January - March 2021
Mennonite World Review & The Mennonite merged September 2020
Anabaptist World, January 22, 2021, pages 38-39, Vol. 2, No. 1.
Goertzen, Mary Lou Rich
August 2, 1929 - October 20, 2020
Goertzen-. Mary Lou (Rich), 91, died Oct. 20, at home in "the blue schoolhouse" in Deadwood, Ore. She was born Aug. 2, 1929, to Willis Rich and Hulda Penner Rich in Harvey County Kansas. She graduated from Bethel College, North Newton, Kan., in 1951. She married Ernie Goertzen, a fellow Bethel student, on July 3, 1951. In 1965, they moved to Berkeley, Calif., where Ernie and she took art classes and began creating paintings and drawings, which they sold in art markets in Berkeley and Mill Valley. During the Berkeley years, they became committed to the anti-Vietnam War movement, including hiding soldiers in their home who had decided to become conscientious objectors. In 1975, they moved their family to the country and bought an old schoolhouse in Oregon's Coast Range.
She is probably most widely known for her delicate pen-and-ink drawings, with splashes of watercolor, of flowers, fruit and plants. In the mid-1970s, some of her art cards and prints sold at the New York Botanical Garden caught the attention of Jay Block, CEO of his family's company, Block China. Block came himself from New York to Deadwood to talk her into putting her designs on a Block China porcelain dishware series, in production from 1980 to 1990.
Survivors include her children, David Goertzen, Anya Goertzen Lecuyer and Jonevan Goertzen; a sister, Suzanne "Mardy" Rich Osborn; and one grandson. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Ernie; and her siblings Carol and James. She was buried next to Ernie on their Deadwood property, in a grave dug by neighbors (as was his), in a shroud she made herself, as she also did for him. Memorials may be given to Bethel College and Mennonite Central Committee.
Lehman, J. Paul
July 7, 1926 - December 22, 2020
Lehman-. J. Paul, 94, of Newport News, Va., loving husband and father of two children, died Dec. 22, 2020. He was born July 7, 1926, to Daniel and Ada (Neff) Lehman in Harrisonburg. On June 25, 1949, he married Erma Malinda Yoder of Newport News.
While raising his young family, he worked in various capacities including chicken farmer, milk delivery and bookstore owner. From 1964 to 1973, he and Erma served as dorm parents at Good Shepherd School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They returned to Africa in 1979, this time in the role of host couple at the Mennonite Guest House in Nairobi, Kenya, until 1990. He always made time for children, creatively engineering fun. He is remembered for his adventuresome spirit, humor and quirky sayings. He loved hiking, model airplanes, ice cream, mowing grass and singing. In retirement he volunteered at Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center. He was dedicated to his local church.
Survivors include his wife, Erma; two children, Wayne Lehman and Lois (Lehman) Blosser; two brothers, Mark Lehman and James Lehman; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by an older brother, Harold; and a sister, Elsie.
Stoltzfus, Mary H.
____ - December 24, 2020
Stoltzfus-. Mary H., 86, of Belleville, Pa., and formerly of Gap, died Dec. 24, 2020. She was the wife of Paul H. Stoltzfus, with whom she celebrated 64 years of marriage.
Mema, as she was affectionately known by her family, will be remembered for many things, including the brilliant splashes of color displayed in geraniums, pansies, tulips and rose bushes that adorned her residence. She enjoyed hosting family and friends and spent many hours in the kitchen preparing and sharing her creations of tasty delights. Many memories were created in the process of passing this skill and talent on to her daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters.
Survivors include her husband, Paul; four children, Ken (Bonnie) Stoltzfus of Belleville, Kevin (Beverly) Stoltzfus of Belleville, Karen (David) Mast of Akron and Kirt (Karen) Stoltzfus of Alto, Mich.; 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Friesen, Ruby Esther Ensz
November 22, 1923 - November 14, 2020
Friesen-. Ruby Esther, 96, of Mount Angel, Ore., died Nov. 14, 2020. She was born Nov. 22, 1923, to John H. and Katie Ensz Friesen in American Falls, Idaho.
