenny) Lehman of Topeka, Allan Lehman of Syracuse, Larion (fiancée Lisa) Lehman of Elkhart; 12 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; two sisters, Marilyn Bontrager of Middlebury, Ellen Lehman of Middlebury; six brothers, Merlin (Grace) Lehman of Syracuse, Leland Lehman of Elkhart, Olin (Katie) Lehman of Middlebury, Perry Lehman of Middlebury, Jerry Lehman of Middlebury, Harley (Debbie) Lehman of Cedar Springs, MI.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a stillborn daughter; three sisters, Wilma Schrock, LaVerna Lehman and Loranna Lehman.

Ora was a very active member of Townline Mennonite Church and was the owner/operator of Lehman Company, doing heating/cooling and electrical work. He enjoyed golfing and working in his yard, which he took great pride in. Because of his passion for getting the gospel out, he volunteered with Gideons International, serving in different officer positions.

Visitation will be from 2:00 - 4:00 and 6:00 - 8:00 pm on Thursday, January 14, at Townline Mennonite Church, 2165 S. 1000 W. Shipshewana. The family will be holding private funeral services. Services will be conducted by Pastors Mel Eash and Dean Yoder. Burial will be in Townline Cemetery, Shipshewana. Memorials may be given to Gideons International or World Missionary Press.

Miller-Stewart Funeral Home, Middlebury, IN
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin


Leinbach, Esther Mae Weaver
May 25, 1941 - January 31, 2021

Esther Mae Leinbach, 79, of 959 Reading Road, East Earl, died at her home on January 31, 2021 after a lengthy illness.

Born in Ephrata, she was a daughter of the late Samuel O. and Mary (Zimmerman) Weaver. She was married 58 years on November 13 to Levi M. Leinbach.

Esther was a homemaker and a member of Bowmansville Mennonite Church, Groffdale Conference.

Surviving in addition to her husband are 12 children, Alma (Raymond) Burkholder of Withee, WI, Lawrence (Erma Ringler) Leinbach of East Earl, Verna Leinbach at home, Norma (Warren) Martin of Leola, John Leinbach at home, Samuel (Katie Zimmerman) Leinbach of Thorp, WI, Elisabeth (Edward) Zimmerman of Owen, WI, Katie (John I.) Zimmerman of East Earl, Levi, Jr. (Norma Martin) Leinbach of East Earl, Esther Mae (Marlin) Zimmerman of East Earl, Laura (Lavern) Zimmerman of Hopkinsville, KY, and Marvin (Laurann Newswanger) Leinbach of East Earl; 83 grandchildren; 64 great grandchildren; five brothers, Ivan Weaver of New Holland, John Weaver of East Earl, Christian Weaver of Leola, Samuel Weaver of Ephrata, and Aaron Weaver of Penn Yan, NY; and two sisters, Anna Mary Fox of Reinholds, and Margaret Fox of Ephrata.

Preceding her in death are two sons, Wayne and Christian Leinbach; a granddaughter; and two sisters, Sarah Martin and Susie Zimmerman.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 9:30am at the Bowmansville Mennonite Church with the Bishop Elam Zimmerman officiating. Interment will be in the adjoining cemetery. Viewing will be held on Wednesday, from 2-4 and 6-8 pm at the late home. Kindly omit flowers. Arrangements by Eckenroth Home for Funerals, Terre Hill.

Intelligencer Journal - 2/1/2021
Lancaster, PA
Submitted by: Robert Fish


Leinbach, Shirley A. Smeltzer
March 11, 1935 - January 12, 2021

Shirley A. Leinbach, 85, Goshen, passed away Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at The Maples at Waterford Crossing.

She was born March 11, 1935 in Wakarusa to Arthur and Goldia (Blocher) Smeltzer.

On September 20, 1953 she married Gene Leinbach in Wakarusa.

He survives along with three children, Connie (Phil) Bauman of Goshen, Melody (Roland) Purdy of Columbia City and Randy Leinbach of Goshen; five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a grandson, Jeff Bauman; a great-grandson, Elijah Weathers; a brother, Robert Smeltzer and a sister, Marcile Mabry.

