Mennonite Weekly Review - December, 2003
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Diener, Truman Leroy
Truman Leroy Diener, 82, of Hillsboro, Kan., died Oct. 26, 2003, at Hillsboro Community Medical Center. He was born May 15, 1921, to Harry and Amanda (Seltzer) Diener in Yoder.
He accepted Christ as his Savior when he was 12 and was baptized by his father at Yoder Mennonite Church. At age 14 he was teaching children in the church.
He graduated from Hesston Academy in 1940 and from Kansas State University with a degree in agriculture education.
In 1943 he was drafted and served as a conscientious objector in Civilian Public Service in Terry, Mont., doing waterway construction; in Denison, Iowa, performing farm labor; and in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., working in a mental hospital. There he met his future wife, Venora Wiebe, who was a volunteer.
After CPS he served as a Mennonite Central Committee relief worker in Ethiopia from 1946 to 1948. While there he completed the conversion of a cotton mill into Haile Mariam Mammo Hospital.
Upon his return from Ethiopia, he and Venora Wiebe were married Sept. 10, 1948.
His first public school teaching experience was in Miltonvale. In 1955 they moved to Hillsboro, where he taught vocational agriculture for 34 years and was adviser for the Hillsboro FFA chapter. In 1967 he completed his master's degree at Kansas State University. He retired from teaching in 1989.
At Trinity Mennonite Church, he served as a Sunday school teacher and a deacon. He enjoyed caring for horses and horseback riding with his children. He liked Elderhostel programs and Great Plains Seminary classes.
Survivors include two sons, Tim and his wife, Donna, of Hillsboro, and Glen and his wife, Sharon, of Newton; a daughter, Ann Kopper and her husband, Bryce, of Garden City; four brothers, Edward of Archbold, Ohio, Clayton and Paul, both of Hesston, and Herman of South Hutchinson; and six grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Venora; a daughter, Nannette; and three brothers, Harold Glen, Willard and Daniel.
Mennonite Weekly Review -
December 8, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 49 - p. 8
Nikkel, Abraham J.
Abraham J. Nikkel, 66, of Versailles, Mo., died Oct. 26, 2003, due to a massive brain hemorrhage suffered Oct. 7. He was born June 7, 1937, to Jacob P. and Eva Unrau Nikkel at Bethesda Hospital in Goessel, Kan.
He attended grade school at Maple Hill, southwest of Lehigh. He graduated from Goessel High School in 1955 and attended Bethel College in North Newton before serving an 18-month term in 1-W alternative service at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Colo.
He married Kathryn Marie Hilty of Versailles on Oct. 1, 1960, at Bethel Mennonite Church in Fortuna, Mo.
He was a member of Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church of rural Goessel prior to becoming a member at Bethel Mennonite Church. He was active in various aspects of the church and community for the past 30 years. He worked as a builder, farmer, dairyman and truck driver throughout his professional life.
Survivors include his wife, Kathryn; a daughter, Julie Goering and her husband, Russell, of Hutchinson, Kan.; a son, James P. Nikkel of Newton; five sisters, Josephine Voth of Newton, Doris Schmidt of Hutchinson, Arzella Dirksen of Denver, Orletta Goering of Gresham, Ore., and Joyce Christopher of Olathe, Kan.; and two granddaughters.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Alice Rebecca.
Funeral services were held at Bethel Mennonite Church of Fortuna. Burial was in the church cemetery.
Thiesen, Anna Kroeker
Anna Thiesen, 84, of Hesston, Kan., died Nov. 6, 2003, at Schowalter Villa. She was born Aug. 2, 1919, to John Jacob Kroeker and Katherine (Janzen) Kroeker in Spat, Crimea, Russia.
Due to the Russian Revolution, the family fled when she was 3 months old, settling in Germany for six years. They moved to Chicago in 1926, then to Newton, Kan., in 1936. She graduated from Newton High School in 1938 and became a U.S. citizen in 1940. On May 23, 1946, she married Walter Thiesen.