Growing up on a farm, she became close to her older sister Margaret, especially since Ruby skipped a grade, and they took the same classes from third grade through the second year of college. At age 16 she attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., to prepare to be a teacher. After one year she returned to Idaho to attend Albion State Normal School to get her teaching certificate. She taught for four years and then returned to Bethel to graduate. She then went on to library school at the University of Denver. She began her library career in Twin Falls, Idaho. In 1952 she was hired at Salem Public Library. She chose Salem because she wanted to stay in the western part of the United States to be close to family and go to a city with a Mennonite church. She worked at the Salem library for almost 30 years as a reference librarian, and at the time of her retirement was assistant director. She continued to volunteer at the library for another 13 years.
Before starting work at Salem, she did a year of voluntary service with Mennonite Central Committee as an activity director at a mental hospital in Reedley, Calif. Salem Mennonite Church became her church family in 1977. She helped begin the Salem Mennonite Book Club in 1991 and served as church librarian and historian. Family was important to her, and she spent many holidays traveling home to be with her parents and siblings. Mount Angel Friesen Towers was her home from 2008 until her death.
Survivors include 16 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by all eight of her siblings and two nephews. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations may be given to MCC, Bethel College, Salem Mennonite Church or Salem Public Library.
October 28, 1921 - November 20, 2020
Slabaugh-. Daniel, 99, of Sturgis. Mich., died Nov. 20, 2020, at Thurston Woods in Sturgis. He was born Oct. 28, 1921, to Moses J. and Anna (Yoder) Slabaugh near Kokomo, Ind. At age 14 he accepted God's plan of salvation, accepting Jesus Christ into his life as Savior, Lord and Master. He graduated from Topeka High School in 1940, attended Eastern Mennonite College and then Purdue University.
In 1942, he was drafted and served from 1942 to 1946 as a conscientious objector against war with Civilian Public Service as a surveyor for the Bureau of Reclamation in South Dakota and later in charge of the receiving wards at a mental hospital in Pennsylvania. After the war he worked to support his family and attended Goshen (Ind.) College, where he graduated in 1953.
He married Ethel Salina Lehman on Aug. 14, 1954, at Goshen. They lived in Detroit for three years before moving to a farm near Whitmore Lake. He was a Registered Medical Technologist and worked for 32 years as supervisor of medical labs (both a private lab in Livonia and at St. Joseph Hospital in Ypsilanti).
In 1966 he was ordained as a minister of the Mennonite Church and served at Ann Arbor, where he served as a self-supporting pastor for 20 years until his retirement. He also built a new house and two barns on the farm and after retiring raised raspberries and feeder pigs. In 1994, he and his wife sold the farm near Whitmore Lake and moved to Sturgis. During his retirement he was asked to serve as interim pastor at Toledo Mennonite Church. He was a member of Marion Mennonite Church.
Survivors include his children, Mark (Lannie) of Dansville; Martha (David) Bryja of Farmington Hills, Marvin (Betsy) of Kalona, Iowa, and Mary (Daniel) Carlson of Niskayuna N.Y.; seven grand-children and a great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel, in 2018; eight sisters and six brothers. Contributions may be made to Thurston Woods Village, Sturgis.
Leatherman, Esther M.
(90)-November 15, 2020
Leatherman-. Esther M., 90, of Souderton, Pa., died Nov. 15, 2020, at Souderton Mennonite Homes. She was born to Joseph G. and Anna (Meyers) Leatherman in Bedminster. She was a graduate from college with a nursing degree. Her employment started at Myers pie factory and then Eastern Mennonite Homes. She was employed as a nurse for Souderton Mennonite Homes for more than 40 years before retiring in 1996. Funeral services were held at Deep Run Mennonite Church East, Perkasie.
Liechty, Miriam Kuhns Zehr
February 14, 1928 - January 3, 2021
Liechty-. Miriam Kuhns, 92, of Berne, Ind., died Jan. 3, 2021. She was born Feb. 14, 1926*, to Anna (Shupe) and Allen Kuhns in La Junta, Colo. Her childhood was spent in multiple locations throughout Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. She attended high school at Hesston Academy in Kansas and graduated in 1950 from the La Junta Mennonite School of Nursing.
After graduation, she was employed at the Mennonite Deaconess Hospital in Beatrice, Neb. While there she met and married Edmund Zehr, who was serving as hospital administrator. After Edmund's death in 1957, she relocated to Goshen, Ind., and in 1959 completed training in Chicago as an anesthesia practitioner, becoming one of the nation's first Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. She practiced anesthesia at Caylor-Nickel Clinic in Bluffton. Bluffton being close to Berne, she relocated her young family to Berne and attended First Mennonite Church. There she met Robert Liechty, whom she married in 1961. Robert lovingly adopted all four Zehr children, and they were blessed with two additional children.
