September - December 2020
Mennonite World Review & The Mennonite merged September 2020
Anabaptist World, September 25, 2020, pages 34, 46-47, Vol. 1 No. 1.
Meyer, Albert J.
Meyer.- Albert J., retired assistant professor of physics at Goshen College and former executive secretary of Mennonite Board of Education, died July 31 at his home in Goshen, Ind., at the age of 90.
A promoter of Mennonite education, Meyer served on the Mennonite Board of Education for 28 years, coining the term "peoplehood education" in the 1970s to emphasize the distinctive focus of the Mennonite Church and its schools, colleges and seminaries.
"Dad was totally committed to Mennonite education," said Kathy Meyer Reimer, Goshen professor of education and Meyer's daughter. "Education had been transformative in his own life, and he thought Mennonites had a role to play in the education landscape." Meyer was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 24, 1929, the son of Jacob Conrad and Esther (Steiner) Meyer. At age 16 he went with a group of "sea- going cowboys" to deliver horses to Gdansk, Poland, after World War II.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Goshen College in 1950 and a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1954. On Aug. 21, 1954, he married Mary Ellen Yoder, who survives, along with five children. His Work abroad continued with two years in France as the regional director for Mennonite Central Committee. Later, he returned to Switzerland to serve for a year as a research assistant at the University of Basel before serving as the Mennonite liaison with the World Council of Churches and as the Mennonite representative on the Continuation Committee of the Historic Peace Churches in Europe.
Meyer taught in the physics department at Goshen from 1957 to 1960 before moving to Kansas to become academic dean and professor of physics at Bethel College. He returned to Goshen in 1966 as part-time professor of physics.
Much of his work was dedicated to the relationship between the Menno-nite Church and its colleges as executive secretary of Mennonite Board of Education. He continued in his roles at Goshen College and MBE until his retirement in 1995.
In 2009, he published Realizing Our Intentions: A Guide for Churches and Colleges with Distinctive Missions.
He was the first staff person for the joint Mennonite Church and General Conference Mennonite Church Interchurch Relations Committee.
Weaver, Mary Eby
Weaver.- Mary Eby, 91, of Goshen, Ind., died Aug. 22, 2020, at Greencroft Retirement Community. She was born June 11, 1929, to Henry and Anna Eby in Lancaster County, Pa.
She was an artistic person who loved creating art and filled her home with beautiful ceramic pieces and flowers. She grew up in Pennsylvania during the Great Depression in a Mennonite farm family.
She graduated from Goshen College in 1952, completing her degree in medical technology with transfer credit through George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She began her career at Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, Va. Over 30 years, she worked for a doctor in Elkhart, at Goshen Hospital and Santa Barbara [Calif] County Clinic. She married Henry [Hank) David Weaver Jr. on June 7, 1952.
She worked full time and raised four children in Goshen. She was active with gardening, bike riding, cross-country skiing and hiking. She loved being outdoors, especially in the mountains. With her patient, loving manner, she cared for her family, her patients, plants and pets.
Other places they lived included Harrisonburg, Va.; Elkhart; Boulder, Colo.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Phoenix; and Cary, N.C. They traveled all over the world, living at times in Lima, Peru; Kathmandu, Nepal; Warsaw, Poland; Agua Amarga, Spain; and Blagorvgrad, Bulgaria. After retirement, she spent her final years in Goshen.
She was a longtime member of College Mennonite Church. While in Santa Barbara, she was a member of Goleta Presbyterian Church, where she was an ordained deacon. In North Carolina she attended the Kirk of Kildare in Cary.
Survivors include her husband, Henry; four children, Sally [John] Weaver Glick of Goshen, Judy [Richard Aguirre) Weaver of Goshen, Debora Weaver of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., and J. Donald [Rosanna] Weaver of Hyattsville, Md.; seven siblings, Ethel Miller, Roy Eby, Aaron Eby, Henry Eby, Ann Hennely, Ruth Penner and Ivan Eby; and nine grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by two brothers, Martin Eby and Warren Eby.
Plans for a livestream memorial service are in development. Memorial donations may be sent to Goshen College.
Bertsche, John Arthur
Bertsche.- John Arthur, 91, of Normal, Ill., died Aug. 8, 2020. He was born May 28, 1929, to Arthur and Emma Eymann Bertsche in Pontiac.
He graduated from Pontiac High School in 1947 and worked on the family farm until February 1952, when he began a community development service assignment in Gulfport, Miss., through Mennonite Central Committee, which fulfilled his alternative military service requirement.
He graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., on May 26, 1958. That evening he married his classmate, Evelyn Dyck, at Bethel College Mennonite Church.
He attended medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago and completed his internship at Cook County Hospital. From 1964 to 1966 they lived in Haiti, where he served as medical director of a rural health facility operated jointly by MCC and Haiti's Public Health Service. Upon their return to the U.S. and after a three-year medical residency at Northwestern University, they moved to Bloomington-Normal, where he practiced internal medicine until his retirement in May 1998.
He and Evelyn served as a host family for nearly 40 overseas visitors. An avid runner and cyclist, he ran 13 marathons. Each June from 1996 through 2013, he participated in Biking Across Kansas. During retirement, he was a frequent volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and served as a mediator at the McLean County small claims court. In recent years he cared for his wife as her health declined and helped several immigrant Congolese families adapt to life in Bloomington-Normal.
He was an active member of Mennonite Church of Normal, a fan of the Chicago Cubs, a loyal driver and maintainer of Dodge cars, an enthusiastic supporter of Bethel College and a committed environmentalist who collected and recycled tons of aluminum cans.
