October - December 2022
Mennonite World Review & The Mennonite merged September 2020
Anabaptist World, October 14, 2022, pages 46-47, Vol. 3, No. 13.
Breckbill, Ina Ruth Krabill
April 18, 1929 - September 9, 2022
Breckbill-. Ina Ruth (Krabill) Breckbill, 93, died Sept. 9, 2022, in Orrville, Ohio. She was born April 18, 1929, to Mahlon and Mary Ellen (Conrad) Krabill in Louisville, Ohio. She attended Goshen College in Indiana, where she met Willis (Bill) Breckbill. They were married Aug. 14, 1954, at Beech Mennonite Church in Louisville. She loved her role as an encourager and supporter of Bill's pastoral work.
With her husband, they pastored at Bethel Mennonite Church, Biglerville, Pa.; First Mennonite Church, Canton, Ohio; as Ohio and Eastern Mennonite Conference minister while living in Louisville; Preston Mennonite Church, Cambridge, Ont.; as Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference minister while living in Goshen, Ind.; and Waterford Mennonite Church, Goshen. They served interim pastorates at Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, Ind., Greenfield Community, Portadown, Northern Ireland, and Central Mennonite Church, Archbold.
She was at her best making friends and building relationships one-on-one. She had many close friends with whom she shared love and laughter and good conversation, always with a plate of cookies and a cup of coffee. Music was an important part of her life. She loved playing the piano, going to concerts and listening to her children play and sing music. She often led children's music in Sunday school and Bible school. Music helped her through hard times and made the good times even better.
Survivors include four children, Anita (David) Breckbill of Lincoln, Neb., Bruce (Jill) Breckbill of Kidron, Don (Carola) Breckbill of Stoughton, Wis, and Anne (Holly Smart) Breckbill of St. Paul, Minn.; a sister, Anne (Abner) Hershberger; a sister-in-law, Grace Krabill; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Willis; a brother, Willard Krabill; and a son, David Breckbill. Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 15 at Waterford Mennonite Church, Goshen.
Gehman, James Kulp "Jimmy"
July 15, 1941 - August 19, 2022
Gehman-. James (Jimmy) Kulp Gehman, 81, of Wallops Island, Va., died Aug. 19, 2022. He was born July 15, 1941, to Abraham B. Gehman and Mary C. Kulp Gehman of Barto, Pa. He graduated from Goshen College with a degree in biology. He was a lifelong Mennonite, birdwatcher, naturalist, master gardener, fast-pitch softball pitcher extraordinaire and poet.
Survivors include his loving wife of 52 years, Sandy Gehman; two children, Jenny (John Grant) Gehman of Melfa, Va., and Suzanne (Matthew) Auchter of Reading, Pa.; his faithful dog and close companion, Bobbe; three sisters, Johanna Gehman, Ada Gehman and Rhoda Gehman, all of Barto, Pa.; four brothers, Linford (Becky) Gehman of Bergton, Va., Abe (Drollene) Gehman of Bally, Pa., Merrill Gehman of Anchorage, Alaska, and Harley (Linda) Gehman of Indian, Alaska; a sister-in-law, Jennie Gehman, who was married to his brother, Ronnie; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two brothers, Dwight and Ronnie Gehman.
Lehman, Martin W.
March 14, 1926 - September 6, 2022
Lehman-. Martin W. Lehman, 96, of Goshen, Ind., died Sept. 6, 2022, at Goshen Hospital. He was born March 14, 1926, to J. Irvin and Ruth (Martin) Lehman in Franklin County, Pa. He studied three years at Eastern Mennonite School in Virginia, where he met Rhoda Krady. They were married on April 5, 1947, at Vine Street Mission in Lancaster, Pa. They were active members at Marion Mennonite Church.
He served in Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector, 1945-46. In 1950 they were called to a mission in Tampa, Fla., affiliated with Lancaster Mennonite Conference. In their traditional Mennonite dress, they made friends by spending time in homes, enjoying new foods and learning Spanish. His youthful conservative faith evolved as he listened and learned. In 1961 he was ordained as bishop of a district that included churches in South Carolina, Georgia and peninsular Florida.
In 1963 a young mother they knew well died suddenly. At the father's request, they welcomed his 2-month-old baby as the son they had longed for and named him Jonathan Conrad. He became a leader in the development of Southeast Convention, serving as general secretary for 10 years until Southeast Mennonite Conference was formed. He became conference executive secretary. An advocate for women in ministry and congregations as the locus of authority, he sought to equip, give counsel and provide access to resources. He held this post until his retirement in 1992.
In 1982 he was asked to serve on a Listening Committee mandated to listen to Mennonites and their families who identified as LGBTQ and their experiences of rejection and intimidation in the church. Though the committee disbanded in 1990, his relationships continued and developed into advocacy for LGBTQ Mennonites. A prolific writer for church periodicals and books, he published a two-volume history of Amish and Mennonites in the Southeast.
Survivors include his daughter, Rachel Lehman Stoltzfus; a son, Conrad (Jill) Lehman; his dear friend, Joy Buschert; six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rhoda; a brother, John; a son-in-law, Eldon Stoltzfus; and a great-grandson, JaQuan. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 12 at College Mennonite Church in Goshen. It will be livestreamed.
