Mennonite World Review - November 2014
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Mennonite World Review - November 10, 2014 - 92nd Year, No. 23 - p. 15
Schrag, John Orlin "J.O."
John Orlin (J.O.) Schrag, 100, of North Newton, Kan., died Oct. 15, 2014, at Kidron Bethel. He was born April 30, 1914, to Adina Pearl (Kaufman) Schrag and Jacob D. Schrag near Moundridge.
He was baptized at Hoffungsfeld (Hopefield) Mennonite Church in 1931. He later joined Eden Mennonite Church of rural Moundridge, McPherson Mennonite Church and Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton.
On June 12, 1943, he married Esther Frieda Ratzlaff, a Bethel College classmate.
After farming several years to help the family during the Depression, he enrolled at Bethel College, where he was co-captain of the football team. After graduation in 1938, he taught high school and coached at Macksville, Burlington, McPherson and Hillsboro in Kansas. He then entered what is now the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. After graduation he practiced one year in Macksville, then in McPherson, where he practiced for more than 30 years, with two years in alternative service in Puerto Rico.
He chaired the Bethel College board of directors, was congregational chair at Eden and McPherson, president of Mennonite Men of the General Conference and a member of the peace and justice commission of Western District Conference.
In retirement, he and Esther gave voluntary service on three Native American reservations. He enjoyed traveling in the U.S., Europe, Central and South America. He was involved in the fine arts by painting, ceramics, silversmithing, wood carving and writing poems, children's books and short narratives. He was an avid sports fan whose favorite was baseball.
Survivors include two daughters, Sandra Zerger and Rebecca Fretz; a sibling, Milo E. Schrag; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by four siblings, Melinda Goering, Alvin Schrag, Clarence Schrag and Marie Wedel; and a granddaughter.
A graveside service was held in Greenwood Cemetery in Newton. A memorial service was held at the Bethel College Chapel October 19.
Gray, John C.
John C. Gray, 86, of Burrton, Kan., farmer and stockman, died Oct. 28, 2014, at his residence. He was born June 13, 1928, to James Ernest and Macy May (Williams) Gray in Piedmont, Mo.
He was a member of Burrton Mennonite Church and a Burrton area resident for more than 60 years. He also served as a church representative and board member to Mennonite Central Committee.
He served his country in the U.S. Navy on the U.S.S. Midway.
On Oct. 22, 1950, he married Deloris Irene Unruh at Mount Hope. She preceded him in death on March 6, 2011.
Survivors include two sons, John Gray and his wife, Judy, of Del City, Okla., and Terry "T.C." Gray and his wife, Jaye, of Honolulu, Hawaii; a daughter, Jean Kirk of Springfield, Ill.; a brother, Richard Gray and his wife, Eunice, of Arnold, Mo.; eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Deloris; a son, Rodney Gray; six brothers, Robert, Ernest "Bud," Jay, Charles, Oscar and James; and three sisters, Thelma Elder, Lena May Gray and Shirley Ann Gray.
Funeral services were held at Burrton Mennonite Church. Burial was in Burrton Cemetery.
Smucker, Marcus G.
Marcus G. Smucker, 82, of Lititz, Pa., died Oct. 29, 2014, at Lancaster General Hospital. He was born in Bird-in-Hand to John and Anna (Stoltzfus) Smucker.
He received his bachelor's degree from Eastern Mennonite University, a master of divinity from New York Theological Seminary, a master of theology from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate from the Union Graduate School.
He was a pastor, teacher, spiritual adviser and conflict mediator. He began his career as a pastor at Portland Mennonite Church, where he spent 16 years and developed lifelong connections. He was an associate professor at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary from 1982 to 1999 and an adjunct professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary from 1999 until his death.
He specialized in conflict mediation, bringing a healing ministry to hundreds of pastors and churches struggling with divisive issues. He was an expert teacher in spiritual formation, mentoring individuals and teaching at the seminary level.
The great love of his life was his family, especially his grandchildren, Julian and Olivia Zorn, with whom he spent countless hours. He also made a difference in the lives of his many loving relatives and friends. He was an active member and participant at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Dorothy Wenger Smucker; a daughter, Deb Smucker and her wife, Elizabeth Wall; a son, Greg Smucker and his wife, Karen Zorn; four siblings, John I. Smucker, Levina Huber, Sara Ann Landis and Mary Ellen Dowling; and two grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Jonathan and Paul Smucker.
