Mennonite Weekly Review - September 2006
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Mennonite Weekly Review -
September 4, 2006 - 84th Year, No. 36 - p. 12
Elmer J. Buhler
Elmer J. Buhler, 84, of Sioux City, Iowa, died July 28, 2006. He was
born Dec. 16, 1921, to Adolph H. and Helen (Quiring) Buhler in Grant
He was raised on a farm west of Deer Creek, Okla., and graduated from
high school in 1939. He attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kan.,
and graduated in 1948. He served in Civilian Public Service as a
conscientious objector during World War II. In 1946 he married Hazel
He taught in Kansas schools, including 11 years at Wichita Southeast
High School. He completed his master of arts degree at Wichita State in
1959 and his education specialist degree at Emporia State in 1967. He
moved with his family to Iowa in 1968, where he worked as a school
psychologist with the Sioux City Schools-AEA District 12 until his
retirement in 1985. After his retirement, he helped start a
conflict-resolution program in the Sioux City schools.
He was a lifelong Democrat and political activist. He was a member and
president of SCANAR (Siouxlanders Concerned About the Nuclear Arms
Race). He was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, where he sang
in the choir for many years. He enjoyed working on Habitat for Humanity
projects and was an organic gardener.
Survivors include three sons, Robert Buhler and his wife, Inez, of
Sioux City, James Buhler of St. Paul, Minn., and Ken Buhler and his
wife, Mary Hambleton, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; a daughter, Miriam Buhler and
her husband, Neal Anderson, of Minneapolis, Minn.; two sisters-in-law,
Hattie Buhler of El Dorado, Kan., and May Juhnke of McPherson, Kan.; a
brother-in-law, Robert Senner of Lawrence, Kan.; seven grandchildren;
nine great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Hazel Buhler; two
brothers, Arnold and Frank Buhler; and three sisters, Ann Buhler, Sue
McCarty and Stella VanMeter.
Memorial services were held at Grace United Methodist Church. Burial
was in Memorial Park Cemetery.
Don E. Blosser -
Don E. Blosser, 53, of Newton, Kan., died Aug. 26, 2006, at Wesley
Medical Center in Wichita. He was born Jan. 18, 1953, to J. Richard and
Mary Ann Blooser in Newton.
He married Sarita J. Friesen on May 20, 1995, in Hillsboro.
He was an industrial mechanic with Air Capitol Equipment in Wichita. He
was a member of Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church of rural Goessel. He was
also a member of Goessel Threshers, Kansas Boilers Safety Board and
Pawnee Oklahoma Steam Club.
Survivors include his wife, Sarita Blosser; a son, Roy Henry Blosser;
his mother, Mary Ann Blosser of North Newton; two sisters, Carol Temple
and her husband, Larry, of Elyria, and Deb Penner and her husband, Lee,
of Newton; a sister-in-law, Jody Heidelman and her husband, Brent, of
Lindsborg; and two brothers-in-law, Terry Friesen and his wife, Tammy,
of Arlington, Texas, and Donnel Friesen and his wife, Donalee, of
Kansas City, Mo.
Memorial services were held at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church.
Mennonite Weekly Review - September 11, 2006
No obituaries in this issue.
Mennonite Weekly Review -
September 18, 2006 - 84th Year, No. 38 - p. 12
Orlando J. Friesen
Orlando J. Friesen, 79, of
North Newton, Kan., died Aug. 27, 2006, at Newton Medical Center. He
was born April 3, 1927, to John and Katie (Ensz) Friesen in American
He attended high school in American Falls. He received degrees from
Bethel College in North Newton and the University of Kansas School of
On Aug. 21, 1950, he married Barbara L. Miller in Moundridge.
He served in Civilian Public Service in Belton, Mont., and Gulfport,
Miss. From 1957 to 1990, he worked as a family physician in Buhler and
was an active member of Buhler Mennonite Church.