Survivors include his wife, Evelyn; their children, Cynthia [Chuck] Regier and Daniel (Lynette) Bertsche; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Paul Bertsche; and a sister, Adele Reichert.
A memorial service will be planned in the future. Memorial gifts may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, Bethel College or Habitat for Humanity.
Mast, Sadie Swartzentruber
Mast.- Sadie 90, of Spencer, Okla., died Aug. 23, 2020. She was born May 27, 1930, to Enos Swartzentruber and Magdalena Bender in the Amish community of Kalona, Iowa.
In her mid-20s she moved to Red Lake, Ont., to work at an Indian school where she met Moses Mast, a young Amish man doing alternative service. They married July 28, 1960, in Iowa.
They returned to Canada to serve with Mennonite Voluntary Service in Alberta. While in Canada they adopted two sons. A few years later they moved to Spencer, where they became active members of the community and Moses served as pastor of Spencer Mennonite Church.
From 1987 to 1989, she and Moses were in San Marcos, Honduras, to serve in a camp of Salvadoran refugees. Her time in the camp was life changing, deepening her commitment to being in solidarity with the oppressed as Jesus did. From 1991 to 2007, she served with her husband on the pastoral leadership team at Joy Mennonite Church in Oklahoma City. After retiring from paid pastoral ministry, she continued to be active in the church and the community in many groups. She is remembered for her role in creating or continuing several significant events for peace and justice in Oklahoma City.
She was a friend and mentor to many: young mothers, undocumented immigrants, young adults getting started in activism, prisoners, conscientious objectors and lonely people in her community. She is remembered for her generosity, kindness, and her ability to use gentle means to persuade others. She was extremely frugal, seeing simplicity and solidarity with the poor as a core part of following Jesus. She never let age or other limitations stop her from finding some way to work for good.
Survivors include her husband of 60 years, Moses Mast; her sons, Marcus and James; and two grandsons.
She was preceded in death by her siblings Elden, Paul, Katie, Barbara, Lovina and Chris.
Memorial donations may be made to Christian Peacemaker Teams, Mennonite Central Committee and Amish Mennonite Aid.
Hostetler, Gloria Nan Bontrager
Hostetler.- Gloria Nan, 84, died July 24, 2020, in Anthony, Kan. She was born April 24, 1936, the oldest child of Emery and Bernice [Miller] Bontrager, in Hutchinson.
They lived near Yoder, where she attended the Daisy School with many Amish children. In 1948 the family moved to a farm in Scott County, where she graduated from Shallow Water High School as salutatorian while in the lower two-thirds of her class of three. She enjoyed playing the piano and giving lessons to many children. She attended Hesston College, graduating with an associate of arts degree in 1956. At Hesston she met Dwight [Spike] Hostetler from Harper, whom she married after graduation.
They raised three sons and one daughter, Doug, Mike, Rod and Lisa. When they left the farm she did the bookkeeping for their Otasco retail business.
When she moved to Harper she was not allowed to join the church because she was wearing wedding rings. She was told to remove the rings, join the church and then put the rings on. She replied, "I am not a hypocrite," and eventually convinced the church leaders to allow jewelry. She served as treasurer of South Central Mennonite Conference for more than 20 years. During this time she also served terms on the Hesston College Board of Directors and on the General Board of the Mennonite Church USA. She spent many weeks volunteering at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp. After her husband retired they volunteered at the camp, spending several weeks there each summer for 13 years.
She was diagnosed with Parkinson's and Lewey Body Dementia at the age of 76. ln 2017 she moved to Country Living Assisted Living in Anthony with her husband.
A memorial service and cremation burial was held at Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church and cemetery at Harper. A complete obituary may be seen at prairierosefuneralhomes.com and video of the memorial service at facebook.com/prairierosefuneralhomes.
Curry, Melvin E., Jr.
Curry.- Melvin E. Jr., 86, of San Diego, Calif., died April 10, 2020, at Alvarado Hospital. A native of Los Angeles, he was born Jan. 12, 1934, to Melvin E. Curry Sr. and Hilda (Derksen) Curry.
He obtained bachelor of arts and master of science degrees from San Diego State University in 1956 and 1964. He was a lifetime fan of SDSU athletics. He was an accountant with the San Diego County District Attorney's office for 18 years until he retired in 1999. His career began at Control Data Corp., U.S. Navy Electronics Laboratory and Ryan Aeronautical Co.
He served on the National Board of Delegates for Mennonite Disaster Service from 2012 to 2018, and when he died he was Southern California vice president for the California MDS Unit, having been involved in disaster relief support beginning with the Cedar Fire in 2003.
While living in Nebraska at age 9, he was credited with saving the life of his 3-year-old brother after he discovered a fire at the club where his father worked as a golf pro.
He became a member of the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol program of the San Diego Police Department in 2010. Past president of the Harbor chapter of the Kiwanis club, he remained active in their support to his neighborhood Rolando Park Elementary School. He was a former officer of the Junior Chamber of Commerce of San Diego, and the Elks Club, and until 2019 was a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West.
He attended First Church of the Brethren during its confederation with San Diego Mennonite Church, of which he was a charter member. He was a longtime officer of San Diego Mennonite Church and served as treasurer.