She was born into a faithful Mennonite family, and during her adult life she was a member of Mennonite congregations in Hesston, Beatrice, Goshen and Berne. Survivors include her husband, Robert Liechty; six children, Edward (Mary Purves) and Daniel (Naomi Wilansky) Liechty, Mary (Peter) Graber, Martha (Paul) Conrad, Margaret (Phillip) Sprunger and Janet (Phillip) Liechty Martens; 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Edmund Peter Zehr; sisters Helen Freeman, Hazel Hershberger, Eunice Shellenberger, Anna Inez Fry and Lois Ramseyer; and brothers Paul Kuhns, Allen Kuhns and James Kuhns.
[* Other records show her birth year as 1928, which would make her 92. See LP2021 L ] tlm
Nyce, Ruth Opal Yoder
March 21, 1927 - December 10, 2020
Nyce-.Ruth Opal Yoder, 93, of Archbold, Ohio, died Dec. 10, 2020, at Fairlawn Haven in Archbold. She was born March 21, 1927, in Louisville to Fred and Emma (Miller) Yoder. She grew up in Louisville and graduated from Louisville High School in 1945. After high school, she attended Goshen College in Indiana, where she received a bachelor's degree in music. She married Robert W. Nyce on Aug. 2, 1950, in Louisville. After their marriage they moved to Pennsylvania, where Bob attended Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia. She taught music during this time in country schools and Blooming Glen High School. In 1956 they moved to Fayette, where they lived for 50 years.
She was involved in the community, serving on the Opera House Board, performing in the Pretenders, and she was a member of the Fayette Women's Club. She was very supportive of "Doc Nyce's" medical practice for 47 years. Music was an important part of her life. She directed women's choirs, mixed choirs, accompanied musicals at school and directed the bell choir at Zion Mennonite Church for 20 years, where she was a member. She accompanied many local soloists. She enjoyed camping trips, cooking and entertaining. She spent time each summer with the "Lake Gang," which included her good friends from Fayette.
Survivors include four children, Karen (Randy) Stuckey of West Unity, Richard (Eileen) Nyce of Pettisville, Susan (Kirk) Stiffney of Goshen, Ind., and Philip (Maribeth) Nyce of Jones, Mich.; 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Robert W. Nyce; a son, William Jay Nyce; and all her siblings, Orris, Ray, Mabel, Paul, Esther and Orville.
Private interment was at Pleasant View Union Cemetery in Fayette.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
AnabaptistWorld, March 5, 2021, page 47, Vol. 2, No. 3.
Michalovic, Stephen R.
July 17, 1939 - December 23, 2020
Michalovic.- Stephen R., 81, of Philadelphia, Miss., died Dec. 23, 2020, at Okatibbeha Medical Center due to complications of COVID-19. He was born July 17, 1939, to Stephen M. and Elsie [Riban] Michalovic in Chicago. As a child he attended Sunday school at the Mennonite Home Mission, which later became Union Avenue Mennonite Church. As a result of faithful attendance, he was able to participate in the "Fresh Air" program, going to rural Indiana each summer, staying at the home of Paul J. and Ruth Miller of Shipshewana, Ind. He accepted Christ as Savior and was baptized at the Home Mission as a teenager. He gave thanks to the Millers for their example of Christian living.
Starting In 1959 he served two years in voluntary service in Kansas City working as a hospital orderly. There he felt the Lord's call to health care to become a registered nurse. He attended Mennonite School of Nursing in Bloomington, Ill., graduating in 1964. In December 1964 he married Edith Neufeld. They lived in Goshen, Ind., while he completed studies at Goshen College. He worked as a nurse in Walsenburg, Colo., Gallup, N.M., and in 1976 moved to Philadelphia, Miss. For 40 years they were involved with Pearl River Mennonite Church, a Native American ministry. He liked railroads and was a train watcher and modeler.
