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Mennonite Weekly Review - December 2007
  Bontrager, Andrew A.;   Frey, Raymond E.;   Hochstetler, Walter Edwin;    Miller, Bertha Fern Weaver;   Miller, Elsie Lambright   Plank, Dwight Samuel;   Regier, Goldie J.Steiner, Mildred EstherThomas, Marlin   Yoder, Elmer S.   Yoder, Mildred Louise Clemons;   

Mennonite Weekly Review - December 3, 2007 - 85th Year, No. 49 - p. 12


Raymond E. Frey, 81, of Goessel, Kan., died Nov. 17, 2007, at Bethesda Home. He was born Oct. 23, 1926, to Edward and Augusta (Neufeld) Frey in Newton.

He married LuEtta June Schmidt on May 19, 1949, in Goessel. He was a member of Tabor Mennonite Church for 63 years.

He was an educator and administrator. Early in life, he was a conscientious objector and served one-and-a-half years in Civilian Public Service in California. He also served as stewardship director of the General Conference Mennonite Church for 12 years.

Survivors include his wife, LuEtta Frey; a son, Sherwin Frey and his wife, Debra Fischer, of Los Angeles; two daughters, Marcene Entz and her husband, Thurman, of rural Newton, and Melissa Beitler and her husband, Jim, of Berne, Ind.; a brother, Marlin Frey of Newton; two sisters, Earla Critchfield of Hesston and Nila Chambers of Wichita; his stepmother, Adelia Frey of Newton; and five grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at Tabor Mennonite Church in rural Goessel. Burial was in Tabor Mennonite Cemetery.


Bertha Fern Weaver Miller, 91, of Nampa, Idaho, died Nov. 11, 2007, at her home. She was born Aug. 23, 1916, to minister Reuben M. and Lucinda Weaver in Newton, Kan.

She grew up in Harper, Kan., and was one of 14 children. She was baptized at age 12 and became a lifelong member of the Mennonite church. She was educated in Harper schools and at Hesston Academy, where she graduated in 1937.

On Sept. 4, 1938, she married W. LaVern Miller at Jet, Okla.

They made their first home in Gate, Okla., and then moved to Ames, Iowa, where he graduated from Iowa State College Veterinary School. They moved to Nampa in 1943. There she became office assistant, helper and bookkeeper in her husband’s 50-year veterinary practice.

She was active in First Mennonite Church and City Acres Mennonite Church of Nampa as song leader, vocalist, Sunday school teacher, vacation Bible school teacher and librarian. She supported Nampa Mennonite School and Nampa Christian Schools. For many years she volunteered at Nampa’s More-For-Less (later Ten Thousand Villages) shop.

Over a span of 20 years she cared for more than 70 foster children and hosted 14 homeless adults in the family home. A large percentage of the income from foster parenting, antiques and quilting was given to worldwide missions and local needy families.

Survivors include five sons, Sam Miller of Sand Hollow, Kelly Miller of Nampa, Noel Miller of Boise, Craig Miller of Nampa and Tim Miller of Parma; four daughters, Dawn Pichette of Harbor City, Calif., Celia Quignon of Nampa, Miriam Hess of Union, Ore., and Melody Landis of Mountain Home; six siblings, Ella May Miller of Harrisonburg, Va., Alta Fry of Elk Falls, Kan., Mary Shue of Harper, Kan., Wanda Good of Harrisonburg, Va., Anna Ruth Beck of Hesston, Kan., and Dale Weaver of Cripple Creek, Colo.; 19 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, W. LaVern Miller; two sons, Loman and Neil; and nine siblings.

Mennonite Weekly Review - December 10, 2007 - 85th Year, No. 50  - p. 13


Goldie J. Regier, 83, of Hesston, Kan., died Nov. 8, 2007, at Schowalter Villa following a long battle with cancer. She was born Aug. 20, 1924, to John and Agnes Neufeld in Medford, Okla.

She attended Spring Valley Grade School and Medford High School and graduated from Oklahoma Bible Academy in Meno.

On June 2, 1947, she married Daniel G. Regier at Medford Mennonite Church.