He was divorced from Mary Phillips Curry and stepfather to Steve Phillips, who predeceased him in 2007 and 2008. He enjoyed visiting his mother's hometown, Mountain Lake, Minn., and was best man for his closest cousin, Marlin Pankratz, who preceded him in death in 2014. He was also preceded in death by his brother, John Curry. Survivors include 10 maternal cousins.
Plans for a memorial service are pending.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
Anabaptist World, October 16, 2020, pages 46-47, Vol. 1, No. 2.
Schmidt, Paul Arthur
April 1, 1953 - September 8, 2020
Schmidt.- Paul Arthur, 67, of Madison, Wis., formerly of St. Louis, died Sept. 8, 2020, at UW Hospital and Clinics. He was born on April 1, 1953, to Walter and Esther [Dyck] Schmidt in Beatrice, Neb. He married Deborah Fortner on Aug. 12, 1978 after meeting at Goshen, (Ind.) College. They built their life together in St. Louis, where they raised their two children. He was a longtime member of St. Louis Mennonite Fellowship, active in church leadership and teaching Sunday school. His faith was reflected in his commitment to many peace and social justice issues. He was on the board of directors at Project Peanut Butter, an organization addressing malnutrition in Africa, and Project Cope, an organization dedicated to helping people returning from prison adjust to life at home. He would also join Bethesda Mennonite Church monthly to worship at the Mary Ryder Nursing Home in St. Louis. He moved to Madison this year to be closer to family while undergoing treatment for leukemia. He began attending Madison Mennonite Fellowship and enjoyed building relationships there. He enjoyed reading, listening to NPR, engaging in conversation, going on long car rides and spending time with his family. Survivors include a daughter, Amanda Schmidt; a son, Benjamin [Erik Paulson] Schmidt; his mother, Esther Schmidt; two sisters, Anita Schmidt and Julie (Donald Mokrynski] Schmidt; and a brother, John [Jean Wollmann] Schmidt. He was preceded in death by his wife, Deborah Schmidt. Memorials may be made in his name to Project Peanut Butter or Mennonite Central Committee.
Hunsberger, Naomi Derstine
August 9, 1933 - August 18, 2020
Hunsberger.- Naomi [Derstine], 87, of Goshen, Ind., died Aug. 18, 2020. She was born Aug. 9, 1933, to David D. and Mabel [High] Derstine in Telford, Pa. On June 13, 1959, she married Arlin K. Hunsberger at Blooming Glen, Pa. A 1951 graduate of Souderton High School and a 1955 graduate of Goshen College, she taught school in Pennsylvania before marrying Arlin. She and Arlin lived in Haiti for 18 years. She established what would become the MCC Self Help fair trade craft program in Haiti, hosted diplomatic entourages for a variety of church and government programs and started the Afternoon Sabbatical program at Goshen College. She was a member of College Mennonite Church. She loved to entertain people and loved when her family was together. She was an advocate for inclusion, especially in relationships between the college and community in Goshen and between Haitians and foreign workers in Haiti. She was a passionate sports fan and attended all of her children's sporting events. Survivors include her husband, Arlin; three children, Michael (Susan Graber) Hunsberger of New Zealand, Sally Ann (Michael Fay) Hunsberger of Washington, D.C., and Susan (Trevor Bechtel) Hunsberger of Ann Arbor, Mich.; two siblings, Thelma Swartzendruber and Joe Cressman; and three grandchildren. She was preceded in death by two children, Steven Ray and John Paul Hunsberger; and three siblings, Howard Swartley, David Derstine and Edna Hostetler. Services were held at College Mennonite Church, Goshen.
Hershey, Hiram Robert
May 27, 1926 - September 13, 2020
Hershey.- Hiram Robert, 94, of Harleysville, Pa., died Sept. 13, 2020, at Peter Becker Community. He was born May 27, 1926, to Adele Hostetter Hershey and Hiram Frey Hershey in Hamburg. While a student at a Mennonite college in Virginia, he heard on the radio Bach's B Minor Mass. Enthralled, he told his music professor he would like to know more about Bach. When the teacher replied that he knew little about this great musician, his mother found information about Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. He transferred to Westminster and in 1953 received a master of music degree there. At Westminster he was an assistant to the renowned German music scholar Julius Hereford. During 1956-1957 he studied sacred music at Union Theological Seminary. In 1949 he started his choral conducting career in Souderton with a group of teenage singers called the Voice of Youth. This evolved into an adult choir, the Franconia Lancaster Choral Singers. He conducted the Messiah almost 40 times. For a decade he directed music summer camp at Laurelville Church Conference Center. He was the first music teacher at Christopher Dock Mennonite School. In the 1970s at Mennonite Central Committee's request, he took his choirs on three summer trips to Baptist churches in the Soviet Union, with a fourth trip in 1987. A member of the Salford Mennonite Church, he assisted in the music program. He was broker and owner of Hershey Farm Agency. Through farm sales in Berks and Lancaster counties, he made friends in the Amish community and became their spokesman in Washington, D.C., as they attempted to become exempt from paying Social Security tax, which they viewed as insurance. President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill of exemption in 1965. Survivors include his spouse, Mary Jane Lederach Hershey; sons Hiram Peter (Mary Jane Mulcahey) Hershey, Thomas Lederach Hershey and James Lederach Hershey; a daughter, Mary Elizabeth (Merle Bergman) Hershey; and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by three sisters, Mary Rebecca Thomason, Miriam Seamann and Ruth Irion.