She was a bookkeeper and insurance clerk, working for several insurance companies in Newton and Wichita and 25 years for an Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership. In the 1950s she was involved in an organization for women in business, Credit Women's Breakfast Club, and was state president in 1955-56. She was a notary public for many years. In the mid-1970s, she returned to insurance-related work for Doctors Park medical office. She retired in 1983.
All through her working years and into retirement, she did independent work in bookkeeping for small businesses and in tax preparation. In retirement she was treasurer of the Bethel College Women's Association, working on fund-raising projects for the college.
She joined First Mennonite Church of Newton on May 16, 1937. She taught Sunday school for about 50 years and loved music, singing in the church choir and community choral groups for many years.
She enjoyed attending classical music concerts. Her interests included quilts, collecting teacups and reading. A memorable vacation was to Europe in 1978, meeting uncles, aunts and cousins, some of whom she hadn't seen for 50 years.
Survivors include her husband, Walter; a son, John and his wife, Barbara, of Newton; a brother, Jake Kroeker of Wichita; and a grandson, Andrew Thiesen.
Services were held at First Mennonite Church. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery.
Lydia Rebecca Burkhart, 78, of Alanson, Mich., died June 13, 2003, at Bortz Health Care of Petoskey. She was born Jan. 3, 1925, to Eli and Elizabeth (Brubacher) Burkhart in Brutus.
She attended Woodland School of Brutus, Eastern Mennonite College of Harrisonburg, Va., and Riverside School of Nursing in Newport News, Va.
She taught school for about three years in Calico Rock, Ark., Russian Mission, Alaska, and Harbor Springs, Mich. She then went into nursing, working for a short time at Little Traverse Hospital in Petoskey and then for 21 years with Mennonite Board of Missions in Ghana in Africa as a registered nurse.
She was a lifetime member of Maple River Mennonite Church of Brutus.
Survivors include two sisters, Ann Batchellor of Alanson and Mattie Sauder of Petoskey; and two sisters-in-law, Mary and Ruth Burkhart of Brutus.
She was preceded in death by two brothers, Menno and Jonas Burkhart; and two brothers-in-law, Jacob Sauder and Edmond Batchellor.
Memorial services were held at Maple River Mennonite Church.
Banman, Frieda Schmidt
Frieda Schmidt Banman, 98, of North Newton, Kan., died Nov. 24, 2003. She was born Dec. 29, 1904, to John J. and Elizabeth Rempel Schmidt near Goessel.
She was baptized at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church.
She married Arthur Banman on Aug. 26, 1926, at Alexanderwohl. They moved to a small farm, where their early years of marriage were difficult during the Depression.
Beginning in 1936, for 15 years she and her husband were custodians
at Alexanderwohl. In 1952, they moved to North Newton and began
employment at Mennonite Press. They joined Bethel College Mennonite
She was a faithful member and active in the women's circle. For many years she was chair of the funeral committee. She enjoyed volunteer work, and with her husband served at the Mennonite Central Committee relief sale and the Et Cetera thrift store in Newton.
In 1962, they served a two-year term with MCC in Congo, managing a guest house, working with building projects and relief concerns. In spite of a serious bout with hepatitis that almost took her life, and the tribal war around them, this was a wonderful time in her life. She was a creative homemaker, cook, rug maker and quilter. She enjoyed having guests in their home. They loved to travel, visiting Europe, Mexico, Canada and Paraguay.
Survivors include three daughters, Lela Trewett of Shawnee, Marjorie
Neufeld of Goshen, Ind., and Joan Wiebe of North Newton; three
sisters, Wilma Unruh of Goessel, Elisabeth Stretch of Del Ray
Beach, Fla., and Irene Janzen of Salida, Colo.; two brothers,
Herman Schmidt of Reno, Nev., and Gerald Schmidt of Hilton Head,
S.C.; 12 grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren and two
She was preceded in death by her husband, Art; a daughter, Elaine
Ruth; and five brothers, Herbert, Orlando, John, Alfred and Raymond.
