Mennonite Weekly Review - September
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Bartel, Melvin L.;
Irene Dyck; Croyle, Denton E.;
Ediger, Sam; Friesen, John E.; Graber, Delpha Waltner; Heinrichs,
Harold C. "Harry";
Kenneth Varden; Liechty, Lynn Oswald; Miller, Freeman James; Schmucker, Leonard E.; Schrock, Elmer Leo; Stoltzfus,
Stephen S. Stucky, Roland D.; Swartzendruber,
Cliff Wenger; Zook, John Edwin. Dr.;
Mennonite Weekly Review - September 7, 2009 - 87th Year, No. 33 - p. 13
Miller, Freeman James
Freeman James Miller, 91, of
Hesston, Kan., died June 14, 2009. He was born July 16, 1917, to James
J. and Emma Brobst Miller at Crystal Springs.
He graduated from Harper High School. As a young man he received Christ
and joined Crystal Springs Mennonite Church. After retirement he joined
Garden Community Church near Hesston.
On Aug. 19, 1937, he married Odena Yoder in Hutchinson.
Together they owned and operated Miller Mercantile Co. at Crystal
Springs for more than 40 years. They added a locker and meat processing
service to the business in the 1950s. Freeman also farmed and raised
cattle and hogs.
In 1992, they retired to Schowalter Villa in Hesston, and Odena died
suddenly on March 12, 1993. He met Evelyn Zerger Stucky, and they were
married on Nov. 25, 1994.
He used his musical talents in the church as a song leader and in
various quartets. Then later he was part of Evelyn’s Rag Tag Band at
Memorial Home. He enjoyed playing softball in his younger years with
the local team. Later in life he enjoyed attending many ball games.
Fishing trips to Colorado with the family were made for many years, and
the last trip included four generations fishing together. Many hours
were also spent with his bird dogs hunting quail and pheasants.
Survivors include his wife, Evelyn; a daughter, Maris Schroeder and her
husband, Donald, of Moundridge; a son, Edwin and his wife, Carol, of
Kalona, Iowa; five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He is also
survived by Evelyn’s children, Lyle Stucky and his wife, Linda, of
Osler, Sask., Larry Stucky and his wife, Cindy, of McPherson, Lynn
Stucky and his wife, Lori, of Sanger, Texas, Denise Siemens and her
husband, Allen, of McPherson, Donna Sharp and her husband, Max, of
Little Rock, Ark, and Danielle Suderman and her husband, Dwight, of
McPherson; Evelyn’s 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his siblings, Mae Miller, Beulah Zimmerman,
Lela Naffziger, Ola Hooley, Norman Miller, Forrest Miller and an infant
Memorial services were held at Garden Community Church.
Swartzendruber, Cliff Wenger
Clifford Wenger Swartzendruber,
90, of Goshen, Ind., died Aug. 19, 2009, at Greencroft Healthcare
Center after being ill with squamous cell carinoma, a head and throat
cancer. He was born Dec. 6, 1918, to Ernest and Sarah (Wenger)
Swartzendruber in Versailles, Mo.
He married Eleanor Ulrich at her parents’ home in Pomeroy, Iowa, on
June 1, 1942. She preceded him in death in 2003.
He formerly worked at Beneke Motor Co. in Manson, Iowa. In 1963, he and
his wife, along with another partner, established S & D Chevrolet.
He also worked at Garber Birkley Implement in Pomeroy prior to his
He was a former member of Manson Mennonite Church, where he held
various leadership positions. He was also active in business service
In 1990, he and his wife moved to Goshen, where he was a member of
Waterford Mennonite Church and the National Wood Carvers Association.
At Greencroft he was well known for his talent as a woodworker and
woodcarver. His fancy folk-art cane with a wormy butternut fish-head
handle won second prize in the “Art is Ageless” contest.