Birky, Luke Amon
January 8, 1922 - September 3, 2022
Birky-. Luke Amon Birky, 100, of Goshen, Ind., died Sept. 3, 2022. He was born Jan. 8, 1922, to Joseph Alvin and Sarah Alma (Kenagy) Birky in Airlie, Ore. He was drafted as a conscientious objector in 1943 and worked in Civilian Public Service camps in LaPine, Ore., and Belton, Mont. He entered Goshen College in 1946. He married Verna Conrad on March 2, 1947, and they began a Mennonite Central Committee assignment at a hospital in LaPlata, Puerto Rico.
He served in maintenance and became business office manager in 1949. In 1953 he returned to the U.S. to raise funds for a new Mennonite hospital in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. After that, Mennonite Board of Missions asked him and Verna to move to La Junta, Colo., to study healthcare administration at the Mennonite hospital. In 1955 a new hospital was completed in Rocky Ford, Colo., and he became administrator. Three years later he became the administrator of the La Junta Hospital, where he served until 1966.
He and Verna moved to Elkhart in 1966, when he became secretary of health and welfare for MBM. He consulted with communities operating hospitals, care facilities and retirement communities. In 1975, Mennonite Home of Albany, Ore., asked him to be the administrator. He and Verna served in Albany until retiring in 1987. In a year before full retirement, they worked for Goshen College as program directors for students studying in Costa Rica. Returning to Oregon, he was moderator for Pacific Coast Mennonite Conference until 1993, when they moved to Goshen. They became residents of Greencroft Retirement Community in 1999. Verna died in 2017. Even at age 100, he continued to use a computer, read theological books, discuss moral actions, walk fast and love God.
Survivors include four children, Karl (Ginny) Birky of Newberg, Ore., Anne Birky of Goshen, Kate (Tim Welsh) Birky of Payson, Ariz., and Rachel (Steve) Hamilton of Lake Elsinore, Calif.; a daughter-in-law, Therese of Saverne, France; a brother, Wilbur of Goshen; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Verna; a son, Steve; a brother, Elden; three sisters, Minerva, Ruth and Lela; and a great-grandchild. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 15 at College Mennonite Church in Goshen, livestreamed at collegemennonite.org.
Yoder, James D.
September 9, 1929 - September 22, 2022
Yoder-. James D. Yoder, 93, of North Newton, Kan., died Sept. 22, 2022, at Kidron Bethel Village. He was born Sept. 9, 1929, to Alfred L. and Zella Slayden Yoder at Kansas City, Mo. Most of his adolescence was spent near Harrisonville, Mo., a story told in his books The Yoder Outsiders and A Boy in a House of Shadows. He attributes his early Christian education largely to the Mennonite Bible schools he attended each summer. He became a member of Sycamore Grove Mennonite Church, Garden City, Mo., in 1947.
From 1952 to 1955, he attended Goshen College and Goshen Biblical Seminary, where he completed three degrees. During his senior year, he married Lonabelle C. Jantzi. After graduation from seminary, he was pastor of the Sycamore Grove congregation for four years. In 1959, they moved to Kansas City, Mo., where he taught in the Hickman Mills School District. Receiving his master's degree in counseling from Central Missouri State, he counseled in the schools of Hickman Mills.
After the death of his daughter, Angela, he received a doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and was a licensed psychologist at the University Counseling Center and adjunct professor. He wrote articles on the thought of Viktor Frankl. He was invited to present a paper at the First World Congress of Logotherapy, held at the University of San Diego, where he met Frankl. He trained in the Institute of Logotherapy in Berkeley, Calif., receiving certification as a Logotherapy trainer. He founded the Kansas City Chapter of the Institute and served as executive director until retirement. In retirement he wrote and published 11 historical novels, a book on Logotherapy in counseling and a memoir. Several of his novels won awards.
Survivors include a son, Michael Lynn (Karen Seibel) Yoder of Lawrence; several cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lonabelle Yoder; a daughter, Angela Maria; a baby sister, Zella; a brother, Alfred Yoder Jr.; and a sister-in-law, Irene Yoder. Memorial services were held at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton.
Lapp, Mary Alice Weber
July 29, 1931 - September 27, 2022
Lapp-. Mary Alice (Weber) Lapp, 91, of Goshen, Ind., and formerly of Akron, Pa., and Harrisonburg, Va., died Sept. 27, 2022, after suffering a stroke. She was born July 29, 1931, to B. Franklin and Sarah Margaret (Hostetter) Weber in Lititz, Pa. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Eastern Mennonite College after her aunts encouraged her to pursue a teaching degree. She received a master's degree from James Madison University and taught junior high and high school English in Cleveland, Ohio, Elkton, Va., and Norristown. She taught college classes at Bethlehem University in Palestine and in Calcutta, India. She substitute taught while raising her children. She was a Sunday school and Bible school teacher at Lititz Mennonite Church.
She was an impressive hostess and traveling companion to her husband, John, as he served as an administrator at Mennonite Central Committee and Goshen College for many years. Her support and management skills made his work possible. During their 67 years of marriage, they traveled throughout the United States and internationally, living for extended periods in Jerusalem, Palestine and Calcutta, India. She was the author of two books: Christ Is Our Cornerstone: 100 years at Lititz Mennonite Church and Woodcrest Retreat: 50 Years of Sharing Christ's Love, 1959-2009. She also reviewed books and contributed articles to many Mennonite publications.