During his retirement in North Newton, he served at various Indian
reservations for Indian Public Health Services and volunteered with
Health Ministries for Harvey County for 15 years. He was a member of
Bethel College Mennonite Church and a past member of the Bethel College
board of directors.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara Friesen; two sons, Steve Friesen
and his wife, Monta Lee Dakin, of Littleton, Colo., and Phillip Friesen
and his wife, Lisa Lister, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; a daughter,
Kathryn Campbell and her husband, Dennis, of Clay Center; a brother,
Willmer Friesen of North Newton; two sisters, Margaret Tieszen of
Caldwell, Idaho, and Ruby Friesen of Salem, Ore.; and seven
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Waldo Friesen and Edwin
Friesen; and two sisters, Verna Huse and Elma Linscheid.
Memorial services were held at Bethel College Mennonite Church. Burial
was in the Buhler cemetery.
Mary J. Matthews
Mary J. Matthews, 82, of
Goshen, Ind., died Aug. 6, 2006, at Greencroft Healthcare. She was born
March 3, 1924, to Joseph M. and Amanda (Schmucker) Miller in Nappanee.
She graduated in 1952 from Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton, Kan.
She served with Mennonite Central Committee as a mission nurse from
1961-64 in Indonesia.
On Nov. 7, 1969, she married Peter M. Matthews in Chicago.
He preceded her in death on Feb. 23, 1996.
She was a longtime Goshen resident and had been a nurse at Goshen
General Hospital before retiring in 1989. She was one of the first
nurses at the new hospital when it moved from Fifth Street to South
Main Street. She was a member of East Goshen Mennonite Church. She
Survivors include five brothers, Joseph Miller of South Bend, Edwin J.
Miller and Marvin J. Miller, both of Elkhart, Lester J. Miller of
Toledo, Ohio, and Eli J. Miller of Puyallup, Wash.; and two sisters,
Elizabeth Tyson of New Paris and Fannie Mae Miller of Nappanee.
Funeral services were held at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home of Goshen. Burial
was in Violett Cemetery in Goshen.
Abner K. Smoker
Abner K. Smoker, 90, of Camp
Verde, Ariz., died Aug. 19, 2006, in Phoenix. He was born March 20,
1916, to David S. and Mary Kauffman Smoker of Bird-in-Hand, Pa.
He grew up in the Amish-Mennonite tradition and joined the Mennonite
church as a young man. He married Viola M. Smoker on Nov. 21, 1936.
In 1950, they moved to Phoenix, where they attended Sunnyslope
Mennonite Church. In the Phoenix area, he worked at farming, school
maintenance and overseeing their rental properties. In 1989, he and
Viola moved to Camp Verde for their retirement years.
Survivors include his wife of 69 years, Viola; two daughters, Myrna
Cramer and her husband, Edward, of Phoenix, and LaVon Miller and her
husband, Robert, of Narvon, Pa.; a son, Arlan Smoker and his wife,
Donna, of Phoenix; a brother, Sylvan Smoker of Christiana, Pa.; and
four sisters, Esther Chupp of Ronks, Pa., Sadie Yoder of Lewisburg,
Pa., Martha Stoltzfus of Bowlings Creek, Ky., and Ferne Bowman of
Harrisonburg, Va.; 10 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a great-granddaughter.
John Lewis Fretz
John Lewis Fretz, 86, of Salem,
Ore., died Aug. 9, 2006. He was born Oct. 15, 1919, to Joseph and
Martha (Reesor) Fretz in Selkirk, Ont.
He graduated from high school in Baden, Ont. His family then moved to
Kitchener, Ont., where he worked briefly before being drafted.