A celebration-of-life service was held at Mellinger Mennonite Church. A private burial was held Saturday prior to a memorial service at Weavertown Amish Mennonite Church.
Bell, Phebe Yoder Boltz Reed
Phebe Reed Bell, 92, of Fort Wayne, Ind., died Oct. 22, 2014, after a long and productive life and a short illness.
She was born Sept. 10, 1922, married Daniel B. Reed Oct. 23, 1943, and raised their family of five children in Fredericksburg, Pa. She was a member of Conestoga Mennonite Church, Morgantown, Pa.
She was an accomplished quilter, and her quilts went to Mennonite relief sales and her children. She was known for her love and knowledge of Pennsylvania flora and fauna and competitive Scrabble skills.
After Daniel's death in November 1968, she married Elvin Boltz in 1975. He died 1982. She married Allison Bell in 1986. He died in 2012.
Survivors include her children, Kenneth Reed and his wife, Patricia Pace, of Milpitas, Calif., Clayton Reed and his wife, Mary Lou Lefever, of Bourbon, Ind., Joseph Reed of Fredericksburg, Pa., Herbert Reed and his wife, Vera Plank, of Greenbelt, Md., and Sally Miller and her husband, Ken Miller, of Fort Wayne, Ind.; siblings Mark Yoder of Ephrata, Pa., Julia Yoder of New Holland, Pa., and Dorcas Yoder Rolon of Hatfield, Pa.; 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Siblings Ruth Yoder Stauffer and Sarah Yoder Scott preceded her in death.
Memorial services will be held Nov. 15 at Conestoga Mennonite Church.
Hostetler, Mervin J.
Mervin J. Hostetler, 92, of Harrisonburg, Va., died Nov. 3, 2014, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. He was born Nov. 3, 1922, to Aaron J. and Catherine (Katie Schmucker) Hostetler at Louisville, Ohio.
He graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College, Ohio State University and Rochester Institute of Technology. He was a mechanical engineer in industry for 17 years and associate professor of engineering at Penn State Altoona for 20 years.
On July 9, 1948, he married Fern Yoder of Johnstown, Pa.
He was president of the Johnstown, Pa., chapter of the American Society of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Engineers. A registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania, he was president of the Blair County chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers and a state director. During World War II he chose Civilian Public Service and was in public health in Florida and mental health in Harrisburg (Pa.) State Hospital.
He was an ordained deacon in the Mennonite church and for many years was active in the ministries of Allegheny Mennonite Conference. Since retirement in Harrisonburg in 1987, he has been a member of Park View Mennonite Church. He was an active volunteer, including five years in the business office of Eastern Mennonite University, 12 years in the Rockingham Male Chorus and various positions at VMRC.
Survivors include his wife, Fern; and a brother, Cletus of Harrisonburg.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Bernice Stutzman; and a brother, Vincent, both of Louis ville, Ohio.
Memorial services will be held at Park View Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg on Nov. 15. A private burial will take place at the Richland Cemetery at Johnstown, Pa., at a later date.
Bender, Claude Oscar
Claude Oscar Bender, 91, died Oct. 28, 2014, in Alamosa, Colo. He was born Feb. 23, 1923, to Mahlon and Elizabeth Bender in Accident, Md. He married Viola Slabaugh on June 1, 1947, in Hartville, Ohio.
He was a loving father and husband and lived many places throughout his full life. He spent most of his life working as a clock and watch repairman and truly loved his work. Later in life he began working as a locksmith while still doing occasional clock repair.
Survivors include his wife, Viola Bender, of Alamosa; a brother, Carl Bender; six children, Cheryle Gingerich of Seattle, Wash., Lowell Bender and his wife, Judy, of Northglen, Rebecca Bender of Alamosa, Regina Rice and her husband, Robert, of Alamosa, Nadine Kuehl and her husband, Nathan, of Windsor, and Myrna Mille and her husband, Stan, of Laramie, Wyo.; 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by six siblings, Sarah Yoder, Velma Miller, Olive Bender, Mabel West, Owen Bender and Walter Bender.
Memorial services were held at First Christian Church in Alamosa. Cremation was chosen, with the ashes will be buried at a later date.
