Mennonite Weekly Review - April, 2003

Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.

   Bitikofer, Clifford Lawrence;   Erb, Leonard William;    Gingerich, Dorothy Ella Lais;   Goering, Ralph W.;   Hunsberger, Gladys B.  Yoder;   Mandel, Leona Pauline Miller Bare;   Müller, Rudi;   Penner, Herman R.;    Risser, Eldon M.;   White, Allen A.;   Zehr, Velma K.;  

Mennonite Weekly Review - April 7, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 14 - p. 11

Leonard William

Leonard William Erb, 93, of West Point, Neb., died Feb. 26, 2003. He was born July 29, 1909, to Christian and Barbara (Oswald) Erb at O'Neill.
He attended school near O'Neill before moving with his family to Wisner, where he attended Cuming County Rural School District #39.
He was baptized in the Mennonite church and was a member of Beemer Mennonite Church.
On June 12, 1938, he married Lillian Nitzsche at Plum Creek Mennonite Church of rural Beemer.
He was employed by W.W. Frankfurt in West Point as an electrician. After the Rural Electric Association provided electricity to rural customers, he wired houses and farmsteads. He operated Erb Electric and Appliance in West Point for more than 50 years before retiring.
He was one of the caretakers of the Amish-Mennonite cemetery near O'Neill. He enjoyed spending time with his family, playing his fiddle, working in his shop and gardening.
Survivors include his wife, Lillian; five children, Barbara Wyse and her husband, Ronald, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, Mary Detweiler and her husband, Joe, of Newton, Kan., Doug and his wife, Mary, Dorothy Suhr and her husband, Larry, and Lenny and his wife, Julie, all of West Point; 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Wilford and Menno; and a grandson in infancy.


Gladys B.  Yoder

Gladys Barbara Hunsberger, 90, of Batavia, Ill., formerly of Glen Ellyn, died March 25, 2003. She was born Feb. 17, 1913, to Samuel and Sally Yoder in Columbus, N.D.
She graduated in 1930 from Surrey (N.D.) High School and in 1934 from Wesley Memorial Hospital Nursing School in Chicago.
She married Harvey S. Hunsberger on July 23, 1939, in Chicago.
She worked as a nurse in Chicago and in Wheaton, where they moved in 1951. She was a member of the Mennonite church in Lombard, where she served as a Sunday school teacher, secretary, librarian and pastoral team member for many years. She enjoyed teaching English as a second language to many of her neighbors seeking American citizenship. She moved to Glen Ellyn about 1979, where she spent many hours as a volunteer for Cross Cultural Crafts, now Ten Thousand Villages, which supports fairly-traded merchandise. She moved to The Holmstad retirement home in Batavia in 1996.
Survivors include two sons, Gerald Hunsberger and his wife, Marcia, of Espanola, N.M., and Kurt Hunsberger and his wife, Bobbi, of Elizabeth City, N.C.; four grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; a sister-in-law, Edna Yoder, of Batavia; and a brother-in-law, Lloyd Hunsberger of Cleveland, Ohio.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harvey S. Hunsberger, in 1975; and by her two brothers, Floyd and Durbin Yoder.
Memorial services were held at The Holmstad.


, Velma K.

Velma K. Zehr, 88, of Eureka, Ill., died March 7, 2003, at Maple Lawn Health Care Center. She was born Aug. 2, 1914, to Peter and Louisa Sutter Zehr in Deer Creek.
She worked for Morton Pottery for 29 years before retiring in 1979. She then worked for Tazewell Publishing Co. for eight years.
She was a member of First Mennonite Church of Morton. She was a volunteer at the Eureka Et Cetera Shop and was active in the mission work of Mennonite Women.
Survivors include a brother, Milton Zehr of Morton; and three sisters, Fannie Zehr, Mary Zehr and Doris Yoder, all of Eureka.
She was preceded in death by two brothers.
Funeral services were held at First Mennonite Church, and memorial services were held at Maple Lawn Homes. Burial was in Pleasant Grove Cemetery of Tremont.


Eldon M.