Survivors include a daughter, Karen Kurtz and her husband, Mark, of
Goshen; a brother, Emery Swartzendruber of Rocky Ford, Colo.; a special
friend, Shirley Gingerich of Goshen; and 17 nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Eleanor; three sisters, LeAnna
Miller, Twila Wenger and Hazel Birkey; a brother, John Swartzendruber;
and a niece, Shirley Birkey.
Services were held at Evergreen Place on the Greencroft Campus. Burial
was in Violett Cemetery.
Sam Ediger, 90, of Hesston, Kan., died Aug. 22, 2009, at
Schowalter Villa. He was born June 24, 1919, to Henry H. and Marie
Schmidt Ediger in Buhler.
As a building contractor he was co-owner/operator of Ediger Brothers
Construction for 20 years, then he was the owner/operator of Sam Ediger
and Sons Construction. He belonged to Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church of
Inman and the Men’s Brotherhood.
On Sept. 12, 1943, he married Betty Jane Regehr at McPherson County.
She preceded him in death on July 9, 2001. On Feb. 2, 2002, he married
Linda Ediger Guhr at Newton.
Survivors include his wife, Linda; four children, Bruce Ediger and his
wife, Sherry, of Hesston, Darrell Ediger and his wife, DeeDee, of
Dalton, Ohio, David Ediger and his wife, Marilyn, of Hesston, and Bette
Jo Lehrman and her husband, Verney, of Newton; two stepchildren, Jim
Guhr and his wife, Christy, of Joplin, Mo., and Lynett Peters and her
husband, Allen, of Eminence, Mo.; two sisters, Marie Widmer of
Washington, Iowa, and Amanda Bartel of Wichita; 13 grandchildren; 16
great-grandchildren; four step-grandchildren and two
He was preceded in death by three brothers, Raymond, Curt and Henry
Ediger; and three sisters, Linda Voth, Hilda Buller and Lavina Goering.
Funeral services were held at Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church. Burial was
in Hoffnungsau Cemetery.
Friesen, John E.
John E. Friesen, 89, died July
31, 2009, at the California Armenian Home in Fresno, Calif., due to
complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was born on March 16,
1920, to Cornelius B. and Suzanna Friesen in Dallas, Ore.
Raised in a Dallas Mennonite church, he felt the call to ministry at
the age of 14, but he could not pursue ministerial training after high
school because he was frozen to his job as a machinist when the U.S.
entered World War II. When drafted he entered Civilian Public Service,
where he served for two years working with fire suppression teams in
Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and preparing food
in a Veterans Administration hospital in Livermore, Calif.
He married Anne Miriam Schultz on June 17, 1945.
After World War II, he pursued his education at Multnomah School of the
Bible, during which time he also founded a church in Manning, Ore. He
continued his studies at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., where he
directed a choir and where he and Anne served as house parents for
students; and at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, where he
pastored the Los Angeles Mennonite Brethren Church. After receiving his
master of divinity degree from Fuller, he served California MB churches
in Dinuba, Bakersfield, Lodi and Arleta, and then spent seven years in
British Columbia as pastor in Chilliwack and Dawson Creek.
As their ministry developed, he and Anne continued to be interested in
God’s work throughout the world. They led seven groups to Israel
to visit biblical sites and missionaries in the area, and 18 tours to
other missionary destinations and historic Christian sites. Serving as
a pastor in eight churches over 45 years, he spread the good news and
displayed the compassion and the mercy of our Lord.
Survivors include his wife, Anne; three children, James, Steven and
Lois; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Stucky, Roland D.
Roland D. Stucky, 85, died Aug.
9, 2009, at Palm Village in Reedley, Calif. He was born on Jan. 9,
1924, to John D. and O’Tillie Schrag Stucky on a farm near Moundridge,
He graduated from Moundridge High School and Bethel College, North
Newton, Kan. At Bethel he met and later married Elaine Eymann of
Reedley. After graduating from medical school at the University of
Kansas, he practiced medicine in Kingsburg for the next 35 years
specializing in family practice and general surgery. He also
participated in several medical mission trips after he retired. He and
Elaine retired in Wawona in Yosemite National Park, where they lived
until Elaine’s death in 2002. He returned to the Kingsburg/Reedley
area, when he married Ferne Boucher, and lived there until his death.