Survivors include his wife, Edith; a son, Mark [Sherri] Michalovic; a daughter, Kay [David] Durant; three sisters, Phyllis Weinhold of Manteno, Ill., Nancy Pena of Victoria, Texas, and Marie Wheeler of North Pekin, Ill.; a brother, Tom Michalovic of Western Springs, Ill.; and two grandchildren.
Graber, Mary Ida Nachtigall
June 20, 1933 - January 28, 2021
Graber.- Mary Ida, 87, of Goessel, Kan., died Jan. 28, 2021, at Bethesda Home. She was born June 20, 1933, to John A. and Matilda [Hofer] Nachtigall in rural Freeman, S.D. She graduated from Freeman Academy in South Dakota. She obtained her bachelor's degree in home economics and later graduated from Emporia State University with a master's degree in school counseling. She was a pastor's wife and held many positions in the church. She was a beloved home economics teacher in Emery, S.D., Versailles, Mo., and Goessel, where she also served as a school counselor.
She married Ralph Graber on Aug. 29, 1953, in Freeman, S.D. He preceded her in death in 2002. Survivors include six children, Douglas [Nancy] Graber of Goshen, Ind., Donovan Graber of Galva, Warren [Lisbeth] Graber of Sioux Falls, S.D., Joan Kaufman of Harrisburg, S.D., Anita Bailey of Panama City Beach, Fla., and Corbin [Tonya] Graber of Divide, Colo.; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph; two brothers, Alfred and Andrew Nachtigall; a sister, Alice Ulrickson; and a grandson, Matthew Graber.
Woods, Maurine Neufeld
June 27, 1932 - January 29, 2021
Woods.- Maurine, 88, of Tucson, Ariz., died Jan. 29, 2021, of complications from COVID-19 at the Tucson Medical Center hospice house. She was born June 27, 1932, to Albert and Anna [Miller] Neufeld on the farm that her grandfather homesteaded near Hanston, Kan. She was baptized as a teenager and became a lifelong member of Hanston Mennonite Church. She graduated from high school in Hanston. She attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., graduating in 1955 with a bachelor of science degree. She worked at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., from 1955 to 1962 as secretary to the assistant dean of medical students. From 1962 to 1966 she worked as secretary to the associate dean for Woods medical students at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
There she met her future husband, Alexander Hamilton "Sandy" Woods. They were married in 1967 in Tucson at Saint Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church. In Tucson she worked as secretary to the chief engineer of the Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak Observatory from 1966 to 1980. She attended Saint Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church. She kept their house immaculate and cared for the yard full of trees, shrubs, flowers and native desert growth. She and Sandy enjoyed the company of their beloved adopted stray cat, Fifi. They also enjoyed golfing.
Survivors include two nieces, Marilyn [Lee] Brockmueller of Freeman, S.D., and Dolores [Vern] Jantzen of Plymouth, Neb.; two stepdaughters, Lyda Woods and Andrea Woods, both of Medford, Ore.; a special nephew, Arthur Hollinsworth of Dallas, Texas; and special friends Vern and Judy Russell of Tucson. She was preceded in death by her husband, Sandy, in 2008; and two sisters, Arlene Stucky and Lois Neufeld.
Schmidt, Wilbert H.
July 12, 1927 - February 6, 2021
Schmidt.- Wilbert H., 93, of Goessel, Kan., died Feb. 6, 2021, at Bethesda Home. He was born July 12, 1927, to Theodore and Mary [Boese] Schmidt. He graduated from Goessel High School in 1945, Bethel College in North Newton in 1955 and Emporia State Teacher's College in 1963. He served in Civilian Public Service for 14 months in Camino, Calif., and Lincoln, Neb. After CPS, he was uncertain about what to do until he was encouraged to enter the field of education. After he completed his education at Bethel College, he began his 39 years of teaching, primarily middle school math and science.
