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Lazarus Project

An expanded obituary project of MennObits.  Includes additional information of obituaries appearing in
The Mennonite and other newspapers.  
Source of individual obituaries given with each record.  Project managed by Thelma Martin.

2015  T to V

Thiessen, Helen J. Knackstedt ; . . Thomas, Aldine Leroy ; . .Thomas, Mary I. ; . . Thomas, Velma L. Nafziger ; . . Toews, Novalis "Nick" ; . . Tony, Steven J. ; . .Troyer, Anna M. Yoder ; . . Troyer, Lizzie L. Stutzman ; . .Troyer, Frances R. Mumaw ; . . Umble, Samuel K. ; . . Underwood, Gary Ray ; . . Unruh, Wilbur A. ; . . van Donk, Jan ; . . VanPelt, Grace R. Kurtz ; . . VanPelt, Perry W. ; . .

Thiessen, Helen J. Knackstedt
, 84, of Inman, McPherson Co., KS died July 19, 2015 at Pleasant View Home, Inman, KS. She was born June 7 1931 at McPherson, McPherson Co., KS to Irvin H. and Inez (Hobbiesifken) Knackstedt. On November 6, 1950 at Hutchinson, Reno Co., KS she was married to Vernon D. Thiessen, who died April 26, 1993.

Surviving are children, Loren & Ginger Thiessen, Allen & Anita Thiessen, Kelly & Gayleen Thiessen, Wesley & Ann Thiessen, Karen Shuff, and Merle & Karen Thiessen; 12 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and two sisters, Lois Wright and Shirley Fick.

Memorial services were held July 23, 2015 at Bethel Mennonite Church, Inman, KS with burial in North Inman Cemetary, Inman, KS.

Submitted by: Kim Pankratz, Inman, KS
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Thomas, Aldine Leroy

June 8, 1933 - Feb. 10, 2015

GOSHEN - Aldine Leroy Thomas, 81, passed away in his home Tuesday evening, Feb. 10.

He was born in Middlebury on June 8, 1933, to Ora and Mabel (Chupp) Thomas.

On Feb. 20, 1955, he married Esther Yoder in Goshen.

She survives along with a daughter, Richele (George) Hofsommer of Middlebury; a son, Michael (Laura) Thomas of Goshen; seven grandchildren, Austin (Jill) Hofsommer of Nicaragua, Brianne (Craig) Allen of Chicago, Luke Hofsommer of Willowbrook, Ill., Abigail (Eric) Mauser of Columbus, Ohio, Jerica Hofsommer of Canyon, Texas, and Aeriel and Cole Thomas, both of Goshen; and two sisters, Ellen (Ray) Bontrager of Middlebury and Lorene Kropf of Goshen.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Rick Thomas.

A lifetime area resident, Aldine was a farmer and worked at the Topeka Livestock Auction. He was an active member of Clinton Frame Mennonite Church, where he served as pastor of visitation and outreach. He also served as a volunteer chaplain at Goshen Hospital and was active in prison ministry.

Friends may call from 1 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church. Family and friends may gather at the church at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, to go in procession to Miller Cemetery in Goshen. A Sunday memorial service will be conducted at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church starting at 4 p.m. Pastors Terry Diener and Matt Yoder will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be given to Clinton Frame Mennonite Church Outreach or Revive Indiana.

Yoder-Culp Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences may be shared at

The Elkhart Truth, Elkhart, IN
Feb. 12, 2015
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin


Thomas, Aldine Leroy, 81, of Goshen Elkhart Co., IN died February 10, 2015 at the same place. He was born June 8, 1933 at Middlebury, Elkhart Co., IN to Ora and Mable (Chupp) Thomas. On February 20, 1955 at Goshen, IN he was married to Esther Yoder, who survives.

Surviving are a daughter, Richele (George) Hofsommer, seven grandchildren, and two sisters, Ellen (Ray) Bontrager, and Lorene Kropf.

A son, Rick Thomas preceded him in death.

Memorial services were held February 15, 2015 at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN with burial in Miller Cemetery, Goshen, IN.

Submitted by: Diane Lockwood, Goshen, IN
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Thomas, Mary I.
, 80, of Orrville and formerly of Kidron, Ohio died March 4, 2015 at Glendora Health Care Center. She was born in Somerset County, PA on January 28, 1935 to Elmer F. and Elda E. (Livingston) Thomas and moved to the Kidron area in 1959. She was a member of the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church.