Survivors include his wife of almost six years, Ferne Boucher Stucky;
three children, Maureen Sinclair of Puyallup, Wash., Patrice Flaming of
Akron, Pa., and Scott Stucky of Escondido; two brothers, Melvin and
LeRoy Stucky, both of Newton, Kan.; six granddaughters and a
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Elaine Eymann Stucky.
Schrock, Elmer Leo
Elmer Leo Schrock, 88, of
Maquoketa, Iowa, and formerly longtime resident of Wayland, died May 6,
2009, at Crestridge Nursing Home. He was born Aug. 30, 1920, to Daniel
W. and Anna (Roth) Schrock in Shelbyville, Ill.
His parents moved the family in 1940 to a farm near Lower Deer Creek
Mennonite Church of Kalona, and they became members of this
congregation. He worked as a farm hand for local Mennonites, and
because of World War II he enlisted as a peace builder in Civilian
Public Service. He helped with construction of Deerfield Dam at Camp
#57, Hill City, S.D. Then he worked at a dairy farm at Beaverdam, Wis.,
for a year, and transferred to Unit #66, the State Mental Hospital,
Norristown, Pa., where he worked until being released from CPS in 1946.
He returned to the Kalona area and worked on farms, then went to
Ontario, Calif., for one year. Then he served in Mennonite Voluntary
Service at the Children’s Home in Kansas City, Mo., for one year.
He married Josephine K. Richard on March 12, 1953, at Sugar Creek
Mennonite Church of rural Wayland.
He was a member of Sugar Creek Mennonite Church. He farmed in the
Wayland community for almost 50 years.
Survivors include six sisters, Mabel McKittrick of Terre Haute, Ind.,
Bessie Swartzendruber of Iowa City, Bertha Miller of Mode-Shelbyville,
Ill., Lillie Thomas and her husband, C.C., of Fayetteville, N.C.,
Esther Seville and her husband, Arthur Tidey, and Lydia Ann Kennel and
her husband, Dwight, all of Monmouth, Ore.; three brothers, Ervin R.
Schrock and Jacob W. Schrock, both of Kalona, and Howard V. Schrock and
his wife, Willeane, of Medina, Ohio; and an aunt, Ellen Roth Clark of
He was preceded in death by his wife, Josephine, on Nov. 1, 2001; and
by five brothers, Raymond, Edwin, John, Daniel and Fred.
Services were held at Sugar Creek Mennonite Church of rural Wayland.
Burial was in the church cemetery.
Mennonite Weekly Review - September 14, 2009 - 87th Year, No. 34 - p. 9
Graber, Delpha Waltner
Delpha Graber, 91, of Foley,
Minn., died Aug. 28, 2009, at the Foley Nursing Center.
She was born Oct. 26, 1917, to Jacob P. and Mary J. (Miller) Waltner in
Kingman, Kan. The family moved to Freeman, S.D., the next year. Upon
confession of her faith, she was baptized and joined Salem Mennonite
When she was 15, her father died of tuberculosis. With her mother,
Mary, she and her sisters were able to work together to sustain their
farm even through the Depression years. She graduated from Freeman
Academy in 1934, Freeman Junior College in 1936 and earned her bachelor
of arts degree from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., in 1939. She
also studied at Hartford (Conn.) Theological Seminary.
