Mennonite World Review - September 2019
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
.Mennonite World Review - September 2, 2019 - 97th Year, No. 18 - p. 15
Dyck, Gerald "Gerry" Paul
Gerald “Gerry” Paul Dyck, 80, of Assonet, Mass., died July 23, 2019. He was born April 4, 1939, to Walter Henry Dyck and Agnes Schmidt in Newton, Kan. He was the stepson of Martha (Suderman) Dyck.
He spent most of his life studying, performing, conducting, composing or teaching music. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from Bethel College, North Newton, Kan., and a master’s degree in sacred music from Union Theological Seminary, New York City. He was the director of the Greater New Bedford Choral Society for 44 years. He composed many choral works performed by the group. He was an organist and choir director for area churches and a music teacher in Dartmouth schools for 35 years.
From 1960 to 1963 he served in Thailand with Mennonite Central Committee’s Pax program teaching English and music. He developed a passion for Northern Thai culture and “Lanna” music, returning from 1967 to 1971 to teach at Thailand Theological Seminary. He contributed research to the Thai community by making field recordings of local musicians and photographic documentation of how instruments were made. He studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria, and taught music at Bluffton (Ohio) College before settling in the Dartmouth area.
An avid amateur astronomer, he built his own telescopes and observatories and was a member of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. He contributed 150,000 variable star observations, some of which were used by NASA. In 2012 he received the 43rd AAVSO Merit Award.
On a trip to England in the 1990s he developed a fascination with Wales and decided to learn Welsh.
Survivors include his wife of 29 years, Helga Edvardsen Dyck; four daughters, Ilse Dyck, Heidi Dyck, Laura (Jamie) Eckert and Kirsten (Mark) O’Dell; three stepsons, Rick (Debra) Magrath, Aaron (Leah) Magrath and Gunnar Magrath; a sister, Evelyn (John) Bertsche; a stepsister, Delores (Marvin) Bartel; stepsister-in-law Elvera Suderman; and seven grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his former wife, Edith (Fagerbourg) Dyck; a brother, Gordon Dyck; and stepbrother Charles Suderman.
A memorial service will be held Sept. 22 at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, New Bedford.
Neufeld, Abram "Abe" J.
Abram “Abe” J. Neufeld, 99, of Winnipeg, Man., died July 23, 2019, at Donwood Manor Personal Care Home. He was born May 2, 1920, to Johann and Anna (Enns) Neufeld in Sergeyevka, Ukraine.
The family moved to the Niverville area in 1926. He married his sweetheart, Irene Loewen, in 1946.
After graduating from Mennonite Brethren Bible College, he taught at Yarrow Bible School in British Columbia before moving to a brief pastorate in Kief, N.D., during which he continued his studies. After a short time at Tabor College, he moved with his family to Austria with the Mennonite Brethren Mission Board in 1954. Beginning with church planting in Linz, Austria, he and Irene’s work in mission would span a quarter century, most of it in Austria, but also in Switzerland and Germany. The last 15 years in Vienna, which came after seminary studies in Fresno and promotion work for the mission board, were among the most rewarding and successful. In 1983, he became senior pastor at Portage Avenue Mennonite Brethren Church, and then, on a part-time basis, at Elmwood Mennonite Brethren Church in the growing German-language ministry. He and Irene shared a lifelong dedication to ministry, counseling countless individuals and couples, even after retirement.
He was an excellent singer, modeling both skill and humility in using the gift in ministry. He was a gifted teacher, preacher, administrator and inventive pioneer in mission. His legacy lives on in the individuals and congregations he mentored and empowered. He was a gentle man, able to mix truth-telling with generous acceptance. Despite challenges of work and health crises in the family, his outlook on life was marked by astonishing and infectious gratitude and grace.
Survivors include three sons, Tom (Rebecca), Charles (Bonnie) and Gareth (Kathleen); two sisters, Lottie Durksen and Kathie Fast; sisters-in-law Regina Neufeld and Mary Loewen; brother-in-law Jake Bergen; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his spouse of 70 years, Irene, in 2016; three brothers, Jake, John and Pete; and three sisters, Annie, Mary and Helene.
Services were held at Portage Avenue MB Church.
Roth, Ina Kathryn Nofziger
Ina Roth, 92, of Fresno, Calif., died Aug. 18, 2019. She was born Oct. 27, 1926, to Daniel and Lydia Nofziger in Lebanon, Ore. She was the seventh of nine children.