Wenger, Chester Lehman
April 10, 1918 - October 1, 2020
Wenger.- Chester Lehman, 102, of Lititz, Pa., died Oct. 1, 2020, at Landis Homes. He was born April 10, 1918, in Fentress, Va., to Amos Daniel and Anna May (Lehman) Wenger. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite School in 1936 and completed a bachelor's degree in biology at Bridgewater College. Drafted in 1941, he served in Civilian Public Service for more than four years as a conscientious objector during World War II. He and Sara Jane Weaver were married July 2, 1944. Called to Ethiopia in 1949 by Eastern Mennonite Missions, he served as a pioneer missionary educator. He provided leadership alongside Ethiopians during the birth of the Meserete Kristos Church, today the largest Mennonite-related church in the world. Returning to the U.S. in 1967, he directed the home ministries and evangelism program at EMM. In 1981 he became pastor of North End Mennonite Church outside the city of Lancaster. He and Sara Jane were instrumental in renaming the congregation as Blossom Hill Mennonite Church and revitalizing congregational life. He completed a Master of Divinity degree and pursued doctoral work in religious education. He retired in 1991 and stayed energetically engaged in church, education, business, gardening and vineyard and family activities. He and Sara Jane became advocates for inclusion of people with same-sex orientation in the church. His gift and passion was starting schools. In Ethiopia these included the Dresser Bible School for nurse aides, the Good Shepherd School for missionary children and Nazareth Bible Academy. In the U.S., he initiated the Paul-Timothy mentoring program, founded the Keystone Bible institute and directed Student and Young Adult Services for Mennonite students in eastern urban settings. He served on the board of Eastern Mennonite University, which honored him and Sara Jane with EMU's Centennial Award in 2017. He invested himself in numerous businesses, including a small family farm and vineyard. He loved his eight children (Betty Wenger Good-White, Margaret Wenger Johnson, Jewel Showalter, Chester, Sara Wenger Shenk, Mark, Philip and Thomas), 16 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. With his family he enjoyed games of competition, from croquet to Bible quizzes to volleyball. Nothing filled him with as much joy as acappella family four-part singing. His wife, Sara Jane, preceded him in death on March 23, 2018, as did his eldest son, Chester Lloyd Wenger, on Nov. 16, 2001.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
Anabaptist World, November 6, 2020, pages 46-47, Vol. 1, No. 3.
Rich, Elaine Sommers
February 8, 1926 - September 27, 2020
Sommers Rich.- Elaine, 94, died Sept. 27, 2020, in North Manchester, Ind. She was born Feb. 8, 1926, to Monroe and Effie [Horner] Sommers in Plevna. She committed her life to Christ and joined Howard-Miami Mennonite Church as a young teen. She graduated from Goshen College in 1947. She began teaching at Goshen that year and later received a master's degree from Michigan State University. She married Ronald Rich on June 14, 1953. He preceded her in death in 2014.
She was a writer, teacher, homemaker and church worker who could recite scores of poems. Everywhere she lived, she would either find or start a writers group. For 67 years she kept a journal. Among her books were Hannah Elizabeth [a semi-autobiographical children's novel about her childhood], Breaking Bread Together, Mennonite Women, Prayers for Everyday and Pondered in Her Heart. For more than 30 years she wrote a column for Mennonite Weekly Review. She taught at Goshen College, Bethel College in Kansas, the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, and Bluffton College, and was an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University, Bowling Green State University, Findlay College and Owens Community College. She was a TESOL instructor in the Ada and Bluffton public schools. She was active in First Mennonite Church of Bluffton, Ohio, and in the church at large. In Tokyo she chaired Church Women United. In Bluffton she coordinated World Day of Prayer observations for many years and served on the United Church Board. She served 12 years on the Commission on Education of the General Conference Mennonite Church. She was interested in fostering international peace and went to Hebron, Palestine, with Christian Peacemaker Teams; taught English at Chongqing University in summer 2000; and attended Mennonite World Conference in Calcutta, India, in 1997. She was a small but mighty woman who loved people, big ideas and the worldwide church.
Survivors include four children, Jonathan [Tai] of Union City, Calif., Andrew [Sally] of North Manchester, Miriam [JB] of Blacksburg, Va., and Mark [Kathy] of Yellow Springs, Ohio; and six grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Eel River Church of the Brethren at a later date.
Miller, Bernice Meyer
September 27, 1921 - September 28, 2020
Meyer Miller.- Bernice, 99, of Millersburg, Ohio, died Sept. 28, 2020, at Walnut Hills Retirement Community, Walnut Creek. She was born Sept. 27, 1921, to Elmer and Sarah [Liechty] Meyer on the family farm between Sterling and Rittman. She graduated from Creston High School in 1939 and Goshen College in Indiana in 1945 with a bachelor's degree in English education. One of her early teaching experiences included serving in a state school in Exeter, R.I. She married Sturges Miller on Dec. 28, 1946, at Oak Grove Mennonite Church, Smithville. Six months later they sailed for India, where they engaged in relief work with Mennonite Central Committee. Upon their return, they lived on the family farm, where they reared their four sons and cared for their parents in their declining years. She taught elementary school at Berlin and remedial reading in Winesburg for a total of 20 years. In later life, she and Sturges served as teachers in Nigeria under MCC for three years and in Tanzania under Eastern Mennonite Missions for two years. They were charter members of Millersburg Mennonite Church, where she was a Sunday school teacher and elder. She was an avid reader and organized the Holmes County Women's Book Club. She was the compelling force behind the founding of Save and Serve, the MCC thrift store in Millersburg, where she and Sturges volunteered as weekly managers during their retirement years.