After their marriage, she took courses at Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Neb., while her husband studied for the ministry. In early adulthood, she worked as a secretary for the Agricultural Conservation Association of Medford, then later as society editor of the Medford newspaper. Her primary occupations throughout life were as a homemaker and minister’s wife. Her husband’s ministry took them to many parts of the United States. They lived in 11 places during their life together. She also worked as a cook, first at Highland Park Manor in Clinton, Okla., then at Frederick (Pa.) Mennonite Home, Denver (Pa.) Nursing Home, and later at Len & Flo’s Kitchen in Newton.

In retirement, she was a member of First Mennonite Church of Newton, where she served on the kitchen committee and as part of the visitation team with her husband, Daniel. He died Aug. 22, 2007.

Survivors include two daughters, Sheryl Wineinger and her husband, Bill, of Andover, and Sandra Unruh and her husband, Kent, of Bowmansville, Pa.; a brother, Harry Neufeld of Enid, Okla.; four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Funeral services were held at First Mennonite Church in Newton. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery.


Walter Edwin Hochstetler, 63, died Nov. 20, 2007, at Beech Grove Community, Nonington, England, following a three-month illness with stomach cancer. He was born April 11, 1944, to Elam and Eliza (Bender) Hochstetler in Goshen, Ind. 

He was a 1967 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University and a 1970 graduate of Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. In 1970 he was a founding member of Fellowship of Hope congregation, an intentional community in Elkhart, Ind.

On Aug. 17, 1974, he married Frances Zerger of Moundridge, Kan.  In November 1985, they moved to the Deer Spring Bruderhof in Norfolk, Conn.

Besides living in Goshen and Elkhart, he also lived in New York and Pennsylvania and moved to England from Farmington, Pa., in June 2003. 

Survivors include his spouse, Frances; six children, Jonathan Hochstetler and his wife, Lisa, of Moundridge, Kan., Samuel Hochstetler and his wife, Daisy, of Nonington, England, Timothy Hochstetler of Rifton, N.Y., Isaac Hochstetler of Wichita, Kan., Rhoda Hochstetler of Newton, Kan., and Rachel Hochstetler of Nonington, England; seven siblings, Laban Hochstetler of Middlebury, Ind., Miriam Graber Schrock of Goshen, Ind., Samuel Hochstetler of Aroda, Va., Daniel Hochstetler of Goshen, Ind., Noah Hochstetler of Dangriga, Belize, Marietta Stoltzfus of Goshen, Ind., and Joseph Hochstetler of Minerva, Ohio; a grandaughter; and a number of stepbrothers and sisters.

He was preceded in death by sisters Rhoda Edna Hochstetler and Esther Eva Herschberger.

A memorial service was held at East Goshen Mennonite Church. Funeral services were held at Beech Grove Community, and he was buried in the Beech Grove Community cemetery, Nonington, England.


Dwight Samuel Plank, 77, of Bremen, Ohio, died recently when a bull fatally injured him. He was born June 5, 1930, to Ira David Plank and Laura Malinda (Kanagy) Plank in Logan County.

On Feb. 14, 1939, they moved to Bremen in Fairfield County. Before he attended high school they moved to near Rushville. He graduated from Rushville Union High School in 1948.

He was a member of Turkey Run Mennonite Church all his life from his early teens. In 1951 he went on a cattle ship sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee to take cattle to needy families in Jordan. In 1953-55, he served as a conscientious objector to the military at Marymount

Hospital in Cleveland. He spent a number of years working in construction.

He married Caroline Kurtz on June 26, 1965.

After their marriage, he enjoyed farming along with being employed as a custodian for Cyril-Scott Printing Co. He enjoyed caring for Belgian horses, hunting and working with older tractors.

On June 11, 2007, he had open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve and one bypass. After a slow but sure recovery, he was able to drive tractor and help on the farm.

Survivors include his wife, Caroline; four children, Frieda Joy Thiessen and her husband, Brian, of Maryfield, Sask., Marvin Lee Plank and his wife, Becky, of Bremen, Thomas Alvin Plank and his wife, Dianna, of Mount Perry, and Catherine Salome Chevalier and her husband, Ron, of Logan; two brothers, Roy and Donald Plank; and seven grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by brothers Robert Carl, Floyd and Oren Plank.

Mennonite Weekly Review -  December 17, 2007 - 85th Year, No. 51 - p. 13


Elsie (Lambright) Miller, 91, of Goshen, Ind., and formerly of Middlebury, died Nov. 14, 2007, at Greencroft Nursing Center. She was born on Nov. 19, 1915, to Jacob J. and Fanny T. (Yoder) Lambright.