Memorial services were held at Bethel College Mennonite Church. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery.
Mennonite Weekly Review - December
15, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 50 - p. 12
Howard Wenger, 85, of Adair, Okla., died Nov. 24, 2003. He was born Aug. 19, 1918, to John E. and Lucy (Kauffman) Wenger at Goshen, Ind.
He lived in the Clinton community and attended Millersburg High School in Goshen. During World War II he served in Civilian Public Service for two years at Greystone (N.J.) Mental Institution and two years at North Fork Camp in California.
He was a farmer and dairyman. He was a faithful member of Zion Mennonite Church of Pryor. While he lived in Indiana, he served as superintendent of the Sunday school in the Mennonite Church. He was church chorister in Indiana, a position he also held at Zion.
He married Miriam Naomi Yoder on Jan. 1, 1947, in Elkhart, Ind. He spent most of his life farming, a work he enjoyed very much.
Survivors include his wife, Miriam; three sons, Rex and his wife, Ruth, of Harrisonburg, Va., Ron and his wife, Rebecca, of Adair, and Roy of Grove; two daughters, Rhea Miller and her husband, Dean, of Middlebury, Ind., and Rose Troyer and her husband, Mark, of Lititz, Pa.; a sister, Dorothy Miller of Goshen; 12 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Stanley Wenger.
Funeral services were held at Zion Mennonite Church of Pryor. Burial was in the church cemetery.
Jennings, Alice Groff
Alice Louise Groff Jennings, 99, of Glendale, Ariz., died Nov. 8, 2003, at Glencroft Care Center. She was born Sept. 20, 1904, to Jonas and Hattie Ebersole Groff in Sterling, Ill.
Her early education was at East Science Ridge School in Sterling. On Aug. 9, 1923, she married Ervin B. Jennings. They traveled to California on their honeymoon and stayed.
She was a homemaker. She and Ervin lived in Upland, Sacramento and then 40 years in Fresno. In addition to being a mother, she traveled with her salesman husband and was responsible for much of the bookkeeping.
In 1984, after the death of her husband, she moved to Hubbard, Ore., to be near a daughter. The last 15 years she was a resident of Glencroft Retirement Center, Glendale, Ariz.
She loved music, especially church vocal music. She was a social person. Friends and friendships were important to her. She kept a table full of photographs and albums full of pictures of her family and past events to share with anyone who stopped by her apartment.
She was a lifelong member of the Mennonite Church. Her religious roots gave meaning and stability to her life.
Survivors include two daughters, Lois Yearout of Fresno, Calif., and Ellen Davidhizar of Sun City; a son, Ernest Jennings of Cottonwood, Idaho; a brother, Robert Groff of Colorado Springs, Colo.; nine grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ervin; an infant son, Carl Ervin; a brother, Lawrence; and sisters Myrtle and Ella.
Services took place at Glencroft Community Church Chapel. Burial was in Fresno (Calif.) Memorial Gardens.
Yoder, Paul Emanuel
Paul Emanuel (E.M.) Yoder, 87, of Wellman, Iowa, died Nov. 20, 2003, in Parkview Manor following a lengthy illness. He was born March 16, 1916, in Vestaburg, Mich., to John and Nancy (Hershey) Yoder.
He was baptized in his youth at Mount Pisgah Mennonite Church, Cherry Box, Mo. He graduated from high school in Leonard, Mo., and attended Hesston (Kan.) College.
He married Helen Slaubaugh on June 6, 1946, at West Union Mennonite Church, rural Parnell, Iowa.
He farmed in the Wellman and North English area from 1945 to 1979. He was an ordained minister and served as pastor of Parnell Mennonite Church, 1954-79.
After retiring in 1979, he and Helen served in Mennonite Voluntary Service in Brownsville and San Antonio, Texas, 1980-84, and in Quito, Ecuador, 1987-88, before returning to Wellman.