An active volunteer, she served on the boards of the American Association of University Women, Salvation Army, Lancaster Mennonite School and Mennonite Publishing House. She served as a Red Cross volunteer at Goshen General Hospital and Ephrata Community Hospital for many years and volunteered at the Ephrata ReUzit store. She was a singer, artist, pianist, baker, cook, hostess, gardener and voracious reader.
Survivors include her husband of 67 years, John A. Lapp; a son, John F. (Sandra Shenk) Lapp; two daughters, Jennifer (Robert) Lerch and Jessica W. (Phil Hertzler) Lapp; two sisters, Sally Horst and Joyce Busch; a brother, Samuel Weber; six grandchildren and a great-grandson. She was preceded in death by a brother, B. Michael Weber. A memorial service of her life will be held Oct. 21 at College Mennonite Church, Goshen. Memorial donations may be made to College Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central Committee, Goshen College or Eastern Mennonite University.
Shetler, Peter Daniel
January 20, 1957 - September 26, 2022
Shetler-. Peter Daniel Shetler, 65, of Goshen, Ind., died Sept. 26, 2022. He was born Jan. 20, 1957, to Luther Leroy Shetler and Geneva (Stamm) Shetler in Bluffton, Ohio. He married his teenage sweetheart, Jan Bender Shetler, on April 18, 1977, at Camp Friedenswald. Together they attended Goshen College and Bluffton University, and he graduated from Utah State University in agronomy. They then served for 11 years with Mennonite Central Committee in Ethiopia, Zaire/Congo and Tanzania.
After MCC service they attended graduate school at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He studied agroforestry. As Jan completed her doctoral research in Tanzania, he volunteered on a GIS project in the Serengeti National Park. Together with his brother, Terry, they bought a dryland farm near Dove Creek, Colo. They lived there for over three years before moving back to Goshen in 1999 for Jan to begin her work as a history professor at Goshen College. In 2000, he began working for Bethany Christian Schools. In more than 20 years there, he oversaw facilities and technology. It was a place and community he loved and where he died in an accident.
He was a citizen of the world and lived in many countries, including Jamaica, Haiti, Ethiopia, Zaire/Congo, Portugal, Tanzania and Senegal. He enjoyed camping, fishing and exploring the outdoors with his grandchildren. He readily helped people and often shared food with them. He was affable and kind, patient and loving. He could fix anything and once told a potential employer at a repair shop, "If you tell me what it's supposed to do, I'll make it work." Wherever he lived he became an active member of a church community, using his physical and spiritual gifts daily to support others.
Survivors include his wife, Jan Bender Shetler; two children, Daniel (Maytal Saltiel) Shetler and Paul (Rebecca) Shetler Fast; four siblings, Joenita (Stanley) Clemens, Terry (Bonnie Wolfe) Shetler, Lu Derstine and Tami (Michael) Hardy; and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother-in-law, Naomi Bender; and a brother-in-law, Dale Derstine. Funeral services were held at College Mennonite Church, Goshen.
Transcribed by: John D. Ingold
Anabaptist World, November 4, 2022, pages 42-43, Vol. 3, No. 14.
Miller, Ruth M. Eigsti
October 25, 1928 - September 3, 2022
Miller-. Ruth M. (Eigsti), 93, of Lakewood, Colo died Sept. 3, 2022. She was born Oct. 25, 1928, to Emery and Edna Eigsti on a farm near Wayland, Iowa. She graduated from Goshen College in Indiana in 1951 with a teaching degree. She helped start a women's intramural sports program and was a member of the choir. Her first position as a teacher was at Danville grade school in Iowa. In 1953, she moved to Denver and continued to teach. She volunteered to cook at a camp for a group of men in 1-W service, where she met Delmer Miller. They were married June 25, 1955. She taught at Dowell Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Steele Elementary, Kaiser Elementary and Washington Park Elementary in her career.
They offered foster care to two girls in their home. She helped many under-privileged kids with school supplies, clothes, shoes, winter clothing and emotional support. She was a charter member of Glennon Heights Mennonite Church. She taught Sunday school and Bible school, sponsored youth groups and served on many committees. In later years she collected backpacks for a prison outreach ministry. Her gift of service was reflected in her volunteer time at More For Less store, Tennyson Group Home for Boys and cooking and serving meals for the homeless at Family Promise. She enjoyed thrift stores, garage sales, swimming and reading. She had a sense of humor that brought a smile to all she encountered.
Her faith was central to her life as she leaned on God during the trials and gave thanks for the many blessings. She was a progressive woman for her time, a charismatic leader, a respected professional and boldly confident with a gentle side, an empathetic listener with a kind heart.
Survivors include a son, Tim Miller; a daughter, Julie (Ken Morin) Miller-Morin; two sisters-in-law, Ardith Eigsti and Joyce Miller; two brothers-in-law, Dennis (Doreen) Miller and Winston Miller; three grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. A brother, Orlin (Ina) Eigsti, died Sept 12. She was preceded in death by her husband, Delmer, a brother, Mervin Eigsti; two sisters, Doris Meyer and Marilyn Jane; and a grand-daughter. Services were held at Glennon Heights Mennonite Church, Lakewood.