She accepted Christ as her Savior and was baptized at age 12. Her church and her faith in God were an important part of her entire life.
She married Orie Roth on Oct. 8, 1946.
They farmed for several years. In 1952 they moved to Indiana to begin two years of voluntary service as hosts of the Mennonite guesthouse. There she took on the task of cooking for a steady stream of visitors while tending to two small children. After their service and four years while Orie studied at Goshen (Ind.) College, they moved back to Oregon to pastor Sweet Home Mennonite Church. Later they pastored Sugar Creek Mennonite Church in Wayland, Iowa.
She was very involved as a pastor’s wife. She accompanied Orie on many visits to church members and cooked a vast number of guest meals. She found time to visit her neighbors and was especially active in women’s sewing projects. At various times she worked in the kitchen at Pacific College and Hartland Camp in California. She also worked as a nurse aid at Parkview Home in Iowa.
She was a noted quilter and was known for the quilted wallhangings she donated to be sold at the Mennonite relief sale to raise money for world relief. After retirement, she and Orie sewed hundreds of comforters to be distributed worldwide.
Survivors include her husband of 72 years, Orie; a son, Karl (Myra) Roth; a daughter, Dawn Wileman; a daughter-in-law, Virginia Roth; eight grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by two sons, Dennis and Kevin; a son-in-law, George Wileman; and all of her siblings.
Memorial services were held at the Butler Church in Fresno.
Brown, Roland P.
Roland P. Brown, 93, of Newton, Kan., died Aug. 16, 2019. He was born June 5, 1926, in Kaichow, Hopei, China, to Henry and Maria Brown, who were missionaries in China.
In 1941, when the Japanese invaded China, his parents were taken as prisoners of war, and he was transfered to North Newton to stay with relatives. He completed his pre-med studies at Bethel College and graduated from medical school at the University of Chicago. A lifelong Mennonite, he performed alternative service in Idaho and New Jersey during his residency.
In the early 1950s, he was sent to the relatively underdeveloped east coast of Taiwan under Mennonite Central Committee. There, after becoming a medical missionary under the General Conference Mennonite Church, he established Mennonite Christian Hospital. In its earliest days it operated mobile clinics serving aborigines in mountainous regions of Hualien County. Today it is one of the premier medical facilities in eastern Taiwan, providing health care for both the general population and aboriginal communities. From the hospital’s inception in the 1950s until his retirement in the early 1990s, he performed both the roles of surgeon and hospital superintendent. He received The Order of the Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon (the highest civilian award in Taiwan), the Bethel College Outstanding Alumnus Award and a distinguished service award from the University of Chicago Alumni Association.
In college he met Sophie Schmidt in 1944. They were married in 1948.
They served as medical missionaries for nearly 50 years in Taiwan, except for two years as surgeon at the Indian Medical Center in Phoenix in the 1970s. They adopted three children: Cliff, Carol and Keith.
Survivors include his sons, Keith and Cliff Brown; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Sophie, in 2010; a daughter, Carol Ann Fynan; two brothers and two sisters.
A memorial service is scheduled for Sept. 14 at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton. A memorial has been set up for the Henry and Maria Brown Scholarship Fund and the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
Hiebert, John M.
John M. Hiebert, 82, of North Newton, Kan., died Aug. 17, 2019. He was born Dec. 4, 1936, to John and Marie Hiebert in Mountain Lake, Minn. He was baptized and a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake.
Despite growing up without a father, who was killed before John was born, he was nurtured by a loving mother who influenced his interest in learning, art and music.
After high school graduation he moved to North Newton, where he went to work at Mennonite Press before enrolling at Bethel College that fall. He continued to work at Mennonite Press for 50 years. In 1963 he became art editor of The Mennonite, a position he held for 34 years.
While at Bethel College, he met Margaret Koehn. They married in 1958 and became members of Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton.
He had a great a love of music. In college he enjoyed singing in a small group. Later he sang in the church choir, regularly attended the Wichita Symphony and was a volunteer for 15 years at Chamber Music at the Barn.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Margaret; two children, Matthew (Laurie) Hiebert and Kristen (Mark) Evans; and four grandchildren.
A celebration of life is being held at 3 p.m. Sept. 1 at Bethel College Mennonite Church. Memorials are suggested for Bethel College Mennonite Church and Kidron Bethel Retirement Services.