He served as a conscientious objector during World War II. He spent
nearly four years in alternative service in British Columbia Forest
Service camps at Langford and Lake Cowichan doing firefighting and
reforestation. He also served as editor of a monthly newspaper, the
Beacon, which was circulated to about 2,500 forest camp workers across
After this, he volunteered with Mennonite Central Committee for two
years in relief and rehabilitation work in France. While in France he
met and married Beulah Roth of Oregon, who was working for MCC as a
After this assignment they returned to the United States, where he
attended Hesston (Kan.) College and Goshen (Ind.) College. Over the
next 30 years, he worked primarily in retail sales in Denver, Colo.,
and then in Salem.
He maintained a strong interest and dedication to the Mennonite church
and its work worldwide. He was an active member at Salem Mennonite
Church for more than 40 years. He served Pacific Coast Mennonite
Conference as editor of the Missionary Evangel newsletter for six years
during the 1970s. He helped organize the Oregon Mennonite Historical
and Genealogical Society and was an active volunteer in compiling and
maintaining the OMHGS archives.
He enjoyed working in his shop at home, spending time with his family
and taking trips to the Oregon coast. He enjoyed socializing and was
always quick to welcome strangers who visited church.
Survivors include his wife, Beulah; five children, John Jr. of
Oceanview, Hawaii, Joseph of Denver, Colo., Roderick of Salem, Iona
Ward of Seattle, Wash., and Karma Gingrich of Eagle, Idaho; seven
grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Giselle Shenk.
Services were held at Salem Mennonite Church.
E.A. (Lee) Moser, 91, of
Wooster, Ohio, died Aug. 8, 2006, at Wooster Community Hospital. He was
born Sept. 8, 1914, to Daniel B. and Anna Naftziger Moser near Croghan,
He was educated locally in a teacher-training course and attended
Potsdam (N.Y.) Normal College and Albany (N.Y.) State Teachers College,
from which he received his bachelor’s in education. Additionally, he
attended Goshen (Ind.) College and Wooster (Ohio) Business College.
After teaching eight years in a one-room school in rural Northern New
York, he entered Civilian Public Service. His three and a half years in
CPS during World War II were spent at Sideling Hill Camp, Pa., and
Ypsilanti, Mich. Upon his return to Lowville, N.Y., he was employed as
bookkeeper for Widrick and Sons.
In 1948 he moved to Wooster, where he became involved in automobile
sales and dealer ownership in Millersburg. Subsequently, he built and
co-owned Apple Creek Motor Sales. After 25 years in the automobile
business, he became a realtor with Real Estate Showcase in Wooster,
from which he retired in 1994.
He married Frances Zuercher on Jan. 15, 1949, in Wooster.
Survivors include his wife, Frances; a daughter, Janice of Chandler,
Ariz.; and a son, Jim Moser and his wife, Barbara, of Wooster.
He was preceded in death by a brother and three sisters.
He was an active member of Wooster Mennonite Church and had served as
church treasurer, council president and Sunday school teacher. He
participated in Gideons, Kiwanis, Ruritan, and Wayne County Investors
Forum. He was a charter member of Christian Businessmen’s Committee and
a charter board member of People to People Ministries. He enjoyed
travel throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel and Egypt.
Services were held at Wooster Mennonite Church. Private burial was in
Maple Grove Cemetery in Wooster.
Mennonite Weekly Review - September 25,
2006 - 84th Year, No. 39 - p. 8
Samuel Gerhard Fast
Samuel Gerhard Fast, 82, of
Inman, Kan., died Sept. 10, 2006, at Pleasant View Home. He was born
April 20, 1924, to Peter G. and Marie Willems Fast in Inman.
He was a farmer and had worked for Decker/Matison in Hutchinson. He
received the Kansas Farmers Conservation Award. He was a member of Zoar
Mennonite Brethren Church and participated in Kansas Mennonite Men’s
He married Ruth Peters on Nov. 5, 1946, in Inman.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Ruth Fast; two daughters, Judy
Diener and her husband, Weldon, of Hutchinson, and Nancy Tieszen and
her husband, Galen, of Wellington; a son, Richard Fast of Inman; and
He was preceded in death by a son, Gary Alan Fast; two brothers; a
sister; and a grandson-in-law, Jason Miller.