Mrs. Leinbach was a member of Waterford Mennonite Church. She loved her grandchildren greatly and enjoyed camping and feeding and watching birds.

Private services will be held Friday, January 15, 2021, at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home with burial at Olive West Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Waterford Mennonite Church Mission Fund.

Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen, IN
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin


Liechty, Miriam Jeanelle Kuhns Zehr
February 14, 1928 - January 3, 2021

Miriam Jeanelle (Kuhns Zehr) Liechty, age 92, passed away on January 3, 2021 at Swiss Village in Berne.

Miriam was born Feb 14, 1928 in La Junta, CO to Anna (Shupe) and Allen Kuhns. She was the youngest of nine siblings. Her childhood was spent in multiple locations throughout Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. She attended high school at the Hesston Academy, and graduated in 1950 from the La Junta Mennonite School of Nursing. After graduation, she was employed at the Mennonite Deaconess Hospital in Beatrice, NE. While there she met and married Edmund Zehr, who was serving as hospital administrator. She and Edmund had 3 young children and a fourth child on the way when Edmund died suddenly in 1957. After his death, Miriam relocated to Goshen Indiana, and during the next 2 years she took advanced training at Wesley Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University in Chicago, to become an anesthesia practitioner. She completed training in 1959, becoming one of the nation’s first Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.

After graduation, Miriam accepted a Nurse Anesthetist position at the Caylor-Nickel Clinic in Bluffton IN. She chose to settle her young family in Berne and attend First Mennonite Church in Berne. There she met Robert (Bob) Liechty, whom she married in February 1961 after a short courtship. Bob lovingly adopted the four Zehr children, then ages 3 through 8, and he and Miriam were subsequently blessed with two additional children.

In addition to the Bluffton Clinic, Miriam worked as a Nurse Anesthetist at Jay County Hospital and at Swiss Village as a nurse. She also received training and certification in tax preparation and helped many people through her small business, Liechty Tax Service.

Miriam had a curious intellect and an active mind. She was a constant learner and loved a challenge. Her family marveled at her resolve to fix an appliance, mend an item of clothing, or repair any broken item. She was a creative “engineer” at heart, often inventing ways to improve the function of things or to create new gadgets. She was also a talented seamstress and spent countless hours knitting, crocheting and needle-working. Her children and grandchildren treasure the many beautiful handmade gifts she made for them.

Miriam and Bob were married nearly 60 years. During retirement they enjoyed traveling internationally and throughout the US in their motor home. They spent many winters in Florida and Texas where they made many friends volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

Most of all, Miriam was a committed and devoted follower of Jesus. She had a beautiful alto voice and filled the home with her hymns and songs. She loved fiercely and prayed fervently for her family, for those less fortunate, and for those facing challenges. Perhaps because of the hardships she had faced in her own life, Miriam had a heart for those who were struggling and would go out of her way to share her love and acceptance. Her faith was strong and steady, and she did not shy away from examining and stretching her understanding. In times of doubt, Miriam always chose love as her guiding principle.

Miriam is survived by her loving husband Robert (Bob); her 6 children and their spouses, Edward (Mary Purves) and C. Daniel (Naomi Wilansky) Liechty, Mary (Peter) Graber, Martha (Paul) Conrad, Margaret (Phillip) Sprunger, and Janet (Philip Martens) Liechty; 13 grandchildren, Gretchen, Karl, Adele (Ed), Hannah (Dan), Emily, Nathan, Naomi (Mary), Jesse, Caitlin (Martha), Conrad, Carsten (Margaret), Raina, and Rex (Janet); and 10 great-grandchildren.

Miriam was preceded in death by her first husband Edmund Zehr, her parents Anna and Allen Kuhns, 5 sisters, and 3 brothers.

Due to COVID-19 public health and safety concerns, services and burial will take place privately with the immediate family. A link to view the memorial service will be available after the service at the First Mennonite Church website

Preferred memorials are to Camp Friedenswald, Mennonite Disaster Service, or Swiss Village Samaritan Fund.

Awick & Jahn Funeral Home, Berne, IN
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin

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