She is survived by sisters, Nada Geiser of Kidron and Velma Geiser of Dalton; brothers, Maynard Thomas and Paul Thomas, both of Kidron; a sister-in-law,, Margaret Thomas of Elizabethtown, PA; and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by brothers, Kermit and Coevel.

Funeral services were March 9, 2015 at the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church with Pastor Mel Hathaway officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

Source: Spidell Funeral Home in Mount Eaton, Ohio
Submitted by: Leon Hertzler

Thomas, Velma L. Nafziger
, 95, of Hopedale, IL died March 23, 2015 at the same place. She was born August 14, 1919 at Minier, IL to Aaron and Ella (Bachman) Nafziger. On August 29, 1958 at Mountain View, Arizona she was married to Ernest Thomas, who died in November of 1971.

Surviving are a stepson, Harold Thomas of Mesa, AZ; nine step-grandchildren, 14 step-great-grandchildren.

Three stepsons: Lindel, Cliff and Barney, one step-grandson, Ernest, and two brothers, Wilmer and Eugene preceded her in death.

Velma was a member of Hopedale Mennonite Church and volunteered for the Hopedale Senior Meals for many years. She enjoyed traveling, bus trips, quilting, babysitting and attending family activities.

Memorial services were held March 28, 2015 at Hopedale Mennonite Church, Hopedale, IL with burial in the adjoining cemetery.

Submitted by: Mary Lee Springer, Hopedale, IL
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Toews, Novalis "Nick"
, 90, of Whitewater, Harvey Co., KS died June 10, 2015 at Newton, Harvey Co., KS. He was born January 11, 1925 at Mountain Lake, MN to Nicolei and Marie (Stoesz) Toews. On July 25, 1950 he was married to Pauline Toews, who survives.

Surviving are children, Marna (Steve) Schowalter, Cynthia Rhodes, and Jeff (Theresa) Toews; six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

A son - Stewart Keith Toews and a brother - Willard Milton Toews preceded him in death.

Memorial services were held June 15, 2015 at Grace Hill Mennonite Church, Whitewater, KS with burial in Emmaus Cemetery, Whitewater, Butler Co., KS.

Submitted by: Debbie Claassen, Whitewater, KS
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Tony, Steven J.
, 62, of Goshen, Elkhart Co., IN died April 2, 2015 at Elkhart, IN. He was born October 28, 1952 at Garrett, Indiana to John and Wilma (Keller) Tony. On May 1, 1982 he was married to Katherine Ruth Fuquay, who was born November 22, 1957 and died August 12, 2014.

Surviving are a daughter, Emily Tony; two sisters, Vickie (Mike) Grathan; and Kathy Smith; and a brother, Randy (Linda) Tony.

Memorial services were held April 8, 2015 at College Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN with burial in Violett Cemetery, Goshen, IN.

Submitted by: Diana Hershberger, Goshen, IN
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Troyer, Anna M. Yoder

Sept. 7, 1937 - Dec. 17, 2015

GOSHEN - Anna M. Troyer, 78, of Goshen, died Thursday, Dec. 17.

She was born Sept. 7, 1937, to the late Melvin E. and Lydia Yoder.

She married Lloyd J. Troyer.

Surviving are her children, Lydia Mae (Marvin) Bontrager, Mary Anna (Enos) Knepp, Carolyn (LaVerne) Schmucker, Ida Ellen (Harley) Bontrager, Edna Sue (Wyman) Hochstetler, Freda Irene (Jacob) Bontrager, and LeRoy (Betty), Wilbur (Bettie), Nelson (Ruth) and Levi Lee (Arlene) Troyer; 48 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; siblings Mary, Eli (Katie), Levi (Sadie), Raymond (Edna) and Wilbur (Orpha) Yoder; and siblings-in-law Martha Yoder and Delbert Bontrager.

Her husband; a granddaughter; a great-grandson; a brother; and a sister predeceased her.

Visitation will be all day Saturday, Dec. 19, at the family home. Services will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at Norman Mast's home in Goshen. Burial will be in Timber View Cemetery.

Arrangements are with Miller-Stewart Funeral Home.