Horst, Ruth B. Brunk Martin
Ruth B. Horst, 92, died Sept. 24, 2014. She was born May 5, 1922, to Henry and Nora (Kraus) Brunk in Denbigh, Va.
On Oct. 20, 1945, she married Elton Martin of Harrisonburg, Va. After only four months of marriage he was killed in a tragic auto accident that also left her critically injured and with a long recovery. On May 5, 1951, she married Ray E. Horst of Ephrata, Pa. He preceded her in death on July 20, 2013.
She spent her early years, which coincided with the Great Depression, growing up in and around Washington, D.C. When she was in her teens the family moved to Harrisonburg, where she graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School and attended college for a short time. In 1954 Ray took a job at Mennonite Board of Missions, and they moved to Elkhart, Ind. At that time they became members of Prairie Street Mennonite Church, where they remained active through the rest of their lives.
His job required him to travel a lot. She was always a full partner in his work; her role and calling was to maintain a strong and well-functioning home base and family. She was a loving mother, a superb organizer, excellent financial manager, had great problem-solving and engineering abilities, and loved nature and natural beauty, especially flowers and birds. She enjoyed doing counted cross-stitch and other crafts.
She loved to travel and meet new people and often accompanied Ray on his travels. She traveled to Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and 49 of the 50 U.S. states (all except Arkansas). Her love and generosity extended to all.
Survivors include a daughter, Carolyn Heydon of Elkhart; a son, Ray Edward Horst and his wife, Barb, of Oakland, Calif.; a foster daughter, Jean Luadzers and her husband, David, of Jefferson City, Mo.; three brothers Nelson Brunk, Henry Brunk and Joseph Brunk, all of Harrisonburg; and eight grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by three sisters, Esther Loux, Ellen Griffin and Alma Baer; and a brother, Perry Brunk.
Lehman, Freeman A.
Freeman A. Lehman, 82, of Kidron, Ohio, died of cancer Oct. 18, 2014. He was born to Aaron and Edna (Amstutz) Lehman of Apple Creek, Ohio. He married Eileen Hartzler on Aug. 26, 1955.
He attended Eastern Mennonite High School, graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College with a bachelor's degree in music and earned a master's degree in music education at Northwestern University.
After college the couple lived in Grants, N.M., for two years, where they led a health unit serving Navajo Indians.
He believed creating and listening to music was a powerful form of worship that transcended social barriers. He taught at Bethany High School in Goshen for eight years then moved back to Kidron to teach at Central Christian High School for 15 years. After retiring from teaching he trained at a piano school in Chautauqua, N.Y., where he became a piano tuner.
One of his goals was to make music every day. He lived out his quest for musical excellence in many ways, directing community and church choirs and performing with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and the Robert Page Singers for more than 30 years, enjoying many concert tours in the United States and Europe. He joined a Goshen College Alumni Choir for three European tours. He directed the Cantate Singers, a group from the Kidron area, for 13 years. He always lived in the tension between his professional performing life and teaching and inspiring musical creativity and excellence in his local community.
Survivors include his wife, Eileen; three children, Eric Lehman and his wife, Marcia, Joel Lehman and his wife, Rose, and Emily Miller and her husband, Maynard; eight grandchildren; and a brother, Louie Lehman.
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Vernon and Nathan Lehman; and a sister, Martha Geiser.
Services were held at Sonnenberg Mennonite Church, where he had been a member from his youth.
Nussbaum, Harold W.
Harold W. Nussbaum, 89, of Berne, Ind., died Oct. 21, 2014. He was born Nov. 29, 1924, to Clifton E. and Louise L. (Lehman) Nussbaum in Poneto, Ind. He married Marie Wiebe on July 26, 1969, in Watrous, Sask.
He was a former employee of Berne Furniture Co. and Smith Brothers Furniture Co. He served in the U.S. Army as a medical corpsman and dental technician in Fort Riley, Kan., and Camp Atterbury, Ind., 1949-51.
He graduated from Bob Jones University, Greenville, S.C., in 1959 and from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz., in 1969.
He was a former teacher and principal of Hopi Mission School at Oraibi, Ariz., for 12 yrs. He also held pastorates at Napier Mennonite Church of Tull's Hill at Mann's Choice, Pa., and Casselton (N.D.) Mennonite Church for 19 years.