He married his high school sweetheart, Eunice Maxine Schroeder, on June 13, 1950. She preceded him in death on Nov. 16,2016. He was a member of Goessel Mennonite Church since 1944. He served as a deacon for 18 years and taught Sunday school for many years. He was mayor of Goessel for four years and served on the Goessel City Council for 14 years. Survivors include two children, Dyann [William] Bockstahler of Hillsboro, 0re., and Kenley [Susan] Schmidt of Rochester, Minn.; four siblings, Helen Stephens, Millie Loewen, Don Schmidt and Esther Springer; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
Anabaptist World, March 26, 2021, pages 46-47, Vol. 2, No. 4
Ediger, Margaret Voght
October 29, 1933 - December 13, 2020
Ediger-. Margaret, 87, of Abbotsford, B.C., died Dec. 18, 2020, at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. She was born Oct. 29, 1933, to Marie (Unger) and William Voght in Rosetown, Sask. She graduated from Kelowna High School in 1951. She then attended Bethel Bible Institute in Abbotsford, Canadian Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg, Man., and Ediger Victoria College in British Columbia. She taught in northern British Columbia for three years. In 1962 she went to Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary at Elkhart, Ind., where she met her future husband. She and George Ediger of Inman, Kan., were married in 1962.
She and George spent one year as missionaries in Arizona, 12 years in Colombia in South America and 11 years in Dallas, Texas. They lived in Inman, Kan., for a few years in between. They then moved back to Kelowna and then Abbotsford. Survivors include her husband of 58 years, George; a son, David Ediger of Langley; and a daughter, Judy Grosbach Ediger of Lus Angeles. Cremation has taken place. The time and date of a memorial service have yet to be established. Donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, Christian Peacemaker Teams or any Mennonite church.
Hostetler, Fern Yoder
May 15, 1925 - March 2, 2021
Hostetler-. Fern, 95, of Harrisonburg, Va., died March 2, 2021, at Yoder House, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. She was born May 15, 1925, to Oscar D. and Alice (Hershberger) Yoder at Johnstown, Pa. On July 9, 1948, she married Mervin J. Hostetler of Louisville, Ohio. She graduated from Goshen College in Indiana. She was an elementary teacher in the public schools of Conemaugh Township near Johnstown, Pa., and the Altoona, Pa., area schools for 29 years. For many years she taught Bible school and Sunday school and was active in Mennonite Women in Allegheny Mennonite Conference and Harrisonburg.
Music was always an important part of her life. She enjoyed playing the piano and singing in church choirs and with the local Valley Greeters Chorale. Since moving to Harrisonburg in 1987, she has been a member of Park View Mennonite Church. Survivors include 20 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Mervin, on Nov. 3, 2014; and two sisters, Ruth Y. Hunsberger and Loretta [Toppy] Allison. A virtual memorial service was scheduled for 2 p.m. March 27, live streamed at: pvmchurch.ora/fernhostetler. A private burial will be held later at the Richland Cemetery in Johnstown.
Hacker, Ray K.
August 7, 1930 - February 3, 2021
Hacker-. Ray K., 90, of Lititz, Pa., died Feb. 3. 2021, at Landis Homes Retirement Community. He was born Aug. 7, 1930, to Albert and Pearl (Kaiser) Hacker in Milford Township. He graduated from Kutztown State College in 1952 with a bachelors degree in education. He earned a master's degree in library science in 1956 from the University of Michigan. He was employed as a librarian at Millersville University of Pennsylvania for 37 years until his retirement as associate professor of library in 1994. He was acting director of the library from 1982 to 1985 and chair of the library department from 1976 to 1983. He made significant contributions to organize Ganser Library's collections. Previous to Millersville, he was a librarian at Rider College in New Jersey, Mennonite Biblical Seminary and West Chester University.
He was a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Lancaster, where he was a deacon for about 25 years and wrote the History of Bethel Mennonite Church, 1947-1972. He and Agnes then worshiped at Akron Mennonite Church. He led adult Sunday school classes, especially lessons related to biblical history. He was a delegate at General Conference Mennonite Church meetings and attended at least seven Mennonite World Conference gatherings. He was a founding member and first president of Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania. With MHEP, he organized 37 historical tours in several states and Canada. He served for more than 35 years on the board of the Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust.
He was a longtime resident of East Petersburg Borough before relocating to Landis Homes in 2016. He served on the Hempfield School Board in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He loved to organize family vacations and took great joy in reading, writing journals and doting on his grandchildren. Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Agnes (Rosenfeld) Hacker; four children, Cheryl (Jeffrey Ferriell) Hacker of Columbus, Ohio, R. Scott [Cindy] Hacker of Missoula, Mont., Douglas (Vickie) Hacker of San Diego, Calif., and Susan Freitag of Summerfield, Fla.; five siblings, Betty, Roland, Mary, Janice and Ernest; and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a brother, A. Floyd Hacker.
Transcribed by: John Ingold