Mennonite Weekly Review - November, 2005
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Mennonite Weekly Review, November 7, 2005, 83rd Year, No. 45, p. 8
Laura Nisly, 70, of Grantham, Pa., died Sept. 7, 2005, at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill. She was born Nov. 27, 1934, to Edward D. and Elizabeth (Yoder) Nisly in Hutchinson, Kan.
She was a member of Slate Hill Mennonite Church for more than 30 years. She served as a loyal supporter of her husband, a professor and ordained minister and bishop in the Mennonite Church. She was deeply committed to her family, her church and to the God she served quietly and faithfully.
Despite many health problems, including rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, congestive heart failure and, in the last year and a half, liver cancer, she live with courage, dignity and hope. In her quiet way she embodied extraordinary strength in her will to live deeply. Many people considered her a model of fortitude and perseverance.
Survivors include her husband of 42 years, Paul W. Nisly; two sons, L. Lamar Nisly and his wife, Deborah, of Bluffton, Ohio, and Randal R. Nisly of Dillsburg; two sisters, Vera Mae and Barbara Ellen, both of Hutchinson, Kan.; and seven brothers, William, Harley, Lester, Daniel, Elmer, Larry and John, all of whom live in Hutchinson except Larry, of Abbeyville, S.C.; and three grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a daughter, Janelle Joy, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1987.
Funeral services were held at Grantham Brethren in Christ Church.
Mennonite Weekly Review, November 14, 2005, 83rd Year, No. 46, p. 12
Naomi Ruth Jantzen, 75, of Cincinnati, Ohio, died on Oct. 27, 2005. She was born March 28, 1930, to Isaac and Tena Schellenberg of Henderson, Neb.
The family soon moved from Nebraska to Vinland, Kan., where she spent most other childhood. As she grew up, she enjoyed 4-H activities and developed her musical talents by learning the piano. She often played at church services of Vinland Methodist Church, where the family attended. She also developed a beautiful soprano voice and greatly enjoyed singing.
She attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., from 1947-51, where she majored in music and elementary school education. She taught in several local school systems - Lehigh, Hillsboro, Hutchinson and Newton - before moving on to Denver, Colo. In 1959 she moved to England, where she taught in the school system for U.S. Air Force personnel, and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to travel from there throughout Europe and the Middle East.
In 1960, she moved back to the U.S. to marry Carl R. Jantzen of Beatrice, Neb., who at the time was a graduate student at Michigan State University. They were married at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton, Kan.
Together they moved to Oxford, Ohio, where he joined the faculty of Miami University. She taught in the local Headstart program, gave private piano lessons and was active in local and state Democratic politics. The marriage ended in divorce, and in 1975 she moved to Cincinnati, where she pursued a degree in social work.
Music was always important to her, and she was particularly proud of the years she spent singing with the May Festival Chorus at Cincinnati's Music Hall. She was a member of Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship for nearly 30 years.
Survived include a son, Franz, and his wife, Jean Badalamenti, of Washington, D.C.; a brother, James Schellenberg, of Terre Haute, Ind.; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Dec. 10 at Cincinnati Mennonite Fellowship.
Dorothy S. (Troyer) (Burkett) Schrock, 96, of Hesston, Kan., died Nov. 3, 2005. She was born Sept. 24, 1909, to Menno Z. and Susan B. (Miller) Troyer of rural Inman in McPherson County.
At age 12, she accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord. She was baptized and became a member of the West Liberty Mennonite Church on Feb. 23, 1921. All her life she served the Lord faithfully.
In her younger years, she helped her sisters with their young children, taught Bible school and served as secretary at the Kansas City Mennonite Mission. There she met and fell in love with Leo M. Burkett. They were married Oct. 19, 1940, at West Liberty Mennonite Church.
Her primary role was being a homemaker and raising her family. She also did some work outside the home. After her children were raised, she worked for seven years at Hesston Corp. in the print shop, retiring in 1974.
Her husband, Leo, preceded her in death in March 1972. She married E. Freedly Schrock on July 19, 1980. During the 10 years of their marriage, they traveled extensively. Freedly preceded her in death in March 1991.
She was a member of Whitestone Mennonite Church and a member of the Auxiliary of Gideons International. All who knew her will miss her gentle spirit and remember the kindness she showed to all.
Survivors include two sons, Jim Burkett and his wife, Kay, of West Liberty, Ohio, and David Burkett and his wife, Judi, of Hesston; a daughter, Mary Friesen and her husband, Jim, of Hesston; 19 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; two stepsons, Marvin Schrock and his wife, Jodi, of Naples, Fla., Ed Schrock and his wife, Irene, of Colorado Springs, Colo., two stepdaughters, Dorothy Kratz and her husband, Jim, of Elkhart, Ind., and Eunice Munn and her husband, Don, of Middlebury, Idaho; and numerous step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren
She was preceded in death by six brothers, Roy, Ora, Sam, Paul, Menno M and Ernest; and three sisters, Lillie Steckly, Bertha Troyer and Ida Kauffman.