Rudy, Carl James
(94)-October 4, 2022
Rudy-. Carl James, 94, of Manheim, Pa., died Oct. 4, 2022. He was born to Abner and Edith Snyder Rudy in Breslau, Ont. He was the loving husband of Ruth Mohler Rudy, and they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary this past July. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite College, Goshen Biblical Seminary and William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute.
A pastor, he served at churches in Ontario, South Bend, Ind., Fort Wayne, Ind., and Smithville, Ohio. He then served as chaplain at the former Mennonite Hospital in La Junta, Colo. He was a member of Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, Lancaster; American Protestant Chaplain's Association; moderator for Rocky Mountain Mennonite Conference; secretary of the Ohio and Eastern Mennonite Conference and a member of the Lancaster County Woodworkers Association.
He enjoyed woodworking and making furniture. He donated his furniture to relief sales, Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp and made kitchen cabinets for Navajo Mennonite Church, Farmington, N.M. He was a "seagoing cowboy" tending donkeys on a boat sent to repopulate animals in Europe after World War II. He was instrumental in starting the hospice program in the Arkansas Valley in eastern Colorado.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth; a daughter, Evelyn J. (Tracy) Edgers of Kirkland, Wash.; two sons, Jonathan E. (Carolyn Peachey) Rudy of Manheim and Paul D. Rudy of Perry, Kan.; seven siblings, Doreen Good, Karen Bergey, Barbara Stager, John, Willis, Elvin and Harold Rudy, all of Ontario; four grandchildren and two great- grandchildren. He was preceded in death by siblings Betty Buschert and Glen Rudy.
Nissley, Elizabeth Garman Landis
June 30, 1943 - September 25, 2022
Nissley-. Elizabeth Garman, 79, of Lancaster, Pa., died Sept. 25, 2022, following a 21-month courageous journey with breast cancer. She was born June 30, 1943, to Ruth F. and Elam O. Landis of East Petersburg. She graduated from the Lancaster General School of Nursing in 1964, the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in nursing in 1970 and a master's degree in psychiatric nursing in 1989, and Eastern Mennonite Seminary with a master of divinity degree in 2002.
She lived and worked as a nurse and educator for nine years in Somalia between 1966 and 1986. She worked as a psychiatric nurse and an outpatient therapist with Philhaven and later as a full-time pastor, retiring from James Street Mennonite Church in 2013. She was the first ordained woman (in 2007) in Lancaster Mennonite Conference, which was, at that time, part of Mennonite Church USA, She worked for nine years as a ministerial guide for seminary students at Lancaster Theological Seminary and as the acting field education director for one and a half years.
She volunteered on several community boards, including Friends of Lancaster Public Library, Landis Communities Quality Living Choices Board and Domestic Violence Services. She participated for several years as a co-facilitator, with husband Ken, in the Pennsylvania State Office of Victim Advocate. She was an avid reader and enjoyed traveling and being with people. Full of gratitude for life's goodness, she wanted to change the world, to make it better for herself and others, nurturing justice and kindness. She deeply believed in God close at hand, with a love extending to all people. She was a voice for women in her community. She believed in the ongoing mystery and possibility of healing and recovery, in this life and with the end of life.
Survivors include her husband of 58 years, Kenneth M. Nissley; four children, K. Mark (Amanda) Nissley of Pensacola, Fla., Andrew J. Nissley of York, Rebecca J. Nissley of York and Sara B. (Andrew Peifer) Nissley of Philadelphia; nine grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Memorial services were held at James Street Mennonite Church, Lancaster.
Raber, Chester "Chet"
July 21, 1929 - October 10, 2022
Raber-. Chester (Chet), 93 of Lititz, Pa. died Oct. 10, 2022. He lived at Luther Acres retirement community. He was born July 21, 1929. He and Gerry were married Oct. 13, 1951. She was the love of his life. His greatest joy was tandem biking with Gerry, which they did from ages 40 to 80, with numerous trips to Europe and national parks in the United States. Under Gerry's guidance, he came to love classical music and opera.
He had two careers, the first as a chaplain and therapist at three psychiatric institutions. During this time, he became interested in organizational development and created a people management system, which many organizations adopted; it taught people to be fully engaged as teams. He earned a bachelor's degree from Goshen College in Indiana and two master's degrees, plus a doctorate in psychology in religion, at Southern Baptist Seminary, in Louisville, Ky.
He inspired friends through direct and engaging dialogue. He encouraged those he met in work and church settings. He was hopeful about the future because he believed people are basically good and when they do harmful deeds it is because of fear and ignorance. He read extensively and was always ready for a discussion about past and future of humankind. He authored several books. He volunteered his time and intellect with many not-for-profit organizations and founded several, including Welcoming Dialogue of Lancaster County, a group supporting gay and lesbian people. He believed human history is best understood as a story of development from adolescence into maturity, resulting in peace, prosperity and creativity for all.
Survivors include his wife of 71 years, Gerry; a daughter, Kris (Kevin) Holsopple of Los Alamos, N.M., a brother, Merrill (Boots) Raber; and two grandsons. He was preceded in death by a son, Jon, in 2007; a daughter-in-law, Kimiko Shimazako, in 2019; and a sister, Ann Hunsberger. He donated his body to medical research. His family and friends will celebrate his life at a future date.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
Anabaptist World, November 25, 2022, Pages 42-43, Vol. 3, No. 15.