Eldon M. Risser
, 80, of Greeley, Colo., died March 28, 2003, at home under the care of Hospice of Northern Colorado. He was born Sept. 3, 1922, to Ephriam and Emma (King) Risser in Newton, Kan.
On Aug. 15, 1943, he married Luella Yost in Greensburg, Kan.
He graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College in 1945, majoring in theology. In 1945 they moved to Denver, where he served as the controller at Maplecrest Industries. He worked as an accountant for various companies in Denver and Greeley until his retirement in 1984.
He was the music director at First Mennonite Church in Denver for several years. He was then elected congregational leader for Glennon Heights Mennonite Church in Lakewood and also served as music director there. He directed and sang in many choirs and male quartets. Most recently he was a member of the Greeley Chorale.
His greatest joy in life was caring for his wife and family.
Survivors include a daughter, Phyllis Stutzman of Kansas City; a son, Jim of Greeley; four granddaughters and a great-grandson.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Luella, on Aug. 18, 1998.
Memorial services were held at First Mennonite Church of Denver. Burial was in the Columbarium at First Congregational Church in Greeley.

Mennonite Weekly Review - April 14, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 15 - p. 15

, Leona Pauline Miller Bare

Leona Pauline Miller Bare Mandel
, 82, of Kalona, Iowa, died March 21, 2003. She was born Aug. 15, 1920, to Jacob P. and Emma Mae Yoder Miller of Kalona.
She attended Snake Hollow rural school and graduated from Kalona High School in 1938.
She taught school for one year before marrying Melvin Bare on June 8, 1941. The couple lived and farmed in the Kalona area for many years. He died in 1966. She then married Jacob (Bill) Mandel on Nov. 5, 1971, in Kalispell, Mont. They lived in Montana until his death in January of 1986. She then returned to Kalona and lived there until her death.
She was a lifelong member of East Union Mennonite Church. She was also a member of Mountain View Mennonite Church in Kalispell during her years there. She taught Sunday school and Bible school.
She had a great sense of humor and this made her an enjoyable person to be with. Making beautiful quilts was a pastime that gave her and her family much pleasure. Leona appreciated all her family and friends and loved visits from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Survivors include a son, James Bare and his wife, Lois, of New Haven, Conn.; a daughter, Judy Goodrich and her husband, Robert, of Wellman; a brother, Chester Miller of Hesston, Kan.; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Preceding her in death were her husbands, Melvin Bare and Bill Mandel; a brother, Lawrence Miller; and a sister, Eldora Preston.


Dorothy Ella Lais

Dorothy Ella (Lais) Gingerich
, 85, of Hubbard, Ore., died March 9, 2003. She was born Jan. 22, 1918, to Daniel and Ellen (Egli) Lais, in Hubbard. She lived her entire life in the Hubbard area.
She married Vernon Joseph Gingerich on April 18, 1943. She graduated from Hesston (Kan.) College in 1951.
She reflected her Christian beliefs in the way she lived her life as a loving wife, mother, homemaker and young children's Sunday school teacher. Throughout her life, she exemplified unconditional love. The many family, friends and neighbors that frequently graced her home are a testament to her hospitality. Her favorite saying, "Whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things," reflected her nurturing and peaceful nature. While she loved all children, she was most fond of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Survivors include her husband, Vernon; nine children, Raymond and his wife, Barbara, of Austin, Texas; John and his wife, Louise, Thomas and his wife, Jeanette, and Carolyn Gingerich, all of Hubbard; Douglas and his wife, Gloria, and Dorothy Brenneman and her husband, Tom, both of Canby; Charles and his wife, Sheryl, and Craig and his wife, Jana, both of Aurora; Judy Gingerich of Vernonia and honorary daughter Urszula Balenkowski of Hubbard; five sisters, Evelyn Birky and Marjorie Birky of Kalispell, Mont.; Vera Garber of Hubbard; and Frances Hoover and Ruth Zehr of Goshen, Ind.; 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a granddaughter; two brothers, Frank Lais and John Lais; and six sisters, Lilly Berkey, Mary Kenagy, Celestia Lais; Susan Stanerson; Lena Blair and Orpha Fisher.

Mennonite Weekly Review - April 21, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 16 - p. 11

, Ralph W.