The Elkhart Truth, Elkhart, IN
Dec. 19, 2015
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Troyer, Lizzie L. Stutzman

Sept. 14, 1921 - Jan. 1, 2015

MANTON, Mich. - Lizzie L. Troyer, 93, of Manton, died Thirsday, Jan. 1.

She had been living with her daughter, Irma Chupp.

She was born in Milford, Ind., to Levi and Emma (Hochstetler) Stutzman.

On Dec. 3, 1953, she was married to Melvin Troyer. Their home was in Nappanee, Ind.

She will be missed by her daughters Irma (Earl) Chupp, Anna Mae (Christ) Hilty of Smyrna, Maine; and son, Harley (Amber) Troyer of Danville, Ind.; 19 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren. Also surviving are five sisters, Lydia Mae Hochstetler of Nappanee, Mary Yoder of Wakarusa, Ann Stutzman, Fannie (Eldon) Yoder of Salem, MO and Sylvia Kohler of Nappanee.

She was preceded in death by her husband on Nov. 23, 1987, two grandchildren, five brothers and a sister.

Funeral services will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, at the David Bontrager residence, 13205 N. 1025 W. Nappanee.

Burial will be in Weldy Cemetery.

Arrangements handled by Jowett Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, Frankfort & Benzonia, Mich.

The Elkhart Truth, Elkhart, IN
Jan. 12, 2015
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Troyer, Frances R. Mumaw

Jan. 1, 1932 - Dec. 2, 2015

GOSHEN - Frances R. Troyer, 83, died Wednesday, Dec. 2, at The Maples at Waterford Crossing.

She was born Jan. 1, 1932, in Elkhart, to Enos and Ruth (Lehman) Mumaw.

On Jan. 1, 1957, she was united in marriage to G. Weldon Troyer in Elkhart.

He survives along with two sons, Michael (Julie) Troyer of Bowling Green, Ky., and Richard (Lori) Troyer of Idaho Falls, Idaho; and a daughter, Rebecca (Mark) Fontaine of Greenfield; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Winifred (Elmer) Wall of Goshen.

She was preceded in death by a son, Jerold "Jerry" Troyer, and a sister, Kathryn Stalter.

She attended Goshen College and graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

Mrs. Troyer worked as a registered nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Puerto Rico and Elkhart General Hospital. She was an original member of the Elkhart County Medical Auxiliary.

Frances enjoyed traveling and was able to enjoy trips to England, Europe and the Nordic countries as part of an alumni choir from Goshen College.

She was an accomplished organist and member of the American Guild of Organists, St. Joe Valley Chapter, where she served in leadership roles. She served as church organist at College Mennonite Church, where she was a member, and also as a substitute organist in Elkhart County area churches. She also used her gifts to teach others to play the organ.

Frances was a dedicated wife and mother, who delighted in her family. She enjoyed entertaining friends and church members. She taught Sunday school, sang in the choir and served as a pastoral care visitor for many years.

Friends may call from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home. A celebration of Frances' life will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at College Mennonite Church. Burial of her cremated remains will be in Violett Cemetery.

Memorial gifts may be directed to the special fund for organists at College Mennonite Church. Online condolences may be shared at

The Elkhart Truth, Elkhart, IN
Dec. 5, 2015
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin


Troyer, Frances R. Mumaw, 83, of Goshen, Elkhart Co., IN died December 2, 2015 at the same place. She was born January 1, 1932 at Elkhart, Elkhart Co., IN to Enos and Ruth (Lehman) Mumaw. On January 1, 1957 she was married to G. Weldon Troyer, who was born October 10, 1932 and survives.

Surviving are children, Michael (Julie) Troyer; Richard (Lori) Troyer; Rebecca (Mark) Fontaine; six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and a sister, Winifred (Elmer) Wall.

A son, Jerold Troyer and a sister, Kathryn Stalter preceded her in death.

Memorial services were held December 8, 2015 at College Mennonite Church, Goshen, IN.

Submitted by: Diana Hershberger, Goshen, IN
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Umble, Samuel K.
, age 91 of Atglen, PA, died April 27, 2015 at his home. He was born in Atglen, PA to John G. & Ada S. Kauffman Umble. He was the husband of Cora L. Hertzler Umble with whom he celebrated 67 years of marriage on November 8th. He was a member of Maple Grove Mennonite Church of Atglen, PA. He was the last of the original founding members of the Hamilton Hunting Camp. He was a member of the Gap Male Chorus and he served on the Tel Hai Camp Board for many years.