He volunteered at the Crowded Closet in Iowa City and worked many hours at Crooked Creek Christian Camp south of Washington. He was a member of Wellman Mennonite Church.
Survivors include his wife, Helen, of Wellman; two daughters, Kathleen Erteld and her husband, Roger, of Moundridge, Kan., and Christine Falcon and her husband, Rafael, of Goshen, Ind.; two sons, Phil of Kalona and Orie J. and his wife, Linda, of Williamsburg; two brothers, Jesse L. Yoder of Sarasota, Fla., and Vernon T. Yoder of Memphis, Mo., seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Mary Hathaway and Barbara Nice; and two brothers, Daniel M. Yoder and Jonas S. Yoder.
Services were held at Wellman Mennonite Church. Burial was in West Union Cemetery.
Harder, Anna M.
Anna M. Harder, 85, of Mountain Lake, Minn., died Dec. 4, 2003, at Good Samaritan Village. She was born May 17, 1918, to Peter B. and Marie (Derksen) Harder at the family farm home near Bingham Lake.
She received her education at a country school near her home. On May 16, 1937, she was baptized upon confession of her faith at First Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake, where she remained an active member.
She married Harry T. Harder on Oct. 8, 1940, at First Mennonite Church. They made their home and farmed together in the Mountain Lake area.
In 1956, she went to Paraguay with Harry while he was serving there with Mennonite Central Committee, and they were there until 1963. They also served in Brazil from 1965 to 1967.
She enjoyed gardening, reading, traveling, cooking and entertaining. She was active in her church and as a volunteer at Good Samaritan Village and Care & Share Ten Thousand Villages in Mountain Lake.
Survivors include a daughter, Margaret Janzen and her husband, Jack, of Minneapolis; a son, Martin Harder and his wife, Mary, of Minneapolis; four grandchildren and a great-grandson.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harry; a daughter, Elaine Marie Harder; and four brothers, Peter M. Harder, Sam M. Harder, Henry M. Harder and infant brother Peter.
Services were held at First Mennonite Church of Mountain Lake. Burial was in Mountain Lake Cemetery.
Mennonite Weekly Review - December
22, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 51 - p. 8
Howard Landis, 82, of Sterling, Ill., died Nov. 10, 2003, at Sterling Pavilion Nursing Home. He was born Jan. 11, 1921, to William and Bertha (Kaiser) Landis near Sterling.
He was a graduate of Sterling Township High School in 1938 and also attended Brown's Business College. He served in Civilian Public Service camps in Denison, Iowa, and Barto, Fla., and with Mennonite Central Committee in Akron, Pa. He also worked in Puerto Rico in health projects.
He married Erma Keim on Nov. 25, 1950, in Sugarcreek, Ohio. They farmed north of Sterling for 35 years.
He was a member of Science Ridge Mennonite Church in Sterling. He served on the church board, as church treasurer for 21 years, as Sunday school superintendent and as a church council member. He and Erma served in several volunteer projects, including with MCC in Pennsylvania and California. He enjoyed reading.
Survivors include his wife, Erma; two sons, Mark and his wife, Corina, of Dixon, and Keith and his wife, Lois, of Sterling; two daughters, Beth of Woodland, Texas, and Lois Oyer and her husband, Clifford, of Goshen, Ind.; a brother, Gerald of Goshen; nine grandchildren; two step-granddaughters; a great-granddaughter; a step-great-grandson and a step-great-granddaughter.
Memorial services were held at Science Ridge Mennonite Church. Burial was in the church cemetery.
Jantzen, Henry E.
Henry E. Jantzen, 78, of Beatrice, Neb., died Nov. 29, 2003, at a hospital in Lincoln. He was born May 4, 1925, to Henry B. and Margaret (Ensz) Jantzen in Beatrice.
He grew up in the Plymouth area. He was baptized May 24, 1942, and became a member of First Mennonite Church, where he remained a member for the rest of his life.