Stoll, Dale David
October 5, 1936 - September 13, 2022
Stoll-. Dale David, 85, of Sarasota, Fla., died Sept. 13, 2022. He was born Oct. 5, 1936, to Henry and Goldie (Miller) Stoll in Mount Ayr, Ind. He was baptized at Burr Oak Mennonite Church. In 1954 he graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg, Va. He earned a bachelor's in commerce degree from Goshen College in Indiana and a master's degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota. His long career in nonprofit healthcare management began in 1965 at Evanston Hospital in Illinois and later at St. Luke's hospital in Cleveland. In 197I he moved to Flower Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, where he served as president. He oversaw the hospital's relocation to Sylvania, Ohio, with the construction of a new hospital and campus. After retiring from Flower, he consulted for Mennonite Board of Missions at a variety of facilities, including Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center in La Junta, Colo. He was an honest and fair employer who cared about each person. He served on the board of directors of Charter One Bank, the Ohio Hospital Association, Sunnyside Village, Charis Counseling Center and Sarasota Christian School. He taught business courses at Goshen College's Sarasota campus. He was a visionary leader who left a legacy of new facilities and programs that continue to provide a wide spectrum of care. Every summer, he and Carolyn took their family to Little Eden Camp and later built a cottage on Fife Lake for gatherings. He enjoyed boating and riding motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATVs through the woods of northern Michigan. He loved music and contributed his bass voice to choirs and a cappella groups. Christian faith was central to his life. He was active in congregations everywhere he lived. His and Carolyn's current church home is Covenant Mennonite in Sarasota. Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Carolyn Ruth (Morrison); four children, Steve, David, Suzanne (Dave) Douma and Ned (Cindy) Stoll; five grandchildren and two great-grandsons. He was preceded in death by his brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Lois (Herr) Stoll; their son Ned was welcomed into his and Carolyn's family at that time.
Nissley, Homer D.
December 31, 1932 - January 12, 2021
Nissley-. Homer D., 88, of South Bend, Ind., died Jan. 12, 2021, after a brief illness. He was born Dec. 31, 1932, to Sue (Schmucker) and Daniel H. Nissley in Nappanee and lived in South Bend since 1963. On June 3, 1956, he married Betty Graber in Etna Green. He grew up in an Amish family and learned how to work hard. As a conscientious objector during the Korean War, he served in 1-W alternative service at an Indianapolis hospital. He attended Goshen College, where he earned his bachelor's degree in education and went on to earn a master's degree in education from Indiana University. He spent many years as a teacher in elementary schools. As president of the South Bend teachers union, he worked to bring equity among teachers through affirmative action policies and within schools through desegregation. He and Betty were early members of Kern Road Mennonite Church, where he served in many leadership and mentoring roles, especially as a witness to peace and justice issues. He was a founding member of the Near Northwest Neighborhood organization, committed to promoting neighborhood revitalization and community development. He served with Mennonite Disaster Service in Louisiana to help with rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He loved woodworking and donated handcrafted items for Mennonite Central Committee relief sales. He volunteered with Meals on Wheels. Survivors include his wife, Betty; three daughters, Rachel S. (Greg) Hansen of Lawrenceville, N.J., Lena M. (Rob Scott) Nissley of Baraboo, Wis., and Kathy (Matt Eberly) Nissley of Madison, Wis.; three sons, James D. Nissley of South Bend, Dwight V. (Mary Ellen Palko) Nissley of Frederick, Md., and Gareth L. (Carolyn M. Martin) Nissley of Indianapolis; three sisters, Ruby Nissley and Miriam (Cleo) Orendorf, both of Nappanee, and Sue Ellen Nissley of Wakarusa; three brothers, Lloyd (Gladys) Nissley and Ira (Reinhilde) Nissley, both of Nappanee, and Dan (Paige) Nissley of Lebanon, Pa.; and 16 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Jay H. Nissley; a sister, Treva Yoder; and two brothers, Melvin and Vernon Nissley.
May 8, 1933 - September 13, 2022
Willems-. John, 89, of Albany, Ore., died Sept. 13, 2022, at Samaritan Evergreen Hospice. He was born May 8, 1933, to Abraham F. and Anna (Isaac) Willems on a farm near Greensburg, Kan. His first eight years of school were in a one-room country school. After high school he attended Hesston College in Kansas. He married Dora Schrock on July 21, 1955, at Albany Mennonite Church. They were the first couple to be married at the church. He came to Oregon in 1952 for alternative service at Lebanon Community Hospital for two years, later returning to the hospital for training as a radiological technologist and working there for 12 years. He felt the call to become a pastor, and in 1964 returned to school in the Hesston College Pastoral Ministry Program. He began to serve as pastor of Beth-el Mennonite Church, Milford, Neb., in 1966. In 1973 he became pastor of Salem Mennonite Church and then pastor of Bethany Mennonite in Albany, beginning in 1985 and retiring in 1998. From the late 1950s through 2006, he served in church conferences wherever his church was located at the time, serving as conference moderator four times. He was a rare pastor who enjoyed administrative responsibility. He also served in community organizations, churchwide and inter~Mennonite committees, as well as the Mennonite Village Council. In retirement he served with Oregon Mennonite Residential Services, which relates to people with developmental disabilities. His greatest joy was seeing people committing or recommitting their lives to Jesus Christ and becoming part of a congregation. He was a member of Albany Mennonite Church and became involved in church work as a young adult. His first elected position in church was co-superintendent of Sunday school when he was 19. Survivors include a daughter, Mardell (Douglas) Hochstetler of Albany; a son, Kevin Willems of Lake Stevens, Wash.; two granddaughters and one grandson. A graveside service was held at Fairview Mennonite Cemetery and a memorial service at Albany Mennonite Church. Memorials may be given to Mennonite Village's Endowment Fund or Albany Mennonite Church.