Surviving besides his wife are 2 children: Charles L. Umble of Atglen, Lena Mae Stoltzfus wife of Larry Martin of East Earl, 4 grandchildren: Kimberly wife of Chris Mann of Gap, Kelly Fernandez of Phoenix, AZ, Kerry wife of Bryant Guilford of Upper Marlboro, MD, Joseph Lamont Martin of New Holland, 6 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by 9 siblings: Henry K, Omar K., Willis D., Leroy D., John M., Leon H. Umble, Verna Hostetter, Mary Smoker and Ada Ruth Lapp.

Funeral service was May 2, 2015 at Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Atglen, PA, with Pastor Mike Lusby officiating. Private interment will take place prior to the funeral service.

Source: Shivery Funeral Home Paradise & Christina, PA
Submitted by: Leon Hertzler

Underwood, Gary Ray
, 54, of Stuarts Draft, VA, died June 30, 2015 at the same place. He was born December 20, 1960 at Waynesboro, VA to Grady Ray and Ann (Shirley) Underwood. On June 11, 1992 he was married to Rebecca Deshotel, who was born June 13, 1960 and survives.

Surviving are children, Daniel Underwood, Jacob Underwood and Martha Underwood,
and siblings, Lowell & Jenny Underwood, Ami & Paul Allen, and Kelly Coffey.

Memorial services were held July 6, 2015 at Springdale Mennonite Church, Waynesboro, VA with burial in the adjoining cemetery.

Submitted by: Nancy Stoll, Waynesboro, VA
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Unruh, Wilbur A.
, 90, of Hesston, Harvey Co., KS died November 3, 2015 at the same place. He was born March 8, 1925 at Goessel, KS to William and Linda (Enz) Unruh. On August 12, 1978 at Hesston, KS he was married to Donna Vogt, who is deceased.

Surviving are stepchildren, Royce Saltzman and Shirley Saltzman Bauer, a brother, Marvin Unruh and a sister, Margaret Unruh Funk.

A brother, Waldo Unruh and a sister, Elma Unruh Banman preceded him in death.

Memorial services were held November 10, 2015 at Hesston Mennonite Church, Hesston, KS with burial in Eastlawn Cemetery, Hesston, KS.

Submitted by: Norma Diller, Hesston, KS
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

van Donk, Jan
, 77, of Harrisonburg, VA died January 27, 2015 at the same place from Parkinson's disease. He was born November 4, 1937 at Nieuwekerk aan den Ijssel, The Netherlands to Jan and Arina (van Wijngaarden) van Donk. On April 8, 1967 in New York, NY he was married to Carol Louise Hunter, who was born March 2, 1937 and survives.

Surviving are children, Kim van Donk; Tanya Craft (Mike); and Daryl van Donk; two grandchildren, and siblings, Tiny Ackema; Cor van Donk; and Dick van Donk.

Two siblings, Piet van Donk and Arie van Donk preceded him in death.

Memorial services were held February 28, 2015 at Park View Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA.

Submitted by: Carol van Donk, Harrisonburg, VA
Edited by: Thelma Hoover Martin

Jan van Donk
(November 4, 1937 - January 27, 2015)

Jan van Donk, 77, died peacefully January 27, 2015, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. The son of Jan and Arina van Donk, he was born November 4, 1937 in Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel, The Netherlands. Jan immigrated to the U.S. for higher education, graduating from Goshen College and Columbia University. Mr. van Donk was a physics professor at the University in Gaborone, Botswana, where he and his wife Carol served with Mennonite Central Committee. He later taught Geology at Wheaton College (Illinois) and Phillips University (Oklahoma). After teaching for 15 years, Jan was a document analyst at Chemical Abstract Services in Columbus, Ohio, where he enjoyed working among colleagues from a variety of nationalities until his retirement.

On April 8, 1967, Jan married Carol (Hunter) van Donk of Brooklyn, NY, with whom he shared 47 years. He is survived by three children: Kim van Donk; Tanya Craft, married to Mike; and Daryl van Donk. He was "opa" to two grandchildren, Mark and Macy Craft.
Also surviving are three siblings: Tiny Ackema, of Arnhem, The Netherlands; Cor van Donk, of Land O' Lakes, FL; and Dick van Donk, of Driebergen, The Netherlands. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Piet and Arie.