Survivors include four children and their spouses: Joseph [Rebecca Slough] Miller of Elkhart, Ind., Ben [Elaine Hostetler] Miller of Millersburg, John Miller of Bakersfield, Calif., and Mark [Brenda Hershey] Miller of Reinholds, Pa.; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her husband, Sturges, in 2010; an infant son, Jonathan Miller; and siblings Paul Meyer, Vernon Meyer, Lois King, Art Meyer and Fred Meyer.
A memorial service was held at Martins Creek Mennonite Church. Memorial contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee or Eastern Mennonite Missions.
July 3, 1927 - October 3, 2020
Swartzendruber.- Gene, 93, of Hesston, Kan., died Oct. 3, 2020, at Schowalter Villa. He was born July 3, 1927, to George A. and Grace F. [Snyder] Swartzendruber in Newton. The family moved to St. Johns, Mich., when he was 2 years old. At age 19, he traveled to Hesston to attend Hesston Academy, in keeping with the family's strong value of Christian education. At the academy he met Velma Ewy of the Hesston area. They were married in the Hesston College chapel on Oct. 26, 1950. The couple resided in the Hesston area all of their married life. He farmed with Velma's father in their early married years. Given his ability in metalworking and machinery, he opened Hesston Machine and Welding in 1961 in a partnership with Jonathan Mast. He continued farming along with business ownership for many years. He had a reputation in the community as a capable, trustworthy machinist. His gift for repairing or even inventing exactly what a customer needed was one of his greatest strengths. The family attended Pennsylvania Mennonite Church in Zimmerdale. It was during this time that members of the congregation began the relief organization known today as Mennonite Disaster Service, and he quickly became involved. Pennsylvania Mennonite Church later became Whitestone Mennonite in Hesston, and he maintained a strong connection and involvement all his life. In his humble way he was a soft-spoken leader, a gentle mentor and a wise teacher to many.
Survivors include his wife, Velma; their three children, Sharon [Carl] Weaver of Hesston, Stanley [Sharon] Swartzendruber of Hesston and Mafra [Rene] Maust of Goshen, Ind.; four siblings, Evelyn Troyer of Hesston, Richard Swartzendruber of Valley Center, Larry Swartzendruber of Henderson, Neb., and Virginia Swartzendruber of Hesston; seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
He was preceded him in death by two siblings, Wayne "Druber" Swartzendruber and Robert "Bob" Swartzendruber.
A private inurnment service is being planned at Eastlawn Cemetery, the former site of Pennsylvania Mennonite Church. A memorial service for the public will be planned at a later date. Memorial gifts may be directed to Mennonite Disaster Service.
Martin, Katherine Schaefer
February 22, 1922 - October 5, 2020
Schaefer Martin.- Katherine, 98, of Columbus, Ohio, died Oct. 5, 2020, after a long journey with Alzheimer's and a short struggle with COVID-19. She was born Feb. 22, 1922, to William Schaefer and Katherine [Lehman] Schaefer in Lowville, N.Y. She was the consummate pastor's wife, mother and friend to those in need. Her husband Leon's work led them to churches in Pine Grove, N.Y., Glenwood Springs, Colo., Normal, Ill., Congerville, Ill., and Deep Run West, Pa. They eventually retired in Greencroft, Goshen, Ind.
Survivors include her children, Arlon [Sylvia] Martin of Santa Barbara, Calif., John [Sue] Martin of Columbus, Darrell [Cynthia] Martin of Minneapolis, Wayne [Ruthie] Martin of Willow Street, Pa., and Carolyn [Gareth] of Seattle; 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, J. Leon Martin; and a grandchild, Gabriella. Services will be held at a future time. Her children will forever be indebted to the staff of Columbus Alzheimer Care Center who, for the last five years of her life, accepted her and appreciated her for who she was and loved her like family.
Fisher, Floyd William
June 27, 1935 - September 22, 2020
Fisher.- Floyd William, 85, of Busby, Mont., died Sept. 22, 2020. He was born June 27, 1935, to Henry and Lucille Harris Fisher in Birney.
Hoveo'ke'hahtse, "Fly's About In The Shade,"
He attended St. Labre until the eighth grade. He worked at ranches in the Birney area until he was old enough to join the Navy in 1955. He was a hard worker, a role model, and instilled a good work ethic in his daughters and others. He gave his life to the Lord on Dec. 31, 1981, and was baptized on Jan. 3, 1982, at White River Cheyenne Mennonite Church at Busby. He served on the church council for many years. He was active with the Mennonite Indian Leaders Council, traveling throughout the United States and Canada and even to France and Switzerland. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1957. Upon his return at the Christmas powwow in Birney, his mom had an honor dance for him. There he met the love of his life, Louise Rising Sun. They were married on June 10, 1958, in Billings and made their home in Busby. He started his work career at Tongue River Boarding School in 1957. In 1961 he started working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, retiring in 1990 as the plant manager. In 1991, he started his position as buffalo manager for the Northern Cheyenne tribe. He grew fond of the buffalo and developed a special bond with the herd. As the buffalo manager he represented the tribe at the Intertribal Bison Cooperative Meetings, traveling to different states. He also worked for the Northern Cheyenne Housing Authority. After retiring he became the family babysitter, a job he loved.