Ralph W. Goering,
74, of Champaign, Ill., died April 2, 2003, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was born July 13, 1928, to Henry J. and Mary Kauffman Goering in Moundridge, Kan.
He married Carmen M. Camacho on Dec. 11, 1948.
He graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in biology and from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras in 1958 with a doctorate in medicine. He studied at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kan., and the University of Washington in Seattle.
He was an instructor at the University of Washington and an assistant professor at Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., and at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He was in private practice in obstetrics and gynecology in Champaign from 1969 to 2000.
He was a private pilot and ham radio operator. He enjoyed motorcycles, photography, classical music and the arts.
Survivors include his wife, Carmen; a son, Bryan of Effingham; two daughters, Carol Moravec of Belvidere and Myra Perkins of Waycross, Ga.; two brothers, Ellis and Oswald Goering, both of Moundridge; three sisters, Ada Goering of Neodesha, Kan., Martha Ford of Uniontown, Kan., and Kathryn News of Drexel Hills, Pa.; eight grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Memorial services were held at First Mennonite Church of Champaign.


, Clifford Lawrence

Clifford Lawrence Bitikofer,
74, of Hesston, Kan., died April 8, 2003, at Schowalter Villa after a bout with cancer. He was born Dec. 6, 1928, to Fred and Martha (Loucks) Bitikofer at rural Canton.
He grew up on a farm and attended Hesston Academy and one year at Hesston College. He served with Mennonite Central Committee as a truck driver out of Akron, Pa., for two years. He then was in 1-W alternative service for two years at Topeka State Hospital. He was baptized and joined Spring Valley Mennonite Church of Canton.
He married Elizabeth Bartel on July 28, 1955, in Meade.
He worked as a cabinet maker at Gerden Industries in Newton and at Skyline Factory in Halstead for a few years, then as a carpenter for several contractors for more than 20 years. He was mill-room supervisor at Kropf Lumber in Hesston for 14 years. After retirement he worked at Cross Wind Conference Center as a groundskeeper and volunteered at Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston.
A member of Hesston Inter-Mennonite Church, he was a devoted Christian who enjoyed serving. He volunteered yearly at the Kansas MCC relief sale and often assisted through Mennonite Disaster Service, serving several years on the executive committee of Kansas MDS.
He enjoyed working outdoors and respected God's creation. He liked woodworking, yard work, metal-working and creating things. He loved music, played a harmonica and sang in the Kansas Mennonite Men's Chorus. He was a loyal husband and dedicated father.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth; four children, Kathleen Neff and her husband, Dana, of North Newton, Lynette Stoeppler and her husband, Andy, of Shafter, Calif., Kristine Griffioen and her husband, Joe, of Belmond, Iowa, and Mervin and his wife, Cathy, of Manhattan; four brothers, Leroy of Canton, and Ralph, Allen and Henry, all of Hess-ton; a sister, Stella Sommerfeld of Hesston; and 16 grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a son, Eugene Ray; three brothers, Franklin, Melvin and Paul; and a sister, Mabel.
Funeral services were held at Hesston Inter-Mennonite Church. Burial was in Spring Valley Mennonite Church Cemetery.



Rudi Müller, 76, died March 21, 2003, in Enkenbach/Pfalz, Germany. He was born March 8, 1927, in Kirchheim-Bolanden/Pfalz, Germany. On Nov. 20, 1956, he married Friedel Dohm. She preceded him in death in May 2000.
As Pax came to Enkenbach in spring of 1953, so did Rudi Müller come to Pax. A school teacher, he showed interest in and compassion for the young Americans, many of whom were away from home for the first time, and who appreciated assistance in adjusting to everything new in their lives. There was a new culture in new surroundings, and for most a new language, and for all a new regimen of living as a unit and working as a team. He spent practically every weekend involved with some of the Pax workers, going places and doing things.
By the time Pax involvement in Enkenbach ended in 1962, nearly 200 Pax workers were touched by Rudi Müller. He had become active in unit activities and specifically with the Enkenbach Pax choir. When later it became the Enkenbach Mennonite Church Choir, it was under his direction for some years. He was also organist in a nearby community Catholic church. Later, he was honorary president of the Enkenbach Mennonite Chorus.
His love was close to unconditional. This is the way many of us knew him.
On Nov. 30, 1956, he joined the Enkenbach city council, where he remained until his death, the last 14 years as a dedicated and much- loved mayor. Under his leadership, the communities of Enkenbach and Alsenborn merged. His efforts produced a partnership with the French community of St. Mihiel. He was involved with and held numerous positions and offices in local, county and state politics, while remaining untied politically when it came to youth and their activities in sports organizations.
His influence from the mid-1950s pioneered the establishment of partnerships of youth organizations in France, England, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Japan and China. He led the German delegation to the Munich Olympics, and was Olympic Village Mayor in Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea.
Survivors include two sons, Michael and Georg.