Jan was a person of principal and integrity. Family and friends appreciated his unique sense of humor. He had a quiet and thoughtful manner, yet was outspoken about ethical concerns that were important to him. Of particular interest were issues of peace and justice, which he addressed with community groups and elected officials. He was active in church, teaching adult Sunday school classes for decades.
He was an avid collector of rocks and minerals, and his collection included specimens from his travels around the U.S. and to countries on four continents.

A memorial service will be held at Park View Mennonite Church on February 28, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. The family will receive friends at the church at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, 21 S. 12th St., Akron, PA 17501, or to Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community Foundation, 1491 Virginia Ave, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.
Arrangements entrusted to the McMullen Funeral Home.

McMullen Funeral Home
Harrisonburg, VA
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin

VanPelt, Grace R. Kurtz
, 48, of Columbiana, OH went home to be with the Lord on Thursday, October 1, 2015.

She was the wife of Tom VanPelt, to whom she was married for 28 years. She was born February 16, 1967 in Lebanon, PA, the daughter of Luke B. Kurtz of Quarryville, PA and the late Lillian R. (Lehman) Kurtz.

Grace was a member of the Mill Creek Mennonite Church in Canfield. She was a homemaker and a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother.

In addition to her husband and father, she is survived by eight children: Rachelle, married to Joseph Steiner of Salem, Gwendolyn, married to Lyndon Weaver of Fall Creek, WI, Craig, Jeffrey, Kimberly, Shawn, Heather and Heidi, all of Columbiana; three grandchildren: Kaylyn, Jayden and Lorielle; eight brothers and sisters: Arlene, wife of Rodney Zimmerman of Denver, PA, Kenneth of Denver, PA, Barbara Ann of Leola, PA, Harlan, husband of Shirley (Martin) Kurtz of McClure, PA, Nancy, wife of Ron Schrock, of Seymour, MO, Elaine, wife of David Weirich of Summersville, MO, Luke Ray, husband of Jamila (McFarlane) Kurtz of Kenya, Africa, and David, husband of Dorothy (Miller) Kurtz of Summersville, MO.

Calling hours will be held at the Salem Mennonite Church, 40725 Lodge Rd., Leetonia, on Monday, October 5, 2015 from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. and from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 10:00 A.M. at the Greenford Christian Church, 11767 Lisbon Rd., Greenford, with Jay Martin, David Steinhauer, Stephen Zimmerman and Andrew Lehman officiating.

Burial will be at the Salem Mennonite Church Cemetery.

Kindly omit flowers, Donations may be made in memory of Grace to Mill Creek Mennonite Church.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Warrick-Kummer-Rettig Funeral Home, Columbiana.

Intelligencer Journal - 10/3/2015
Lancaster, PA
Submitted by: Robert Fish

VanPelt, Perry W.

Jan. 12, 1932 - June 21, 2015

GOSHEN - Perry W. VanPelt, 83, died at 11 p.m. Sunday, June 21, at home.

He was a resident of Goshen, moving here from West Salem, Ohio, in September 2011.

Perry was born Jan. 12, 1932, in Columbiana, Ohio, to the late Frank and Ida (Witmer) VanPelt.

He married Mary Ann (Zimmerman) VanPelt on Nov. 27, 1983. She survives.

Also surviving are his siblings, Arthur (Viola) VanPelt, Elsie VanPelt, Willard (Charlene) VanPelt, Mary Good and Albert (Lana) VanPelt, all of Columbiana, Alice Helmuth of Sarasota, Fla., Jacob (Marilyn) VanPelt of Lincoln City, Ore.

Perry was a carpenter and a member of Cornerstone Mennonite Church.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, at RMYC, 24647 C.R. 44, Nappanee. A funeral service will be 10 a.m. Thursday, June 25, at Yellow Creek Wisler Mennonite Church. The Home Ministry will officiate. Burial will be in Yellow Creek Frame Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to Christian Aid Ministries.

Rieth-Rohrer-Ehret Funeral Home in Goshen is in charge of arrangements.

Online condolences may be sent at

The Elkhart Truth, Elkhart, IN
June 23, 2015
Submitted by: Thelma Hoover Martin

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