Mark, Arlene Ruth Martin
July 30, 1931 - October 29, 2022
Mark-. Arlene Ruth Martin Mark, 91, of Goshen, Ind., died Oct. 29, 2022, at Greencroft. She was born July 30, 1931, to Joseph Preston Martin and Mamie Susan Reiff Martin in Hagerstown, Md., and raised in Maugansville. Her church was conservative, with higher education not only uncommon but frowned on, especially for women. With the support of her father, she attended Eastern Mennonite College for two years. She taught for two years to earn money to attend Goshen College. She graduated in 1955 with a degree in teaching and was immediately hired. She and George Mark were married in the Goshen College church chapel on Dec. 17, 1955. They moved frequently during George's medical training and 1-W service before settling in Elkhart, where they lived for over 50 years before moving to Goshen. They were members of Prairie Street Mennonite Church. She was involved in local, conference and national church leadership. She preached the first sermon by a female in many congregations, advocating for women's full participation while not being allowed to stand behind the pulpit. A lover of words and worship, she studied at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Notre Dame. She compiled the first Mennonite book of worship liturgy, Words for Worship. She wrote Sunday school and Bible school materials for children. She appreciated good food, music, poetry and literature and travel. She passed a love of reading to her descendants and students. She believed strongly in giving to others. Her neighbors and church friends knew her as the first to bring a meal in times of turmoil. She served on many nonprofit boards, including the Mennonite Church General Board. She was the first female chair of the Goshen College Board of Overseers. Survivors include three children, Susan (Dennis Landis), David (Dawn Catalino) and Paul (Kimberley MacDonald); 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, George; a son and daughter-in-law, Scott (Summer Quimby); three brothers, Mervin, Glenn and Dale; and two infant siblings, Warren and Rheta. A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at College Mennonite Church. Donations may be given to Church Community Services in Elkhart or the Goshen College scholarship fund for first-generation students.
September 9, 1941 - September 30,2022
Wagler-. Harley, 81, died Sept. 30, 2022, at Hutchinson Hospital in Kansas after a short bout with cancer. He was born Sept. 9, 1941, in Hutchinson to Raymond and Fannie (Mast) Wagler. He grew up on a dairy farm in Partridge and showed an early love of animals. But perhaps his strongest affections were kindled when he, acting on a tip from a local librarian, discovered the world of Slavic literature in the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky. He sometimes remained in the haymow after chores to read yet another chapter of Dostoevsky. His life combined scholarship with service to others. At age 20 he went to Costa Rica for a term of alternative service under Conservative Mennonite Conference. He later studied at the University of Kansas and the University of Pennsylvania, and he worked in Yugoslavia with Eastern Mennonite Missions. A golden chapter in his life was a stint in Bulgaria on a Fulbright Scholarship. He directed the Russian Studies Program in Nizhnii Novgorod, Russia, from 1993 until it closed in 2010. Harley then continued teaching at a Russian university until 2021, when he returned to his beloved roots in Partridge. He was a lifelong member of Plainview Mennonite Church, Hutchinson. He was a caring and gentle man who loved interacting with all those he met. He had a wide range of friends and connected easily with children. His fondness for animals led to many adventures, and he became a walking encyclopedia on animal, bird and insect behavior. He was grounded in a strong faith and lived a simple, honest life. He was a generous man and considered his work rebuilding churches in Russia as one of his greatest accomplishments. Survivors include his siblings, Paul Wagler (Ellen) of Wichita, Ruth Miller (Roman) of Partridge, Philip Wagler of Hutchinson, Eldon Wagler (Jane) of Lusaka, Zambia, and Duane Wagler of Colorado Springs, Colo.; beloved goddaughter Nastia Oleneva; godson Aleksei James Black; and 13 nephews and nieces.
Schmidt, Donald Lee
June 18, 1936 - November 2, 2022
Schmidt-. Donald Lee, 86, of Newton, Kan., died Nov. 2, 2022, from complications of pancreatic cancer at Kidron Bethel Village. He was born June 18, 1936, at home to David and Kathryn Schmidt, who farmed near Medford, Okla. In 1948, the family moved to Newton, where Don attended First Mennonite Church and graduated from Newton High School. He graduated from Bethel College and performed 1-W service at Indiana University in lieu of being drafted into the military. He married the love of his life, Marlene (Kopper), in 1960. In the 1960s, after jobs managing Antrim Lumber and selling fertilizer in York, Neb., he was hired as an accountant at Hesston Corporation (now AGCO), where he would spend his entire career, weathering mergers and acquisitions and advancing to the position of corporate controller before retiring in 2001. His life was defined by his faith in God, his commitment to serving his church community and his love for his wife and three children: Mike, Greg and Lori. He served in a number of positions at First Mennonite, including as a deacon and congregational leader, and held positions on several boards, including Kidron Bethel, Ten Thousand Villages and the Mennonite Church USA Executive Board. The quintessential jack of all trades, he built the family's second home with his father. A passion for golf and antique cars occupied his spare time. Whether attending Mike's football games or Lori's music recitals or helping Greg with various projects, Don was devoted to their well-being and encouraged them to pursue their passions. With Marlene, he enjoyed a marriage marked by family vacations, concerts, dining out and time spent with friends and family. He is survived by his children, Mike, Greg and Lori; and a brother, Lewis Schmidt (Dorothy). His wife, Marlene, preceded him in death.