A graveside service was held at Zoar Cemetery in Inman. A memorial
service was held at Pleasant View Home Chapel.
Earl Curtis Yutzy
Earl Curtis Yutzy, 83, of Plain
City, Ohio, died Aug. 9, 2006, at The Gables nursing home in
Marysville. He was born Sept. 9, 1922, to Eli E. and Ida (Kauffman)
He attended Oak Grove School of rural Plain City. He served in Civilian
Public Service during World War II in Powellsville and Beltsville, Md.,
in agricultural research facilities. He loved the land and worked as a
farmer for 40 years.
On March 9, 1947, he married Alice M. Frey of Archbold.
As a young man he accepted Christ as his Savior and was part of the
first baptismal class at Sharon Mennonite Church in 1935. During the
1970s and ’80’s he was part of the Maranatha congregation. In later
years he returned to Sharon Mennonite Church. He served as children’s
Sunday school superintendent, an adult Sunday school teacher, treasurer
and church council member. He was a member of Gideons International.
He had an unusual ability with numbers, noticing and remembering for
years such things as the cost of gasoline, the date of an event or the
number of singers in a visiting choir. Though having only an
eighth-grade education, he supported children and grandchildren in
seeking higher education.
He and Alice traveled extensively, visiting siblings, children and
grandchildren in many parts of the United States and in distant
countries, including Japan, Ecuador and Trinidad. In retirement he
enjoyed spending some winter months in Sarasota, Fla.
Survivors include his wife, Alice; seven children, LaVern and his wife,
Janie, of Lititz, Pa., Earlene Horst and her husband, Loren, of
Harrisonburg, Va., Lynette Showalter and her husband, Conrad, of
Goshen, Ind., Mary Alice Ressler and her husband, Gerald, of Lititz,
Pa., Anita Schauer and her husband, Bob, of Plain City, Dawn Showalter
and her husband, Jon, of Rosedale, and Luann Yutzy and her husband,
Robert, of Harrisonburg, Va.; a sister, Mary Herr of Newton, Kan.; 24
grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Eli Jr. and Vernon L. Yutzy.
Wesley E. Jantz
Wesley E. Jantz, 92, of
Hesston, Kan., died Sept. 13, 2006, at Schowalter Villa. He was born
May 14, 1914, to Solomon and Katie (Wadel) Jantz at Greensburg.
On May 25, 1943, he married Phyllis Weaver at Hesston.
He was an ordained minister and served as a pastor, chaplain and
health-care administrator. His professional life took him to Kansas,
Colorado, Illinois and Minnesota. He enjoyed singing in male quartets
and singing hymns. His harmonica playing was a source of inspiration
for many people.
He studied at Hesston College and at Friends Bible College, now Barclay
College at Haviland.
He had a sense of humor that was interspersed with his spirituality. He
was acquainted with suffering as the result of an accident in young
adulthood. His pain was a vehicle to identify with others.
He was a dedicated husband, sharing life with Phyllis for 63 years. He
was deeply committed to his children and grandchildren, always willing
to stop and listen with a caring heart. He enjoyed attending important
life events of his grandchildren. He left his family the legacy of a
positive approach to life.
Survivors include his wife, Phyllis; four children, Melinda Gerlofs and
her husband, Bob, of Bailey, Colo., David Jantz of Estes Park, Colo.,
Marilyn Vidakovich and her husband, Tom, of Buena Vista, Colo., and
Wayne and Lynda Jantz of Scottsdale, Ariz.; three brothers, Wallace of
Hesston, Dewayne and Melvin of Haviland; two sisters, Bernice Schmidt
of Schowalter Villa and Doris Diller of Hesston; five grandchildren and
Services were held at Hesston Mennonite Church.
Copyright 2003 - All rights reserved -
Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA
Used with permission by the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen,
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.