Funeral services were held at Whitestone Mennonite Church. Burial was at the West Liberty Cemetery.
Della Stutzman Troyer, 103, of Union City, Pa., died Aug. 10, 2005. She was born Aug. 8, 1902, to Emery and Katie Birky Stutzman in Milford, Neb.
She was a homemaker and a longtime member of Beaverdam Mennonite Church. She enjoyed crocheting, gardening, sewing and made many quilts. Her greatest interests and joys in life were her church and family. She also enjoyed living in Sarasota, Fla., in the winter months.
Survivors include a daughter, Laura Lee Martin and her husband, Titus, of Clymer, N.Y.; five sons, Duane Troyer of Corry, Clifford Troyer and his wife, Louise, and Cletus Troyer and his wife, Cynthia, all of Waterford, Norman Troyer and his wife, Sylvia, and Mervin Troyer, all of Union City; a sister, Agnes Gotchy of San Jose, Calif.; 22 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dan Troyer, in February 1991; four sisters, Verna Stauffer, Alta Stutzman, Clara Enns and Katie Gardner; a daughter-in-law, Carol Troyer; and a great-grandchild.
Funeral services were held at Beaverdam Mennonite Church. Burial was in Lawn Cemetery of Beaverdam.
Morris Lynn Litwiller, 83, of Gratiot County, Mich., died Oct. 28, 2005. He was born April 8, 1922, to Alfred and Edith Brown Litwiller in Neward Township, Ithaca, Mich.
He resided all his life in Gratiot County, growing up on a farm and learning early the responsibilities of milking cows and hoeing in the fields. As a young man he answered the Lord's call to salvation, and upon his confession of faith was baptized into the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, on April 4, 1937. He remained faithful to his vows until death.
At age 20, he was drafted and served about three and a half years as a conscientious objector in different camps throughout the United States during World War II. A highlight of this time was his sea voyages to Poland and Germany, tending horses that were being shipped to war-torn Europe.
On Oct. 12, 1949, he married Jean Miller at Ithaca. They raised a family of eight children on a dairy farm south of Middleton.
He was a quiet man, who spent many hours studying the Bible and the doctrines of the church. He cherished the faith and had a reverence for the Word of God. He was a pillar of the faithful and left a priceless legacy to his family. He left a clear testimony that his hope was built on Jesus' righteousness.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Jean; eight children, Phillip and his wife, Dawn, of Tawas City; Dawn Litwiller and her husband, Errol, of Center, Colo., Denise Underwood and her husband, Wayne, of Middleton, Priscilla Schrock and her husband, LeRoy, of Center, Colo., Janet Ensz and her husband, Merle, David and his wife, Kandy, and Randy and his wife, Rachel, all of Perrinton, and Daniel and his wife, Christeen, of Clarksdale, Miss.; and 20 grandchildren.
Services were held at Wildwood Mennonite Church. A graveside service and burial was at Wildwood Cemetery.
Mernnonite Weekly Review, November 28, 2005, 83rd Year, No. 48, p. 11
Erma Louise Birky, 84, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., died Nov. 4, 2005. She was born June 16, 1921, to Louis R. and Fannie Lauber Kennel in Strang, Neb. She grew up in the Strang area with her parents and a sister.
On Oct. 30, 1941, she married Glen Birky in Shickley, Neb. To this marriage came five children.
In 1961, they moved from Nebraska to Minnesota, where Glen became pastor at Lake Region Mennonite Church near Detroit Lakes.
She was a wonderful and loving mother and grandmother who had a great sense of humor and loved to serve those that were around her. She enjoyed quilting, baking and hosted many guests in the warmth of her home.
Survivors include her husband, Glen Birky; five children, Margaret Brubacher and her husband, Ray, of Elmira, Ont., Stanley Birky and his wife, Shirley, of Detroit Lakes, Carol Erb and her husband, Kenny, of Frazee, David Birky and his wife, Teresa, of Detroit Lakes, and Mary Jean Sweigart and her husband, Tim, of Hesston, Kan.; a sister, Ardis Cowerd of Glendale, Ariz.; 17 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held at Lake Region Mennonite Church. Burial was in Lake Region Mennonite Church Cemetery.
Orlo N. Kaufman, 86, died Nov. 4, 2005, at Memorial Home in Moundridge, Kan. He was born Jan. 8, 1919, to Christian D. and Reina Wedel Kaufman in rural Moundridge, where he grew up.