Kauffman, Ruth Unternahrer
Ruth Unternahrer Kauffman, 89, died June 21, 2019, in Lebanon, Ore. She was born Oct. 24, 1929, to Jacob and Mayme (Leichty) Unternahrer near Wayland, Iowa.
She graduated from Hesston (Kan.) College, where she met her future husband, Joe Kauffman. Then she went to La Junta, Colo., to attend the Mennonite School of Nursing. She and Joe were married in Raton, N.M., on July 18, 1952.
They remained in La Junta until the fall of 1953, when they returned to Joe’s home near Kalispell, Mont. Except for two years in Homer, Alaska, and one year near Salem, they resided in Kalispell until 2010. Then they moved to Lebanon to be close to family.
Her loving spirit put people at ease as she served others quietly behind the scenes. Over a 25-year period, she and Joe welcomed 60 foster children into their home. Often the love poured out on these hurting children was at great personal cost to her. She was deeply committed to this mission, which she felt God had called her to do.
She served faithfully at Mountain View Mennonite Church, Kalispell, where she and Joe were members. She taught Sunday school, vacation Bible school and participated in Women’s Sewing Circle. While in Oregon they were a part of Lebanon Mennonite Church.
She was known for her excellent baking skills. For many years she donated to, cooked for and served meals to the homeless in Kalispell.
Survivors include four daughters, Kristina (Leonard) Krabill and Amy (Todd) Borntreger, both of Lebanon, Tracy (Bruce) Drury of Libby, Mont., and Sandra Cannon of Buda, Texas; five sons, Brent (Debra) Kauffman of Lebanon, Doug (Sherry Jolley) Kauffman and Scott (Patti) Carlson, all of Kalispell, Raymond (Jasmine) Burland of Ronan, Mont., and David Kauffman of Deerlodge, Mont.; a sister, Edna Beckler of Kalispell; four brothers, Daniel of Shipshewana, Ind., Harold and John, both of Wayland, Iowa, and Clarence of Ainsworth, Iowa; 17 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband; a brother, Ralph; a sister, Mildred Beckler; a daughter, Kelli White; a son, Charles Upham; and a grandson, Jordan Carlson.
Memorial services were held at Mountain View Mennonite Church, Kalispell, and New Hope Church, Lebanon.
Mennonite World Review - September 16, 2019 - 97th Year, No. 19 - p. 15
Lehman, Harold Daniel
Harold Daniel Lehman, 98, of Harrisonburg, Va., died Aug. 25, 2019. He was born Jan. 26, 1921, to Daniel W. and Ada (Neff) Lehman in Millersville, Pa.
His family moved to Harrisonburg in 1921, where his father was a faculty member at Eastern Mennonite School. He received a two-year college degree at EMS in 1939 and began a lifelong teaching career at age 18 in Rockingham County. In 1942 he completed a bachelor’s degree at Madison College in Harrisonburg.
He was in Civilian Public Service from 1942 to 1946, serving in Galax, at a mental hospital in Pennsylvania and at Vineland Training School for mentally disabled children and adults in New Jersey. He married Ruth Krady of Lancaster, Pa., on Dec. 30, 1944.
Returning to Harrisonburg, between 1946 and 1967 he held several positions at Eastern Mennonite College and high school, teaching physical education and high school courses in English and American history, was director of the high school and was college registrar. He completed a master’s degree at Penn State University and a doctor of education degree from the University of Virginia in 1961. In 1967 he joined the department of secondary education at James Madison University, where he taught until retiring in 1986.
He was active in the Human Relations Council during the years of school integration in Rockingham County. As part of the Conrad Grebel lecture series sponsored by Mennonite Board of Education, he authored In Praise of Leisure in 1973. He wrote 50th anniversary histories of Laurelville Mennonite Church Center and Park View Mennonite Church, where he was a member. In retirement he and Ruth did voluntary service in England, helping compile a history of new religious movements. He played tennis until well into his 80s and maintained his inquisitive nature and love of learning.
Survivors include four sons, Kenneth (Jackie) Lehman, Daniel (Barbara) Lehman, David (Jan Harmon) Lehman and Larry (Jane Gatewood) Lehman; three brothers, Paul, Mark and James Lehman; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, in 2012, and by a sister, Elsie Lehman.
A memorial service will be held Oct. 6 at Park View Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg.
Epp, Robert O.
Robert O. Epp, 96, of Henderson, Neb., died Aug. 27, 2019. He was born July 20, 1923, to Heinrich D. and Elisabeth (Richert) Epp in Henderson.
He attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., in 1941, and during World War II served a farm deferment. In 1945, he worked as a wrangler on a ship transporting 700 horses to Europe, a project of the Brethren Service Committee and the United Nations. His ship was among the first to land in the Polish port of Danzig after the war. Seeing the destruction and death wrought by bombing and combat shaped his lifelong commitment to peace and social justice.
He studied animal husbandry at the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1950. He joined a farming partnership with his older brother Carl, raising wheat, corn, soybeans and Holstein dairy cattle.
On Sept. 29, 1961, he and Amelia Becker of Marion, S.D., were married by his father, Pastor H.D. Epp.
He was baptized in 1942 and became a lifelong member of Bethesda Mennonite Church. In the 1950s and 1960s he worked with church leaders in draft counseling and support for conscientious objectors. He served from 1967 to 1984 on the Henderson School Board.
He retired from farming in 1987 and joined Witness For Peace, learning Spanish and driving an ambulance as an observer in the war zone in Nicaragua during the Contra war for a year. In the 1990s and 2000s he took many service trips and served as a wartime peace observer and election observer with Witness For Peace and Christian Peacemaker Teams in Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, southern Mexico and Cuba.
A lifelong supporter of Nebraskans for Peace, he served many years on its board of directors. He received the University of Nebraska-Omaha School of Social Welfare’s Gandhi Award for Social Justice and Social Action in 2004, the University of Nebraska Alumni Achievement Award in 2008, and the Nebraskans for Peace Peacemaker of the Year Award in 2009.
Survivors include two sons, Timothy (Heidi Schmidt) Epp of Hyattsville, Md., and Charles (Lora Jost) Epp of Lawrence, Kan.; six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
He was preceded in death by siblings Dorothea Heath and Carl.
Memorials may be given to Mennonite Central Committee, Bethesda Mennonite Church or Nebraskans for Peace.
Kennel, Willard Peter
Willard Peter Kennel, 93, of Albany, Ore., died Aug. 26, 2019. He was born April 1, 1926, to Peter R. and Anna (Reeb) Kennel on the family farm near Shickley, Neb.
After high school, he entered Civilian Public Service, serving at Sequoia National Park, then at Veterans TB Hospital in Livermore, Calif. On June 18, 1947, he married Mae Etta Hershberger of Albany.
He worked at Mountain States Pacific Gas Co., then Western Veneer Plywood. In 1955 they moved to Siletz to assist the newly planted Logsden Mennonite Church while working at Georgia Pacific Plywood mill. While there for 10 years, he and Mae Etta helped build the new church, taught Bible school and served the church in many capacities. From 1966 to 2006, he served at Western Mennonite School as business manager, facilities manager and driver training instructor. He was a staunch supporter of Christian education.
In 2006 they moved to Mennonite Village in Albany, where he voluntarily finished woodwork in newly renovated homes, restored and refinished furniture and led Bible studies. He and Mae Etta were known for hospitality and service to others and the church. In addition to being a tireless, conscientious worker, he enjoyed teaching and discussing the Bible. His goal was that all would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He was known for being kind and considerate, never holding a grudge or harboring judgmental attitudes.
Survivors include five children: Russel (Maribeth) Kennel of Albany, Rachel (Wayne) Hickman of Etowah, Tenn., Julia (Wayne) Miller of Arlee, Mont., Janine (Barry) Rands of San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Lori Kennel of Philadelphia; 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mae Etta, in 2009; and a grandchild.
Memorials may be made to Western Christian School or Mennonite Central Committee.
Memorial services were held at Albany Mennonite Church.
Steiner, Susan Clemmer
Susan Steiner, 72, of Kitchener, Ont., died Aug. 26, 2019. She was born April 22, 1947, to Lester and Martha (Derstine) Clemmer near Souderton, Pa.
A graduate of Goshen (Ind.) College, she immigrated to Kitchener in 1969 to marry Sam Steiner, a Vietnam-era draft resister. She celebrated her 50th anniversary with her beloved life partner earlier in August.
She found the Mennonite community, the landscape and the multicultural setting of southwestern Ontario a good place to call home. A graduate of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Indiana, she was among the earlier Ontario Mennonite women in ministry. Ordained on Pentecost 1987, she served the congregations of St. Jacobs and Waterloo North as a pastor and four other churches as an interim pastor.