He was member of First Mennonite Church in Berne, where he taught Sunday school and sang in the chancel choir. He was pastor of visitation at First Mennonite Church, Berne, for nine years until his retirement on April 30, 2003.
Survivors include his wife, Marie; a foster Vietnamese daughter, Stephanie (Loan) Nussbaum Trinh of Houston, Texas; a sister, Doris Thomann of Noble, Ill.; and three brothers, David W. Nussbaum of Berne, and Charles E. and A. John Nussbaum, both of Fort Wayne.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Lena Felber and Virginia McClure.
Memorial services were held at First Mennonite Church, Berne.
Merv Eigsti, 83, of Denver, Colo., died Oct. 29, 2014. He was born Dec. 6, 1930, to Emery and Edna (Wenger) Eigsti on a farm near Wayland, Iowa.
He married his high school sweetheart, Ardith Wagler, in 1952, and they began their married life on the family farm. In 1957, for health reasons, they moved to Denver. He worked at Consolidated Parts for 28 years, where he was known for his knowledge, work ethic, humor and outstanding customer service.
He loved the church and was a charter member of Glennon Heights Mennonite Church, serving as elder, Sunday school superintendent, and with Ardith, youth sponsors and ushers for many years. Recently they were awarded the "Journey Award" from Everence, the stewardship agency of the Mennonite church. The award recognized their lifelong commitment to welcoming the stranger into their home, generously giving of time and money to the church and community, and living out their faith in a way that made a difference in people's lives.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Ardith; his children, Stan Eigsti and his wife, Karen Nakandakare, of Lakewood, Becky Widmer and her husband, Jon, of Washington, Iowa, Randy Landis-Eigsti and his wife, Anita, of Lakewood, and Brad Eigsti and his wife, Heidi, of Lakewood; a brother, Orlin Eigsti of Hesston, Kan.; two sisters, Doris Meyer of Wayland, Iowa, and Ruth Miller of Lakewood; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, Dean Meyer; and his infant sister Marilyn.
Memorial services were held at Glennon Heights Mennonite Church.
Hochstetler, Roger L.
Roger L. Hochstetler, 85, of Arvada, Colo., died Oct. 22, 2014. He was born Feb. 16, 1929, to Earl and Mary (Krabill) Hochstetler, in Kalona, Iowa.
He loved adventure, sports and competition. His first adventure away from home was high school at Hesston (Kan.) Academy. Next he went to Germany and the Netherlands, where he spent three years building homes for refugees with Mennonite Central Committee's Pax program, whose members became lifelong friends. The experience shaped him; he observed new cultures and was recognized for leadership skills. Returning to Iowa, he met his wife of nearly 60 years, Glennis Hershberger. They married Nov. 27, 1954.
He co-owned a lumberyard, which he then sold to go to college in the mid 1960s. He attended the University of Iowa to become a minister. He graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College and pastored Mennonite churches in Fort Wayne, Ind., Lakewood, Edmonton, Alta., Metamora, Ill., and as a transitional pastor in Albuquerque, N.M., Greeley and Littleton. He had a compassionate heart, a great sense of humor and an inquisitive mind led by a progressive spirit.
He enjoyed golfing, fishing, attending Colorado Rockies games and traveling. Upon retirement he and Glennis were bus tour guides.
Survivors include his wife, Glennis; children Cindy Neely and her husband, Dan, Christina Hochstetler, Dean Hochstetler and his wife, JoLane, and Miriam MacKay and her husband, Bruce; two sisters, Arlene Miller and Mary Brenneman; two brothers, Dale and Orlin Hochstetler; and two grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a grandson; Seth MacKay; a granddaughter, Katrina Thurnau-Fair; and a brother, Don Hochstetler.
Memorial services were held at First Mennonite Church, Denver.
Moser, Frances June Zuercher
Frances June Zuercher Moser, 92, of Wooster, Ohio, died Sept. 28, 2014. She was born June 18, 1922, to Noah I. and Aldine (Lehman) Zuercher near Kidron.
She grew up in the Kidron and Smithville areas, graduating from Smithville High School in 1940. In 1944, she went to Colorado to begin registered nurse's training at La Junta Mennonite School of Nursing. Her love of music, starting at a young age, continued as she sang in the elite school quartet until graduating in 1947. During her nursing career, she worked at the Mennonite Hospital and Sanitarium in La Junta, Wooster Beeson Hospital, Wooster Community Hospital and Wooster Clinic, from which she retired in 1993.