Mennonite Weekly Review - April 28, 2003 - 81st Year, No. 17 -p. 12

Allen A.

Allen A. White
, 90, of Hesston, Kan., died April 15, 2003, at Schowalter Villa. He was born Aug. 27, 1912, to Elmer J. and Sadie (Byler) White in Newton.
He married Edna Horst in September 1936 in Peabody. She preceded him in death on April 10, 1982. He then married Esther Kuhns on April 16, 1983, in India. She preceded him in death on Oct. 14, 2000.
He was an engineer and inventor, having nearly 50 patents to his credit. He was employed with Hesston Corp. for 25 years, retiring in August 1977.
He was a member of Whitestone Mennonite Church of Hesston and directed Lakeside Mennonite Camp in La Clede, Mo., for 10 years. He was an ordained minister in South Central Mennonite Conference and served in the pastorate at Spring Valley Mennonite Church of rural Canton, First Mennonite Church of rural Burns, and the Christian Church of Peabody.
He was a gifted man. He helped build equipment and machinery with his family and was always willing to help others.
Survivors include five sons, Donald and his wife, Sally, of Chevy Chase, Md., Ivan and his wife, Twyla, of Hesston, Roger and his wife, Sherry, of Newton, Darwin and his wife, Theresa, of Hendersonville, Tenn., and Virgil and his wife, Diane, of Newton; a daughter, Colleen White of Elkhart, Ind.; a brother, Dale of Newton; three sisters, Neva White of Manhattan, Elsie White of Hesston and Erna Jantz of McPherson; 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wives, Edna and Esther; four brothers, Warren, Clem, Calvin and James; and two sisters, Gladys Zook and Mary Wenger.
Memorial services were held at Whitestone Mennonite Church. Burial was in Catlin Community Cemetery of rural Peabody.


Herman R.

Herman R. Penner
, 89, of Wichita, Kan., died March 20, 2003. He was born Oct. 20, 1913, to Jacob E. and Anna (Rempel) Penner on a farm outside of Hillsboro.
His father died when he was 4 years old, and his mother died when he was 15. After his mother's death, he went to live with his sister Olga and her husband. He was baptized into the Brudertal congregation north of Hillsboro. He attended Hillsboro Bible Academy for a year. He graduated from Hinton High School in Hinton, Okla.
On Dec. 18, 1937, he married Mary Stelting in Cordell, Okla. They lived together for more than 65 years.
During much of his life he worked at farming, but he also worked as a mechanic, aircraft worker and school custodian. They moved to Wichita in 1953, when he worked for Boeing Aircraft Co. He retired from Boeing after 17 years. He went on to work for the Wichita Board of Education for five years.
He was a member of Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita. He was active in the choir for many years and served as janitor and later on the cemetery committee. At the church's annual fall festival, he could usually be found in the kitchen stirring the borscht. He enjoyed stamp collecting, working in his garage, gardening and growing flowers.
Survivors include his wife, Mary; a son, John and his wife, Joan Penner, of Fall River; five daughters, Mary Broker of Wichita, Ruby Penner of Santa Ana, Calif., Betty McOmber of Scio, Ore., Ruth Fanning and her husband, Don, of Yorba Linda, Calif., and Kay Hodges and her husband, Frank, of Warthen, Ga.; a sister, Linda Enns of North Newton; 11 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a son, Clyde Penner, and a daughter, Elsie Mae Penner.
Funeral services were held at Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church. Burial was in Old Mission Cemetery of Wichita.

Copyright 2003 - All rights reserved - Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA
Used with permission by the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen, INDIANA
Permission granted to private family researchers to use selected portions of these files to tell their family stories.
May not be mass-produced in any form for commercial purposes.