During World War II he was a conscientious objector and received a farm deferment. In 1945, the U.S. government and United Nations needed farmers to take care of horses and donkeys being shipped to Europe. He cared for a load of horses sent to Poland and a load of donkeys to Greece. In 1949, he entered Mennonite Central Committee service, working at Akron, Pa., and Shillman, N.J. He went to Europe in May 1949 and served until September 1951. Returning to Beatrice, he took over the family farm.
He met Gretl Ott while she was an MCC trainee at Mennonite Deaconess Hospital in 1953. They were married Dec. 15, 1955, in Germany.
They hosted 17 MCC and three FFA trainees. He served as church chairman, Sunday school superintendent and Sunday school teacher. He was involved in starting Mennonite Disaster Service in Nebraska and served as the first chairman. In the county he was on the elevator board, school board and active in Farmers' Union. He worked with the Jefferson County crop program for many years. He donated more than 13 gallons of blood to the Red Cross and was a member of Nebraskans for Peace. He retired in 1993.
Survivors include his wife, Gretl; four sons, Vern and his wife, Dolores, and Glen and his wife, Linda, all of Plymouth, Mark and his wife, Alice, of Newton, Kan., and Eric and his wife, Joelle, of Overland Park, Kan.; a daughter, Sarah Peters and her husband, Tim, of Silverton, Ore.; a sister, Emma Jantzen of Beatrice; 10 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
He was preceded in death by a brother, John Jantzen; two sisters, Sarah Jantzen and Margaret Grund-man; and a grandson, Luke Peters.
Memorial services were held at First Mennonite Church of Beatrice.
Kurtz, Chester I.
Chester I. Kurtz, 69, of Lancaster, Pa., died Nov. 11, 2003, at Essa Flory Hospice Center after a long illness. He was born to Christian J. and Elsie Stoltzfus Kurtz in Elverson.
He studied at Eastern Mennonite University and at seminary.
He was pastor of Landisville Mennonite Church from 1974 to 1988. For the last 15 years he was an interim pastor in eight Pennsylvania Mennonite congregations, most recently at Ephrata Mennonite Church.
He also taught industrial arts and science, worked part time as a carpenter and was a teacher with Eastern Mennonite Missions in Somalia for 11 years prior to becoming a minister.
Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Catherine E. Good Kurtz; two daughters, Marianne Yoder and her husband, Randy, of East Petersburg, and Jewel Wood and her husband, Jay, of West Orange, N.J.; two sons, Eric and his wife, Kim, of Goshen, Ind., and Eugene and his wife, Fumie Sakai, of Tokyo, Japan; four brothers, Elam of Jefferson, N.C., John of Snow Hill, Md., Paul of Elizabethtown and Calvin of Elverson; two sisters, Lena Carpenter of Metter, Ga., and Caroline Plank of Breman, Ohio; and nine grandchildren.
Mennonite Weekly Review - December
29, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 52 - p. 8
Klassen, Lloyd Neal
Lloyd Neal Klassen, 63, of LaVerne, Calif., died Nov. 26, 2003, at Ember Health Care Center of Pomona due to an ataxia called Machado-Joseph Disease. He was born June 27, 1940, to George and Leah (Leppke) Klassen in Patterson.
He graduated from Immanuel High School of Reedley in 1959 and attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan. He graduated from Fresno State College in 1962 and received his master's degree from Cal State at Los Angeles in 1970.
He was a business teacher at Berean Academy, Elbing, Kan., from 1962 to 1965 before becoming a high school teacher in Baldwin Park, Calif., and Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier.
He was active for many years at Grace Church of Glendora, serving in leadership roles there.
Survivors include his wife, Kathy; three children, Manley of Ventura, Douglas of Atlanta, Ga., and Janelle of San Diego; three brothers, Robert of Arlington, Va., Victor of San Jose and Roy of Fresno; and six grandchildren.
Memorial services were held at Grace Church of Glendora.