Survivors include his daughters, Elizabeth M. Fisher [Allen Littlecoyote], Danetta Fisher and Gladys Limberhand [Elmore Limberhand III]; an adopted son, Christopher Myron of Phoenix; a brother, Llavando Fisher [Phyllis]; eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Louise, in 2014; brothers Henry Jr. and Doran Fisher; sisters Emmaline Spang and twins Cynthia and Alvina Fisher; and three grandsons.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
Anabaptist World, November 27, 2020. pages 46-47, Vol. 1, No. 4.
Derstine, Maxine Troyer
November 21, 1925 - October 17, 2020
Derstine.- Maxine Troyer, 94, of Dock Woods Community, Lansdale, Pa., formerly of Blooming Glen, died Oct. 17, 2020. She was born Nov. 21, 1925, to Jerry C. Troyer and Lizzie Mishler Troyer in Shipshewana, Ind. Valedictorian of her class at Shipshewana High School, she graduated from Goshen College in 1945 with an associate degree. There she met David F. Derstine; they married in December 1945. They served three years with Mennonite Central Committee, managing relief and re- building efforts in postwar Belgium. In 1951 she began her role as pastor's wife when David was ordained at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church. They shared in that ministry for 25 years. She was a treasured assistant to her husband, a quiet strength. She lived a life of humility and self-sacrifice, tending to the children and homemaking responsibilities, hosting overnight guests and preparing dinners for company. Having a gift for singing, she participated in a women's quartet and a mixed chorus, providing special music for worship. She was a member of the Grand View Hospital Ladies Auxiliary. Retirement from the pastorate at Blooming Glen brought new opportunities. With knowledge and understanding of her husband's new position as director of development for Dock Woods Community, she again supported and assisted him. She was employed at Dock Woods Community, processing applications for Dock Village and Dock Manor. They hosted many travel groups to destinations around the world. Moving to a Dock Gardens apartment brought them new friends and meaningful interactions for 11 years. After David's death, she lived there 13 more years until her health declined. Survivors include four children, Anne [Ken] Ehst, Daryl [Julie] Derstine, Barbara [Gordon] Weirich and John [Sheryl] Derstine; 10 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, David F. Derstine; two brothers and five sisters, Inez Hostetler, James Troyer, Dorothy Hershberger, Francis Troyer, Esther Schmucker, Rachel Klawitter and Genevieve Northage. Memorial contributions may be made to Living Branches Benevolent Care Fund, Blooming Glen Mennonite Church or to Mennonite Central Committee.
Bertsche, Evelyn Agnes Dyck
July 26 1936 - October 22, 2020
Bertsche.- Evelyn Agnes (Dyck), 84, of Normal, Ill., died Oct. 22, 2020, at the McLean County Nursing Home. She was born on July 26, 1936, to Walter and Agnes [Schmidt] Dyck in Newton, Kan. She grew up in Kansas and in Beatrice, Neb., where her father served as a pastor. In 1954 she graduated from Berean Academy in Elbing, Kan., then enrolled at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., majoring in chemistry. In the summer of 1955 she volunteered as a healthy test subject at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. She graduated on May 26, 1958, and was married that evening to her classmate, John Bertsche. They moved to Chicago, where John began medical school. She supported the family working in sales until their children's births. The family served from 1964 to 1966 with Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti, where she homeschooled the children and worked with artisans to produce crafts for sale in MCC Self Help stores. After three years in Evanston, where John completed his medical residency, the family moved to Normal, where she was a homemaker and volunteered with church and community organizations. She and John were members of Mennonite Church of Normal. In the 1980s she pursued her interest in pastoral ministry and spiritual direction, attending Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Washington, D.C. She served as associate pastor at Mennonite Church of Normal for 14 years. She served on the board of directors of Bethel College and was active in church conference leadership. In 1996, she retired and helped care for her aging parents. She enjoyed gardening, cooking and reading. She and John served as host family for nearly 40 international students. Survivors include two children, Cynthia [Chuck] Regier and Dan [Lynette] Bertsche; a sister, Delores [Marvin] Bartel; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, John; and three brothers, Gordon Dyck, Gerald Dyck and Charles Suderman. Her remains were interred at Ropp Cemetery, and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made out to Mennonite Central Committee and Bethel College.
Ortman, Maxine Mae Mueller
July 1, 1931 - October 24, 2020
Ortman.- Maxine Mae, 89, of Marion, S.D., died Oct. 24, 2020, at Tieszen Memorial Home in Marion. She was born July 1, 1931, to David J. and Lydia [Graber] Mueller on the Christian Mueller homestead in Turner County and grew up in the scenic Turkey Ridge Valley. On May 25, 1947, she was baptized and received into the membership of Salem Mennonite Church. She later transferred her membership to Salem-Zion Mennonite Church, rural Freeman, where she remained a faithful member until her death. She received her formal education at District #96, a rural Turner County elementary school, and graduated from Freeman Academy, Freeman Junior College and Sioux Falls College. On May 24, 1952, she married Delmar Ortman, and they shared 68 years together. They established their home on the parental Ortman farm north of Marion. To this union three children were born: David Elliott, Jean Yvonne and John Carlton. For more than 30 years she taught in rural schools and in the Marion and Chamberlain school systems. She retired from teaching in 1996. Music was an important part of her life; she was a pianist and organist and enjoyed singing in choirs. She was involved with Mennonite Women, Freeman Academy Auxillary and Freeman Regional Health Services. She taught Sunday school and Bible school and served as a volunteer at the Et Cetera Shop. Survivors include her husband, Delmar; son David [Ann Marchand) Ortman; daughter Jean Detrich; and son John [Linda] Ortman; her brother, Bruce Mueller; her sister, Harriet Kaufman; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a sister-in-law, Elva Mueller; a brother-in-law, Elrod Kaufman; and a son-in-law, Karl Detrich. A memorial service is being planned for 2021. Memorial contributions may be given to Freeman Academy.