In retirement, she offered spiritual direction to church leaders as long as health permitted. Among her many volunteer commitments, she especially enjoyed writing a blog called “A Nourished Spirit” and co-leading a book club at Grand Valley Institution for Women. She was an active member of Rockway Mennonite Church, Kitchener.
Words were important to her. She authored numerous books, including a memoir, Flowing with the River. It was difficult to watch cancer decrease her ability to use them in her last weeks.
Her niece and four nephews and their families, and the children and grandchildren of her deceased brother Jim and sister-in-law Ethel, continued to inspire her.
Memorial services were held at St. Jacobs Mennonite Church. A private burial will take place at Detweiler Meetinghouse, Roseville, at a later date. Donations may be made to House of Friendship or Book Clubs for Inmates.
Kenagy, Amelia "Lois" Yake
Amelia Lois Yake Kenagy, 92, of Albany, Ore., died May 11, 2019. She was born Aug. 28, 1926, to Martha Erb Eby Yake and Clayton Franklin “C.F.” Yake, in Scottdale, Pa.
In 1948, she graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
From 1948 to 1950, she worked in Europe with Mennonite Central Committee, assisting refugees from Russia and Eastern Europe relocate to North and South America. Then she managed the Provident Book Store in Scottdale for five years before marrying Clif Kenagy and moving to Albany in 1955.
In Oregon she worked as a social worker until 1958. In 1969, the family moved to Corvallis to be close to the farm. She served on many church committees, locally and denominationally. In the Vietnam War era, she helped organize draft counseling services.
From the early 1960s until the 1980s, she managed the strawberry harvest operation for the family farm, annually employing 200-300 junior high and high school students. In the later years, she employed many Southeast Asian refugee families. She and Clif advocated for preserving farmland and were founding members of the land-use advocacy group, 1000 Friends of Oregon.
In the late 1970s, she helped establish and support Victim Offender Reconciliation Programs in Benton and Linn counties. After the tragic death of son Eric in a bicycle accident in 1986, the family founded the Eric Yake Kenagy Visiting Artist Series at Goshen College.
In the 1990s, she and Clif became outspoken supporters of gays and lesbians, both in the local community and in the Mennonite denomination. She worked on a Welcome Committee in the Mennonite Church, and together with Clif joined the local PFLAG group.
In 2010, she and Clif moved to the Mennonite Village in Albany. He preceded her in death in 2011.
Survivors include three children, Susan (Biene Schaefer) Kenagy of Dix Hills, N.Y., Peter (Tina Springer) Kenagy of Albany and Marguerite (Susan Tripp) Kenagy of Salem; three siblings, Ethel Metzler of Goshen, Ind., Stan Yake of Loudenville, N.Y., and Byron Yake of West Orange, N.J.; and eight grandchildren.
Memorial services were held at Albany Mennonite Church.
Contributions may be made to MCC or to Goshen College for the Eric Yake Kenagy Visiting Artist Fund.
Mennonite World Review - September 30, 2019 - 97th Year, No. 20 - p. 15
Horner, Thelma E. McKnight
Thelma E. Horner, 85, of Goshen, Ind., died Sept. 17, 2019, at Hospice House, Elkhart. She was born March 29, 1934, to Glenn and Louella (Warren) McKnight in rural Paw Paw, Mich.
She was married Dec. 31, 1955, to Glen Horner in Paw Paw.
She graduated from Western Michigan University in 1954 with an associate secretarial degree and received a master of divinity degree from Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary in 1987.
She served as an administrative assistant of Mennonite Board of Congregational Ministries from 1975 to 1978, conference coordinator of Ohio Mennonite Conference from 1978 to 1982, and conference coordinator of Illinois Mennonite Conference from 1995 to 1999. She also served in pastoral ministry, co-pastoring with her husband, Glen, at First Mennonite Church, Morton, Ill., as intentional interim pastor at Meadows Mennonite Church, Chenoa, Ill., and an interim with Glen at Orrville (Ohio) Mennonite Church. After retirement, she and Glen resided in Middlebury and at Greencroft, Goshen. She was a member of Waterford Mennonite Church, Goshen.
Survivors include her husband, Glen; a daughter, Elaine (Linford) Martin of Middlebury; a son, Carl (Stephanie) Horner of Wakarusa; a sister-in-law, Judy McKnight of Chippewa Lake, Ohio; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a brother, Perry McKnight.
Memorial services were held at Waterford Mennonite Church, Goshen. A private graveside service was held at Grace Lawn Cemetery, Middlebury. Memorial contributions may be given to the Center for Hospice Care.