She married Ellis Graber on June 25, 1944. She was an active partner in
church ministry, directing choirs, motion worship choirs and renditions
of Handel’s Messiah. She was blessed with beautiful soprano voice and
sang her entire life. She found great fulfillment as the activity
director at Mennonite Memorial Home in Bluffton, Ohio. As a loving wife
and mother, she was selfless in supporting Ellis, who was a pastor, by
driving tractors, milking cows, giving chapel talks and even preaching
sermons. She will be remembered for her faith, indomitable spirit and
Survivors include a son, Eric Graber of Minneapolis; three daughters,
Connie Blaylock and her husband, Dale, of Pioneer, Calif., Joan Brauen
and her husband, Bill, of Foley, and Karen Sims and her husband, DJ, of
Maize, Kan.; two sisters, Welma Waltner of Freeman, S.D., and Stella
Schrag of Forest Grove, Ore.; a brother-in-law, LeRoy Graber of
Freeman, S.D.; 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband of almost 45 years, Ellis; two
children, Scott Conway and Norma Jean; and a grandson, Jacob Kester.
Funeral services were held at First Presbyterian Church of Foley. A
memorial service and burial were in Salem-Zion Mennonite Church,
Claassen, Irene Dyck
Irene E. Claassen, 83, of
Holmesville, Neb., died Aug. 13, 2009, at Parkview Center in Beatrice.
She was born March 5, 1926, to Jacob J. and Marie G. (Harder) Dyck in
rural Whitewater, Kan.
She graduated from Potwin High School in 1943 and took classes for two
years at Bethel College in North Newton. After college, she taught in a
rural country school for five years in Kansas.
She married Ernest G. Claassen on Jan. 20, 1951, in rural Whitewater.
She was a direct care worker at Beatrice State Developmental Center for
25 years. She was a member of Beatrice Mennonite Church and Nebraskans
for Peace. For many years she was the Mennonite Weekly Review
congregational correspondent for Beatrice Mennonite. She enjoyed
spending time with her family, gardening, canning, bird watching and
playing board games.
Survivors include her husband, Ernest; two daughters, Linda Claassen
Jones of Newton, Kan., and Marian Claassen of Goldendale, Wash.; a son,
Richard Claassen and his wife, Ruth, of Truth Or Consequences, N.M.;
two sisters, Gertrude Schmidt of North Newton, Kan., and Esther Schmidt
of Wichita, Kan.; two brothers, Walter Dyck of Albuquerque, N.M., and
Herbert Dyck and his wife, Alice, of Washington, Kan.; two
sisters-in-law, Elfrieda Claassen of Beatrice and Wanda Dyck of Newton,
Kan.; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by twin infant daughters, Rebecca and Ruth;
and 10 siblings.
Memorial services were held at Beatrice Mennonite Church. Inurnment was
at Mennonite Cemetery in rural Beatrice.
Croyle, Denton E.
Denton E. Croyle, 85, of
Wadsworth, Ohio, died June 20, 2009, after a brief illness. He was born
Nov. 8, 1923, to Lloyd S. and Emma (Stahl) Croyle in the Johnstown,
He graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College in 1946, then did additional
studies at Pitt-Johnstown campus. In 1950 he received his doctor of
dental surgery degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of
Dentistry. He began his practice in Johnstown, then did alternative
service at Beatty Memorial Hospital in Westville, Ind., before locating
to Wadsworth in 1955. He was chair of the Christ for Greater Johnstown
committee and a member of Christian Businessmen’s Committee of
Johnstown. He was program coordinator of the Gospel Fellowship
broadcast in Johnstown.
He was a member of many quartets and choral groups, notably a 20-year
member of the Akron Symphony Chorus and Chorale and occasions with the
Blossom Festival and Cleveland Orchestra choruses, and a frequent
soloist in area churches. He was a member of First Mennonite Church,
He served for many years on the Ohio relief sale and beef canning
projects for Mennonite Central Committee. He was a member of Mennonite
Economic Development Associates and chair of the Wadsworth Area Peace
Fellowship. He was a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow and a member of the
Akron and American Dental associations. Since retirement from his
profession in 1988, he was employed by Serpentini Chevrolet for 16
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Mary; three sons, Philip J.