Parker, John Hamilton
October 7, 1939 - August 29, 2022
Parker-. John Hamilton, 82, of Lansdale, Pa., died Aug. 29, 2022. He was born Oct. 7, 1939, to Laura H. and Leland C. Parker of Bath, N.Y. He earned a bachelor's degree and a doctorate from the University of Rochester and completed postdoctoral studies at Johns Hopkins Medical School in the 1960s. He married Marcia Witters in 1962. As a scientist in pharmaceutical companies and a college professor, he and his family lived in multiple cities during the next 50 years: Rochester, Albany and Buffalo, N.Y., Baltimore, Md., Elkhart, Ind., Lansdale, Pa., Raleigh, N.C., and San Ramon, Calif. He was called to develop new vaccines and other pharmaceutical products and to serve as a link with the Food and Drug Administration to assure their safety and effectiveness and to guarantee the cleanliness of their production facilities. Although he had studied about Mennonites during his high school years at Mount Hermon School, founded by Dwight L. Moody in Massachusetts, he and Marcia first met live Mennonites in their six years of living in Elkhart in the 1970s. This occurred through friendships with their children's educators and several teaching colleagues of Marcia in Elkhart. They converted from Episcopalians to Mennonites through nurturing experiences, book studies and rebaptism at Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart. Thereafter, they joined five other congregations as they pursued his career calls in other cities. Mennonite congregations where they became members included Raleigh Mennonite Church, Rochester Area Mennonite Fellowship, Perkasie Mennonite Church, Plains Mennonite Church and First Mennonite Church of San Francisco. Along the way, he served as adult Sunday school teacher and chair of the finance committee and church council. He found God's calming presence in natural settings where meditation, photography and exploring nature trails brought peace from his international business travel and other stresses. Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Marcia Witters Parker; a daughter Lisa (Vincent) LaSorsa; a son, David (Maureen) Parker; and seven grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a brother, Robert Warren Parker; and a daughter, Lindsay (Michael) Neiswender. Memorial services were held at Plains Mennonite Church, Hatfield, Pa.
Transcribed by: John Ingold
Anabaptist World, December 23, 2022, pages 42-43, Vol. 3, No. 16.
Augsburger, Aaron Donald
December 21, 1925 - November 27, 2022
Augsburger-. Aaron Donald, 96, of Harrisonburg, Va., died Nov. 27, 2022, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. He was born Dec. 21, 1925, to Clarence and Estella (Shenk) Augsburger in Elida, Ohio. He married Martha Louise Kling Augsburger on June 5, 1948, in Paradise, Pa. He was a respected minister, educator and leader in the Mennonite Church. His ministry and teaching influenced many. He received his education at Eastern Mennonite College, Eastern Baptist Seminary and Temple University. He taught in several Christian schools. He was the guidance counselor and later superintendent for two years at Bethany Christian High School. He taught in the field of Christian education at Eastern Mennonite University and in several seminaries. He also served as assistant to the dean at Goshen College Biblical Seminary.
He was ordained as a minister in the Mennonite Church in 1951 and pastored in at least 12 settings, including East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, Lancaster, Pa.; North Goshen Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind.; Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg; Bahia Vista Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Fla.; and Lancaster Mennonite Home, Lancaster, Pa. He concluded his work as a minister in 2003 by serving as pastor at Marion Mennonite Church, Chambersburg, Pa. While in Florida he was president of the Sarasota Ministerial Association. He was an ordained bishop in several Mennonite conferences. He served in churchwide leadership, including as moderator of the General Assembly of the Mennonite Church and as a member of the Mennonite Commission for Christian Education.
He authored several books, Creating Christian Personality, published in 1966, Marriages That Work in 1984, A Pattern for Living in 1993 and Reshaping Your Marriage in 1996. He authored a children's book, The World Is a Beautiful Place, illustrated by granddaughter Lara Ressler Horst, in 2007. He enjoyed writing and reciting poetry. He was driven by his desire to learn and improve, closely following current events and teaching himself baking, clock repair, watercolor, oil painting and how to play the clarinet, guitar, organ and the pan flute.
Survivors include three children, Phyllis Anne (Everett) Ressler of Harrisonburg, Patricia Louise (Wilbur Ressler) Augsburger of Richmond, Calif., and Don Richard (Jane Rutt) Augsburger of Alexandria; two brothers, Myron S. (Esther) Augsburger of Harrisonburg and David W. (Leann) Augsburger of Claremont, Calif.; a sister, Anna Mary (Milton) Good of Elizabethtown, Pa.; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Martha, on Feb. 18, 2016; and by two brothers, S. Dan (Garneita) Augsburger and Fred E. (Carolyn) Augsburger. Memorial services were held at Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg. Inurnment was at Bahia Vista Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Fla. Memorial gifts may be sent to Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pa.