She married Eli D. Miller on Dec. 15, 1940, at Townline Mennonite Church.

In her youth, she was baptized at Townline Mennonite Church, where she remained a faithful member for more than 75 years. Her commitment to the work of the church began early in life when she helped her father do the weekly church cleaning. Before marriage, she and her mother hosted many meals for the youth and adults in the church, a practice she continued throughout her married life and until age 90, when she was incapacitated by a stroke. Hospitality was her spiritual gift. In addition to her church community, she entertained many international guests, Goshen College students, relatives and strangers.

Her husband, Eli, was ordained to the ministry in 1948 and later as bishop in 1956. She faithfully served with him in visiting the sick, comforting the bereaved and offering her care in various ways. She took on extra home responsibilities so Eli could attend conference meetings, teach at Rosedale Bible Institute for three winters and serve on various church and community committees. Together they served as house parents for voluntary service units in Hamburg, Germany, and at Beaver Lake Camp in Ontario.

Survivors include a son, David Miller and his wife, Susan, of Middlebury; four daughters, Ruth of Middlebury; Verna of Palmyra, Pa.; Miriam Bontrager and her husband, Walt, of Middlebury, and Lois Miller and her husband, Michael, of Partridge, Kan.; a sister, Clara Miller of Topeka; a brother, Melvin Lambright of Middlebury; 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Eli, on Dec. 8, 1990; a daughter-in-law, Lillian Miller, on Feb. 23, 2003; six brothers, Jerry, Toby, Ammon, Edward, Milt and Freeman Lambright; and a sister, Wilma Miller.

Funeral services were held at Townline Mennonite Church.


Andrew A. Bontrager, 98, of South Hutchinson, Kan., died Oct. 16, 2007, at Hospice House. He was born Aug. 12, 1909, to Andrew F. and Fannie Borntrager Bontrager on a farm near Yoder.

He married Nora Yutzy on Nov. 4, 1934, at her home southwest of Hutchinson. She preceded him in death on Jan. 29, 1966. He later married Elizabeth Mast on July 16, 1967, at Kalona, Iowa.

A resident of the Haven and Yoder area all his life, he was a farmer and was ordained into the ministry at age 29. He was a lifetime member of Yoder Mennonite Church, where he served as a minister until retirement. He also served on the Central Christian School board for many years. He recently became a member of South Hutchinson Mennonite Church.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Bontrager; five sons, Maynard A. and his wife, Fannie Mae, of South Hutchinson, Kenneth L. and his wife, Mary Lou, of Phoenix, Ariz.; Wesley J. and his wife, Marilyn, of Buhler, Marion R. and his wife, Judy, of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Clarence E. and his wife, Andrea, of Ocala, Fla.; a daughter, Dorothy Weaver and her husband, Richard A., of Highlands Ranch, Colo.; a brother, David A. of Goshen, Ind.; two sisters, Edna Yoder of South Hutchinson and Ida Schrock of Haven; 16 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Nora; four brothers, Edward, William, Clarence and Enos; six sisters, Barbara Chupp; Mary

Yoder, Anna Yoder, Fannie Troyer, Mattie Gingerich and Amelia Bontrager.

Funeral services were held at the former Yoder Mennonite Church. Burial was in Yoder Mennonite Church Cemetery.


Mildred Louise Clemens Yoder, 78, of Peoria, Ariz., died Nov. 9, 2007, of brain cancer. She was born Jan. 7, 1929, to Raymond and Esther Clemens in Souderton, Pa.

She grew up in Souderton, where she was baptized in Souderton Mennonite Church. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg, Va., in 1946.

She married Henry Yoder on May 12, 1951. 

In 1954 they went to Cuba to do church planting after a year of language study in Costa Rica. When it was no longer possible to remain in Cuba, they lived in Miami, Fla., for five years to help Cuban refugees achieve a better life. After returning to Pennsylvania, she went to college and then taught junior high English for 17 years. She was a member of Plains Mennonite Church in Lansdale, Pa.

In 1984, she and her husband went to Guatemala to serve as MCC country representatives for five years. After Guatemala they moved to Arizona and for six years lived in Tucson, where her husband was pastor of Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, and she taught in a program for troubled youth in the Juvenile Detention Center. Upon retirement they moved to Peoria, where she continued to be active and was a faithful member of Trinity Mennonite Church.