Croyle and his wife, Sherri, of Boca Raton, Fla., John Marshall Croyle
and his wife, Caroline, of Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire, England,
and Warren L. Croyle and his wife, Janette, of Wadsworth; a daughter,
Ann Louise Weldy and her husband, David, of Toledo; a sister, E. Louise
Wigle of Austin, Texas; nine grandchildren; two step-grandsons and a
Memorial services were held at First Mennonite Church, Wadsworth.
Stoltzfus, Stephen S.
Stephen S. Stoltzfus, 73, died
Aug. 20, 2009. He was born Nov. 16, 1935, to Aaron K. and Katie S.
He was a faithful husband, father and grandfather. He was a
cabinetmaker for 40 years and spent his retirement in South Carolina as
a volunteer prison chaplain for 10 years under the Carolina Chaplaincy
Program. He attended New Holland (S.C.) Mennonite Church and was a
member of Rockville Mennonite Church in Honey Brook, Pa., where he was
a trustee for many years.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Edna Musser Stoltzfus; three
children, Clair, married to Thelma Hoover, of East Earl, Pa., Carolyn,
married to Michael Biggs, of Greenwood, Del., and Cheryl, married to
Larry Landis, of Honey Brook, Pa.; three brothers, Ervan Stoltzfus of
Lancaster, Pa., Jacob Stoltzfus of Lititz, Pa., and Aaron K. Stoltzfus
Jr. of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and eight grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Suzanna Stoltzfus.
Funeral services were held at Conestoga Mennonite Church near
Morgantown, Pa. Burial was in the adjoining cemetery.
Mennonite Weekly Review - September 21, 2009 - 87th Year, No. 35 - p. 9
Schmucker, Leonard E.
Leonard E. Schmucker, 86, of
Louisville, Ohio, died Sept. 8, 2009. He was born Aug. 24, 1923,
to Elmer and Ada (Maurer) Schmucker in Louisville.
On Feb. 20, 1945, he married his high school sweetheart, Lucille
Sommers, while he was serving in Civilian Public Service at a mental
hospital in Kalamazoo, Mich. He had earlier CPS assignments at
Medaryville, Ind., and Downey, Idaho.
After completing CPS, he studied at Goshen (Ind.) College and Goshen
Biblical Seminary and helped with a mission church, Locust Grove,
completing seminary in 1951. He was ordained to the ministry in 1952,
and later that year moved to Michigan, where he was pastor of Cedar
Grove Mennonite Church near Manistique. After 13 years, he and his
family moved to Imlay City, Mich., to serve as pastor of Bethany
Mennonite Church for nine years.
In 1975 they moved to Hesston, Kan., so he could study nursing at
Hesston College. He completed the requirements for Registered Nurse and
worked at Schowalter Villa for 14 years. He was a member of Hesston
Mennonite Church. After several years of retirement, they moved back to
their home community of Louisville and again joined Beech Mennonite
He praised God through singing — in church groups, quartets and the
300-member Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus for 20 years. He enjoyed
gardening, cabinet making, craft woodworking and painting.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Lucille; six children, Lillian
Badrak and her husband, Michael, of Cadillac, Mich., Marvin Schmucker
and his wife, Lee, of Wichita, Kan., Myrna Roiser of Rochester Hills,
Mich., Carol Fite and her husband, Dave, of Quarryville, Pa., Darrel
Schmucker and his wife, DeeAnn, of Sacramento, Calif., and Ron
Schmucker and his wife, Lisa, of DeSoto, Kan.; and nine grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by three brothers, Vernon, Elden and Loren;
and a sister, Agnes Basinger.
Memorial services were held at Beech Mennonite Church, Louisville, Ohio.
Liechty, Lynn Oswald
Lynn Oswald Liechty, 85, of
Berne, Ind., died Sept. 3, 2009. He was born Oct. 29, 1923, to Oswald
and Lillian (Burke) Liechty in Adams County.