On Jan. 15, 1949, she married E. A. (Lee) Moser. They lived in Wooster all their joyful years together. He preceded her in death on Aug. 8, 2006.
She and Lee participated in Wooster Mennonite Church and were early Wooster Mission members. Special contributions came with her gift of music. She was part of a women's trio that sang on the church's weekly programs on WWST radio. She taught Bible school and Sunday school and assisted with church news and newsletter information. She had leadership positions in the Women's Mission Sewing Circle, Ladies' Fellowship and Bible study groups.
She and Lee planned extensive family vacations and took additional U.S. and international trips together. They were interested in European locales of Anabaptist church history and the Holy Land.
Survivors include two children, daughter Janice Moser of Chandler, Ariz., and son Jim Moser and his wife, Barbara, of Wooster; six siblings, Mahlon Zuercher of Orrville, Wilfred Zuercher of Sugar Creek, Ethel Miller and Evelyn Cross, both of Prescott, Ariz., Marilyn Scotti of Parma and Herman Zuercher of Prescott, Ariz.
Services were held at Wooster Mennonite Church. Private burial was in Maple Grove Cemetery in Wooster.
Gingerich, Paul Edward
Paul Edward Gingerich, 98, died Nov. 2, 2014, at Pleasantview Home in Kalona, Iowa. He was born May 5, 1916, to Amos and Nannie (Yoder) Gingerich in Versailles, Mo.
After graduation from Hesston (Kan.) Academy in 1936, he attended Hesston College for two years and taught rural elementary school for two years. On May 22, 1940 he married Vesta Troyer of Hesston.
They moved to southeast Iowa, where he farmed for 31 years before returning to Hesston, where he was maintenance supervisor at Schowalter Villa until his retirement. He has lived in Kalona since 2005.
Over the years he was an active member of West Union Mennonite Church of Parnell, First Mennonite Church of Iowa City and Hesston Mennonite Church, volunteering for many church activities. He served with Mennonite Disaster Service and the Etcetera Shop in Newton, Kan., using his skills in maintenance and repair.
Survivors include his wife, Vesta; three sons, Keith L. Gingerich and his wife, Mildred, of North English, Kenneth A. Gingerich and his wife, Noreen, of Iowa City, and Roger P. Gingerich and his wife, Diane, of Aurora, Colo.; two brothers, Simon Gingerich of Goshen, Ind., and Clayton Gingerich of Kalona; six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Linda Hughes; three sisters, Lois Bender, Charity Troyer and Eunice Histand; four brothers, Leroy, Fred, Truman and Orie; and a granddaughter.
Memorial services were held at the Yoder-Powell Funeral Home in Kalona. Inurnment was at First Mennonite Church in Iowa City.
Moshier, Arnold Joseph
Arnold Joseph Moshier, 88, died Nov. 15, 2014, in Sarasota, Fla. He was born Oct. 17, 1926, to Aaron and Fannie (Gingrich) Moshier in Lowville, N.Y.
He was the first full-time music teacher at Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite School, starting in 1959. He founded Campus Chorale. He also directed the school's first play, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, each year. After 22 years, he left to pursue other interests, including teaching music to children at Lititz (Pa.) Mennonite School.
He started the Choraleers, a traveling music ministry, and directed the group for 40 years. The choir toured the United States, Central America, Jamaica and other places. They were the first group to sing with instruments in Lancaster Mennonite Conference churches. In 2008, when he was 81, he led about 75 of his former singers in a reunion concert.
He married Maietta Rose Lehman on May 8, 1948, in Croghan, N.Y.
He and Maietta started their life together on his parents' farm. After nine years they moved with their family to Harrisonburg, Va., so that he could pursue a degree in music education at Eastern Mennonite University. He graduated in 1960. He was a member of Bart Mennonite Church in Lancaster County and Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota, Fla.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Maietta Rose; four children and their spouses, Karen Moshier-Shenk and Steve Shenk of Harrisonburg, Va., Kay Moshier McDivitt and Michael McDivitt of Lancaster, Pa., Merv and Loren Moshier of Denver, Pa., and Arnold Jr. and Lenette Moshier of Bradenton, Fla.; a brother, Edwin; five grandsons; three granddaughters; six great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Elton.
Memorial services will be held at Mellinger's Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa., on Nov. 22.