Brubaker, J. Dean
January 15, 1954 - November 5, 2022
Brubaker-. J. Dean, 68, of Tucson, Ariz., and formerly of Lancaster, Pa., died Nov. 5, 2022, of glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. He was born Jan. 15, 1954, to Aaron O. and Esther (0berholtzer) Brubaker of Lancaster County, Pa. He was the loving husband of Nancy (Benner) for 44 years. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite College in 1975 and Millersville University in 2000. Most of his life he taught high school mathematics, at Lancaster Mennonite High School and abroad in service assignments in Rhamu, Kenya, and Mussoorie, India. He also coordinated technology at Lancaster Mennonite.
He loved his family and especially delighted in babies and children. Experiences living abroad affected him deeply, and he enjoyed telling stories of his adventures. He planted scores of trees at his home in Lancaster County and then began planting more trees in Tucson after he and Nancy moved there for her health in 2019. A mathematician at heart, he liked statistics and fractals and had a most interesting way of seeing the world in numbers. He was a generous and selfless person who enjoyed helping others.
Survivors include his wife, Nancy; four children, David (Melissa Rautenbach) of Philadelphia, Daniel (Amanda Walker) of Stamford, Conn., Nathan of Arlington, Va., and Jasmine (Cache Hamm) of Denver, Colo.; nine siblings, J. Mark (Beryl), Glen R. (Ellin), Fred E. (Carol), E. Lynn (Debra), Jere C. (Barbara), A. Omer (Charmayne), Alta L. (Wayne Teel), Debra L. (Jude) Gingerich and Deana L. (Tim) Erdman; and six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a brother, J. Loye Brubaker. He donated his body to medical research. Memorial gatherings will be held in the Lancaster area around the New Year of 2023.
Macon, Florence Beatrice Grimes
July 20, 1949 - October 7, 2022
Macon-. Florence Beatrice (Grimes), 73, better known as Bea, died Oct. 7, 2022. She was born July 20, 1949, to Florence Corinne (Baynard) Grimes and Asa Leroy Grimes Sr. in Lancaster, Pa. She grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1967 and completed one year of further education at Pierce Business College. Shortly after high school she met Gunsalla Macon at a dance party. They were married on July 17, 1971.
She was an active member of Diamond Street Mennonite Church, where she and her husband, Gunsalla, served and raised their four children. She later went to join Faith Chapel of Philadelphia, where she remained until her death. She accepted Jesus Christ into her heart as a young child at First United Baptist Church and sang in the church choir. She went on to sing with many more choirs, including the All-City Choir of Philadelphia, Diamond Street Mennonite Church Choir, Faith Chapel Choir and the Brockington Ensemble. As a part of the latter two choirs, she also served as a lead soloist on several recordings. The Diamond Street choir traveled broadly, including to the 1984 Mennonite World Conference assembly in France. Some of her most memorable solos included "Going Up a Yonder," "I Go to the Rock" and "When All God's Children Get Together." Holy Spirit-f1lled, she could raise a room to their feet in songs of worship and praise. In addition to being a homemaker for many years, she also worked as a childcare assistant at Bethany Childcare Center and was employed as a school crossing guard with the City of Philadelphia, from which she retired after 30 years.
Survivors include her husband, Gunsalla Macon; three children, Corinne A. Macon, Katrina (Paul) Pollard and Joseph Macon; and three siblings, Barbara Grimes Bell, Asa (Vera) Grimes Jr. and Daniel (Brenda) Grimes. She was preceded in death by a son, Michael Gunsalla Macon, on March 3, 2016. A memorial service was held at Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia. Burial was in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
Goering, Dorothy Ann Ewert
January 31, 1937 - December 4, 2022
Goering-. Dorothy Ann (Ewert), 85, of Moundridge, Kan., died Dec. 4, 2022, at Pine Village. She was born Jan. 31, 1937, to David Penner Ewert and Lydia Ann (Siemens) at Hillsboro. She grew up on a farm northeast of Hillsboro, where she early learned an appreciation of rural life and nature. In her childhood home she was taught the value of following strong Christian principles, especially the importance of treating all people with respect. She graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1955. She attended Bethel College from 1955 to 1957.
She was baptized in 1953, becoming a member of Hillsboro First Mennonite Church. She later became a member of Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge. She married Homer D. Goering on Dec. 20, 1956, and they made their home on a farm near Moundridge. Life was meaningful shared with her loving husband, sons and daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild. Her vocational experience, besides that of farmer's wife and mother, consisted of 16 years as staff writer and photographer for The Ledger newspaper, formerly The Moundridge Journal. A challenging volunteer activity was 13 seasons given as chair of publicity for the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale.
Also adding special meaning to the lives of the couple were the many hours spent singing and playing high-spirited card games with close friends Bob and Valeda Krehbiel. Her faith journey brought with it both joys and challenges, among them a long, intense encounter with Parkinson's Disease. She regarded all her experiences as instrumental in testing and strengthening of her Christian faith, believing God could be trusted to bring the best of his blessings to every situation. ln later years they moved to Pine Village retirement center.
Survivors include her husband, Homer; her six sons and their families. She was preceded in death by a sister, Grace Brandt; and several brother- and sisters-in-law. Funeral services were held at Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge. Burial was in the church cemetery. Memorials may be given to Pine Village or Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale in care of Moundridge Funeral Home.
Transcribed by: John Ingold