He graduated from Berne High School in 1941. He was employed by the
family business, Liechty Brothers Plumbing and Heating in Berne, for 42
years and co-owned the business with his brother Bob for 29 years. He
played a key role in the construction and expansion of Swiss Village, a
Mennonite-affiliated continuing care retirement community located in
Berne. At the time of his death, he was serving as the project
supervisor for construction at Swiss Village, and was overseeing a
large assisted living facility expansion project.
He was a lifetime member of First Mennonite Church in Berne. He
served in numerous lay leadership roles in the congregation, including
terms as deacon and advisory committee member. He sang in the Mennonite
Men’s Chorus. He also taught Sunday school and mid-week Bible study for
many years. He was active in a variety of leadership roles within
Central District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church,
and also served on the General Board and Commission on Home Ministries
Board of the GCMC. Over the years, he donated hundreds of hours to Camp
Friedenswald in Cassopolis, Mich., using his vocational skills to help
construct many of the buildings that are in use today.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Doris (Wulliman); four
children, Karen Dubach and her husband, Rick, of Berne, John Liechty
and his wife, Joy, of Goshen, Jennifer Zickafoose and her husband, Jon,
of Lima, Ohio, and Lisa Liechty Steele and her husband, Todd, of Fort
Wayne; two brothers, Robert of Berne and Carl of Lima, Ohio; 12
grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Services were held at Swiss Village and First Mennonite Church in
Berne. Burial was in M.R.E. Cemetery in Berne.
Bartel, Melvin L.
Melvin L. Bartel, 79, died Aug.
13, 2009, at Kidron Bethel Healthcare in North Newton, Kan. He was born
March 12, 1930, to Albert C. and Rosina (Gaeddert) Bartel in Hillsboro.
He was a Bethel College campus kid, graduating from Newton High School
in 1952. He ran the movie projector in high school. He enjoyed playing
volleyball coached by his teacher, John Ravenscroft. His father was a
builder at Bethel College, and he enjoyed helping with building the
Bethel College Library and Goering Hall. He worked at Mennonite Press
for 20 years, had lawn mowing customers, and was assistant custodian
for Bethel College Mennonite Church for 13 years.
He was a lifetime member of Bethel College Mennonite Church. He ran the
public address system for 42 years and witnessed more weddings and
funerals than anyone else in the church. He changed the clocks for many
years and also helped with installing the organ.
He was a member of the Harvey County Historical Society. He ran the
clock for basketball games at the Newton Activity Center and
tournaments for Western District Conference. He was well versed in
railroads, cars and ocean liners.
Survivors include two sisters, Ruth Ann Giggy of Panhandle, Texas, and
Thelma May Bartel of North Newton; a brother, Lewis Clark Bartel and
his wife, Darlene, of Albuquerque, N.M.; two nieces; two nephews and
Memorial services were held at Bethel College Mennonite Church.
Inurnment was in the Bethel College Mennonite Church Columbarium.
Mennonite Weekly Review - September 28, 2009 - 87th Year, No. 36 - p. 9
Heinrichs, Harold C. "Harry"
Harold (Harry) C. Heinrichs,
83, of Wichita, Kan., died Sept. 10, 2009. He was born Dec. 13, 1925,
to Cornelius and Helena (Klassen) Heinrichs near Kirk and Joes, Colo.
He was a grandson of Abraham C. and Kathryn (Wiebe) Klassen of near
He married Nialee (Lee) Siegel on Sept. 2, 1950, in Goodland.
He was a co-founder and active partner in Evans Construction Co. for
more than 40 years. He and Lee served as deacons in their church for
some time. They were charter members of the Wichita Chapter, American
Historical Society of Germans from Russia, and they were active in that
society as officers in the local executive board and in standing
committees. They were active in tracing their ancestry, especially the
Heinrichs, Klassen and Wiebe families.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Nialee; three children, Kent
Heinrichs of Wichita, Leann Strobel of Norwich and Carol Heinrichs of
Tucson, Ariz.; a brother, Wesley Heinrichs of Fresno, Calif.; a sister,
Kathryn Fahlgren of Prineville, Ore.; and a number of grandchildren and
He was preceded in death by three brothers, Arthur, Louis and Richard
Funeral services were held at Southwest Presbyterian Church in Wichita.