He and his wife, Edna, went to Gulfport, Miss., in 1947 as directors of a Civilian Public Service camp and later spent more than 20 years, from 1952-75, in the Gulfport area working with Mennonite Voluntary Service in community development. From 1975-82, they were directors at Pine Lake Fellowship Camp in Meridian, Miss. He also served as a pastor in Paso Robles, Calif., and as assistant pastor at Eden Mennonite Church in Moundridge.
He enjoyed the out-of-doors and was innovative by nature. He designed and built a camping trailer used in several extended family vacations. His hobbies included woodworking, birdwatching and reading. He enjoyed table games and was a competitive opponent. When Edna's health began declining, he completed CNA training to increase his skills and faithfully cared for her until her death in 1998. As his memory weakened, he often said that Edna was his memory and he was her legs.
He maintained an accepting, cheerful and positive attitude even throughout his declining years. He lived a life of service and was a loving example to all who knew him.
Survivors include his children, Bonnie Graber and her husband, David, of Hardin, Mont., Frances Griffin and her husband, John, of Stillwater, Okla., Eugene and his wife, Cheryl Smith Kaufman, of Valley Center, and Robert and his wife, Krista Showalter Kaufman, of Kansas City; a brother, Tilmar Kaufman of Moundridge; a sister, Glennys Henry of Bluffton, Ohio; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Edna; and a sister, Elva Schrag.
Burial and services were held at Eden Mennonite Church of Moundridge.
Mary Ann Melchert, of the Bay Area in California, died Nov. 13, 2005. She was born May 10, 1927, to S. Jay Hostetler and Ida Miller in Pontiac, Ill.
At an early age she moved to Madhya Pradesh, India, where her parents served as Mennonite missionaries. She boarded at Mount Hermon School in Darjeeling. She graduated in 1944 with Mount Hermon's top academic award for girl students.
Attending Goshen (Ind.) College, she received a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1948. After teaching first grade in Gary, Ind., she went to Japan in 1952 for mission work. The next summer she met Jim Melchert, who shared her love of singing, and they were married in 1954 in Tokyo.
They returned to the U.S. in 1956 and moved to the Bay Area in 1959 for his graduate study at the University of California-Berkeley. She enrolled there and earned a California Teaching Certificate. She taught at Roosevelt Junior High in Oakland in 1972-73. Her husband's postings at the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, D.C., 1976-80, and later as director of the American Academy in Rome, 1982-86, elevated her to the role of an official hostess.
She had a passion for reading. A resolute pacifist, she was outraged by injustices. She so enjoyed people she met that she took great pleasure in keeping track of their whereabouts. For years she sent Christmas cards of her own design, and her annual mailings to friends were more than 1,100. She is remembered for her dynamic spirit, her forthrightness, dignity, concern for the welfare of others and her readiness to embark on new adventures.
Survivors include her husband, Jim; three children, Christopher Melchert of Oxford, England, David Seth Melchert of Oakland and Renée Melchert Thorpe of Bali, Indonesia; brother John Jay Hostetler of Green Valley, Ariz.; sister Lois Young-Bjerkestrand of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and five grandchildren.
A memorial gathering will take place Dec. 11 at St John's Presbyterian Church and Center in Berkeley.
Hugo Hildebrand, 81, of Arvada, Colo., died Oct. 27, 2005, of cancer. He was born and raised on a farm in Manitoba.
He attended Canadian Mennonite Bible College and then worked at the Children's Aid Society. In 1952 he graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. He went on to obtain his master's degree in social work from Chicago University. As a social worker, he worked in Ailsa Craig, Ont.
In 1960, he moved to Colorado and continued his work there at Family and Children Services, and then later spent many years working at Clayton College for Boys in Denver, a school for orphaned boys. He finished his career in social work at Southwest Denver Community Mental Health Center.
He was a charter member and very active in the life of Arvada Mennonite Church. He volunteered in many organizations. He was passionate about his faith and peace issues. He loved to garden, travel and visit family. In recent years he played on several senior sports teams. He was a kind and gentle man who enjoyed life, and he will be missed by many.
Survivors include his wife, Donna (Balzer); his daughters Jeanne Hildebrand Slyngstad and her husband, Vince, of Beaverton, Ore., and Shari McWhorter and her husband, Jim, of Everett, Wash.; their mother, Eldora; a stepson, Donald Eichhorn and his wife, Beverly, of Firestone; three brothers, Jake, John and Ed; three sisters, Tina, Mary and Anne of Canada; a brother-in-law, Richard Balzer of Halstead, Kan., a sister-in-law, Carolee Neufeld of Hillsboro, Kan.; and six grandchildren.
Memorial services were held at Arvada Mennonite Church.