Gaeddert, John Wesley
February 7, 1924 - November 12, 2020
Gaeddert.- John Wesley, 96, of North Newton, Kan., died Nov. 12, 2020, at Kidron Bethel Village. He was born Feb. 7, 1924, to Peter R. and Lena [Janzen] Gaeddert in Nowata County, Okla. He was baptized in Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church in rural Inman, Kan. A graduate of Bethel College with a degree in music education, he later obtained degrees from Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. During World War II he was drafted as a conscientious objector and served in California. He married Mary L. Voran on June 1, 1951, at Bethany Mennonite Church in Kingman County, Kan. After teaching music for three years at Lehigh and Hillsboro, he felt called to ministry and moved his family to Chicago and then Elkhart, Ind., to attend seminary. He pastored Bethesda Mennonite Church, Henderson, Neb.; Tabor Mennonite Church, rural Newton; and First Mennonite Church, Halstead. He often directed the church choir. Interspersed with these pastorates were administrative positions: three years as country director for Mennonite Central Committee in Congo; director of admissions for Bethel College; and executive secretary of education for the Commission on Education of the General Conference Mennonite Church. In retirement he produced hundreds of sculptures, many from his favorite medium, bristlecone pine. In 2016, Bethel College hosted a retrospective of his work. He was a person of deep faith and longing for justice. He loved a good joke, fishing, tennis and peppering his speech with Low German phrases. Survivors include his wife, Mary; three children, Susan [Allan] Bartel of North Newton, Dee Gaeddert [Jim] Dorsey of Grant, Minn.; and Russell [Jean Flickinger] Gaeddert of Hutchinson; a sister, Velma Stoesz of Mountain Lake, Minn.; four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Lorene Balzer and Erma Goering; and two brothers, Melvin and Elmer Gaeddert. A private memorial service and interment is planned. Memorial gifts may be made to Bethel College, MCC or Kidron Bethel Village.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
Anabaptist World, December 25, 2020, pages 46-47, Vol. 1, No. 5.
Hege, Arlene Emma Landis
September 22, 1925 - November 15, 2020
Landis Hege.- Arlene Emma Landis Hege, 95, of Landis Homes, Lititz, Pa., died Nov. 15, 2020, at her residence. She was born Sept. 22, 1925, to Edwin W. and Anna Witmer Landis in Lampeter. She married Nathan B. Hege on May 1, 1951. She was a member of Willow Street Mennonite Church and a 1950 graduate of Goshen College. Along with her husband, she was a missionary in Ethiopia from 1950 to 1974 as a teacher and in production of Christian literature in the Amharic language. She published two books, Christian Family Living and a commentary on Jeremiah and directed their translation and editing into Amharic.
She later worked at Provident Book Store, Lancaster, in the book department until her retirement in 1995. She also taught Sunday school at Willow Street Mennonite Church. In 1998 she assisted Nathan in writing Beyond Our Prayers, a 50-year history of the Meserete Kristos church in Ethiopia.
Survivors include her husband, Nathan; a daughter, Beth Ann [Matthew] Bonk of Lancaster; a son, Harold Wharton (Pat) Hege of Delran, N.J.; a daughter-in-law, Sylvia P. Hege of Johns Island, S.C.; sisters-in-law Almeda Groff Landis of New Holland, Barbara Risser of Harrisonburg, Va., and Dorothy [Marvin] Groff of Canton; brothers-in-law John K. Brenneman of Lancaster and David [Arlene] Hege of Grantville, Ga.; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a sister, Alta M. Landis; a brother, Edwin J. Landis; sons John Allen and Peter Nathan Hege; and sisters-in-law Lois Hege Brenneman and Martha Kreider.
Yoder, Doris Zehr
August 3, 1926 - October 18, 2020
Yoder.- Doris, 94, of Eureka, Ill., died Oct. 18, 2020, at the Apostolic Christian Home. She was born Aug. 3, 1926, to Peter and Louisa [Sutter] Zehr near Deer Creek. In 1946 she married Robert [Bob] Yoder of Eureka. He preceded her in death in 2014.
She graduated from Deer Creek High School and studied for one year and two summers at Goshen [Ind.] College to obtain a teaching certificate during World War II. Before marriage she taught grades 1-8 at Maple Lawn Country School, teaching her students to sing in three-part harmony. She and Bob farmed in Woodford County and raised four children. She taught Sunday school, vacation Bible school and led children's choirs at Roanoke Mennonite Church, where she was a member. She co-founded the Et Cetera Shop in Eureka as a thrift store and Mennonite Central Committee self-help store.
She and Bob were interested in and dedicated to overseas and domestic mission and service programs of the Mennonite church. She was a gracious hostess to many visitors in their home. She loved birds, flowers and God's wondrous creation. A lover of sacred and classical music, she was an accomplished pianist, taught piano lessons and taught her children and others to enjoy music, especially singing hymns and choruses. She encouraged her children and grandchildren to study, live and serve overseas, broadening her international interests. Her Christian commitment widened gradually from a more sectarian Mennonite one to a more ecumenical one, including a firm friendship with her Roman Catholic spiritual director.