Burial was in Resthaven Mortuary and Cemetery.
Zook, John Edwin. Dr.
John Edwin Zook, 84,
died Aug. 14, 2009, of a ruptured aortic aneurysm in Portland, Ore. He
was born Oct. 3, 1924, in Tabor, Iowa, to Abram Eyster and Eunice
Brenneman Zook, who served as missionaries in South Africa and the
Belgian Congo. He grew up in those countries as well as years in
Nebraska and Newton, Kan.
He completed medical school in 1954, his internship in 1955 and
his residency in surgery in 1969 in Portland. He was a board qualified
surgeon, member of the American College of Surgeons and the
International College of Surgeons.
He married Jeanne Pierson in 1952. They served as missionaries under
the General Conference Mennonite Church and Africa Inter-Mennonite
Mission in the Congo from 1955 to 1977.
He practiced surgery in Portland from 1977 until 2002, where he also
generously provided care to medically needy people. He was a gifted
surgeon with a great love of people.
He and Jeanne participated in the China Educational Exchange program in
1984-88 and conducted frequent surgical visits to the Mennonite
hospitals in Congo. He served as a board member of Mennonite Men and as
president of the PNMC Mennonite Men for many years. He was a longtime
member of Peace Mennonite Church of Portland and taught Sunday school
for many years. He was deeply involved in recycling in the church’s
program to support a local food bank. He will be missed by all for his
warm caring spirit and his ability to share a good story. The Congolese
Community of Portland also recognized him as their great friend.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Jeanne Zook; three children,
Rebecca Roth of Salem, Daniel John Zook of Portland and Paul Michael
Zook of Austin, Texas; two sisters, Ruth McQuilkin of Portsmouth, R.I.,
and Mary Ellen Schultze of Puyallup, Wash.; and 11 grandchildren.
Memorial services were held at Peace Mennonite Church. Burial was in
Forrester Cemetery in Estacada.
Leasa, Kenneth Varden
Kenneth Varden Leasa, 60, of
Downingtown, Pa., died Aug. 4, 2009, after a one-year battle with an
aggressive brain cancer. He was born Aug. 12, 1948, to William Kenneth
and Betty Brackbill Leasa in West Chester.
He was raised in Frazer. He was a 1966 graduate of Great Valley High
He attended several universities, earning bachelor of arts and master’s
degrees from California State University in Los Angeles and Berkeley in
the early 1970s, and later a bachelor of science degree from West
Chester University. He was gifted with an insatiable thirst for
knowledge and was a lifelong student of history, political science and
languages, including Spanish, Russian, German and Pennsylvania Dutch.
He taught classes in Pennsylvania Dutch for the Lancaster Mennonite
He was also interested in running and cycling for many years. He
completed the Philadelphia Independence Marathon in 1983. Beginning in
1982, he began commuting to work on his bicycle 25 miles a day. In 1989
he rode his bicycle from San Diego, Calif., to Frazer on a 30-day solo
He was intensely interested in genealogy and was the family historian.
He was highly regarded in the fields of genealogy and local history,
writing articles for publications.
He was a member of Frazer Mennonite Church. He was involved with the
Foresingers and Table Singers singing groups.
He was most recently employed at Barr’s Products. Prior to that he
worked for Clews & Strawbridge for 25 years.
Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Marie, who gave him
extraordinary loving care during his illness; two daughters, Jen Leasa
and her husband, Eibe Johanns, of Valley Bend, W.Va., and Adrienne
Leasa of Spring City; a sister, Paula Warren of Frazer; and a brother,
Stephen K. Leasa of Phoenixville.
Funeral services were held at Frazer Mennonite Church. Burial was in
the church cemetery.
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Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA
Used with permission by the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen,
Permission granted to private family researchers to use selected
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