Survivors include four children, Michael [Carolyn] of Eureka, Susan [Cecil] Graber of Denver, Daniel of Eureka and Erik [Leanne] of Tucson, Ariz.; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob; a granddaughter, Rebecca Yoder; and all her siblings, brothers Orrie, Roy and Milton Zehr and sisters Velma, Fannie and Mary Zehr.
Nissley, David Lowell
March 29, 1921 - November 25, 2020
Nissley.- David Lowell Nissley, 99, of Sarasota, Fla., died Nov. 25, 2020. He was born March 29, 1921, to Frank C. and Jessica Madden Nissley in Lemoyne, Pa. He attended 11 schools during his early life and graduated from Hillsborough High in Tampa. He served in Civilian Public Service as a dairy tester and a forester in Virginia. He married his lifelong sweetheart, Miriam Alberta Brackbill, on July 5, 1947.
After college graduation in 1950, he was called to the ministry to pastor Crystal Springs Mennonite Church in Kansas and later two pas- torates in Kansas City. In 1964 the family moved to Goshen, Ind., where he worked for Mennonite Mutual Aid, the precursor of Everence. His career continued as a development officer with Berea College in Kentucky and director of development at Hesston College in Kansas. They moved to Sarasota in 1973, where they lived for 47 years.
He was a gifted writer, having published two books, Where Do All the Memories GO in 1998 and The Lincoln Highway in 2006. He wrote numerous articles in church periodicals that prodded us to be better people. His passion for justice and equality for all were bedrock values. He had a warm sense of humor that made him a joy to be around and a supply of jokes for any occasion. Photography, writing, cars and history were passions for him.
His was a life of church work, family and service to others. Generosity to everyone was a hallmark for him and Miriam. Survivors include his wife of 73 years, Miriam; two children, Dale [Garnet] Nissley of Hershey, Pa., and Ruth [John] Townson of Sarasota; a brother-in-law, Alexander Limont; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
March 22, 1921 - November 8, 2020
Unruh.- Otis, 99, of North Newton, Kan., died Nov. 8, 2020, at Bethel Health Care Center. He was born March 22, 1921, to Heinrich B. and Maria [Voth] Unruh on a farm near Goessel. The family moved to Halstead in 1937, where he graduated from Halstead High School in 1939. He attended First Mennonite Church in Halstead. On June 11, 1941, he married Vera Matthies, also of rural Halstead, at First Mennonite in Halstead. They made their first home in Halstead. A year later, he was drafted and served as a noncombatant during World War II at an army hospital in Oxford, England, till 1945. After the war they made their home in Newton, where he worked for the rail mill and then for Kansas Gas & Electric Co. from 1946 to 1986, retiring at age 65. They lived in Newton from 1947 to 2002, when they moved to Kidron Bethel Village. After retirement, he and Vera enjoyed spending the winters in Arizona. They made these trips for 22 years. Family times were always important, especially for holidays and special occasions.
He was active at First Mennonite Church in Newton, serving as a Boys League leader, on the board of trustees and the board of deacons. He enjoyed singing with the chancel choir. One of his favorite activities was singing with the Kansas Mennonite Men's Chorus for more than 40 years from its beginning in 1978.
He and Vera made several memorable trips. They traveled to Hawaii for their 40th wedding anniversary and attended Mennonite World Conference in Strasbourg, France, which also included a two-week trip to the Holy Land. He liked doing woodworking projects in his garage shop and made many wooden toys for his grandchildren.
Survivors include three children, Wayne [Laura] Unruh, Daryl [Cindy] Unruh, and Sandy; a sister-in-law, Mary Janzen; four grand- children; five great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 72 years, Vera, in 2013; and his sisters Hunora, Rosetta, Velma, Darlene and Annetta.
Hertzler, Maurice Edward
May 25, 1933 - November 30, 2020
Hertzler.- Maurice Edward, 87, died Nov. 30, 2020, at his home in Northumberland County, Pa. He was born May 25, 1933, to Alta [Burkhart] and Owen Hertzler in Mechanicsburg. He grew up on his parents' dairy farm and attended Slate Hill Mennonite Church. He graduated from Messiah Academy. In 1957 he volunteered to go overseas for alternative service as a conscientious objector. Mennonite Central Committee asked him to go to Indonesia, where he worked for three and a half years with an agricultural cooperative and alongside a team of health-care workers.
He returned to Mechanicsburg and joined his brother Jason in setting up a dairy farm in Montour County. There he attended Beaver Run Mennonite Church and met Rhoda Zeager. They were married in 1965. After Pennsylvania Power and Light chose the farm site for a power plant, the brothers bought Buttonwood Spring Farm in Limestone Township in 1968, where they milked cows. In 1976, he and Rhoda bought farmland and a house across the county line, where they raised corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, green beans and peas. In 2010, they built their retirement home on the other side of the farm and attended Com- munity Mennonite Fellowship in Milton.
He was a man of faith who appreciated soil and liked to plant trees. He knew how to keep old machinery going for decades. He heeded the call of the prophet Micah to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. He believed in loving his neighbors, which he understood as extending to the whole world. He led hymns in church and sang in quartets or solo.
Survivors include his wife, Rhoda; three children, Douglas [Jodi-beth McCain] of Mount Rainier, Md., Michael [Deborah Steinberg] of Port Matilda, and Karen [Brady Crist] of Lewis Township; a sister, Janet Pobst of Atascadero, Calif.; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his other siblings, Elma Ebersole, Jason, Norman, Iva Mae, Esther Longenecker, Melvin, Emma Jean Zimmerman and Verna Vann.
Transcribed by: John Ingold