Ever since she received her college and graduate education she actively encouraged women to pursue their dreams and potential and go on in higher education. Throughout her life she looked for the best in people and worked for peace and reconciliation as a faithful follower of the Prince of Peace.

Survivors include her husband of 56 years, Henry; four grown children, Allan and his wife, Rebeca, of Stevens, Pa., Anita and her husband, Andy, of Albuquerque, N.M., Tina of Peoria and David of Glendale; a sister, Olive of Harrisonburg, Va.; and a brother, R. Wayne of Souderton, Pa.; six grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Memorial services were held at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale and in Boyertown, Pa., where she and her husband had their first date and later served as pastor for several years.


Elmer S. Yoder, 81, of Hartville, Ohio, died Sept. 14, 2007, after a three-week illness. He was born Oct. 6, 1925, to Simon L. and Lydia Yoder near Somerset, Pa.

He was an ordained minister in Conservative Mennonite Conference. He was a longtime school teacher who spent many years on the boards of Eastern Mennonite University, Rosedale Bible College, Central Christian School and Lake Center Christian School. For 27 years he was president of Stark County Mennonite and Amish Historical Society. He wrote 11 books, edited one and co-authored two.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Esther; three children, Dorcas Eberly and her husband, Nelson, of Hartville, Elwood and his wife, Joy, of Harrisonburg, Va., and Jason and his wife, Naomi, of Westcliffe, Colo.; eight brothers and sisters, Thelma Yoder of East Dublin, Ga., Denver Yoder of Hartselle, Ala., Galen Yoder of San Vito, Costa Rica, Anna Hershberger of Honea Path, S.C., Pauline Yoder of Montezuma, Ga., Bertha Yoder of Montezuma, Ga., Marilyn Yoder of Mill Creek, Pa., and Gerald Yoder of San Carlos, Costa Rica; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a daughter-in-law, Donna-Marie, the first wife of Jason; a sister, Dorothy Yoder; and an infant brother, Paul.

Funeral services were held at Cornerstone Mennonite Church. Burial was in Walnut Grove Cemetery.

 Mennonite Weekly Review - December 24, 2007 - 85th Year, No. 52 - p. 8


Mildred Esther Steiner, 94, of Goshen, Ind., died Nov. 29, 2007. She was born Jan. 23, 1913, to Edith and Harvey Metzler on their family farm in Columbiana, Ohio. 

After high school she attended Goshen College and then graduated from Kent State College. She then taught in a two-room country school in her home community until her marriage to John Steiner on June 6, 1936. 

The call of the church led she and John to move their family to Kansas. For the next seven years they lived in three different communities in central and western Kansas: Hesston, Garden City and Elbing. They moved to Goshen in 1954, when they received a call for John to serve as superintendent at Bethany Christian High School. She continued to pursue her interest in teaching, receiving her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Goshen College. She taught at Clinton Christian School and Harrison Elementary School, near Wakarusa, until her retirement in 1977.

She was a member at Pleasant View Mennonite Church of Goshen for the past 53 years, where she served not only as a minister’s wife but as children’s Sunday school superintendent, women’s fellowship president, and Sunday school and summer Bible school teacher. She was active in the women’s missionary sewing association and the Mennonite Relief Sale.

Survivors include five children, Sylvia Miller and her husband, Don, and J. Steiner and his wife, Lillian, all of Goshen, Wes Steiner and his wife, Margaret, of Middlebury, Janet Steiner and her husband, Michael O’Malley, of Washington, D.C., and Joan Vogt and her husband, Dave, of Evanston, Ill.; a sister, Laura Metzler of Columbiana, Ohio; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John; and three sisters, Rena Cullar, Sarah Metzler and Ruth Steiner.


Marlin Thomas, 67, died Dec. 3, 2007, after a six-and-a-half-month fight with brain cancer. He was born June 11, 1940, to Henry and Ruth Thomas in Satanta, Kan.

When he was 2 years old he relocated with his parents to Abram, Texas, where his parents founded a Mennonite Brethren mission church. He and his family lived in Texas until he finished the eighth grade. During that time he came to know Jesus as his Savior and Lord and was baptized upon the confession of faith. He felt God’s call to serve in pastoral ministry.

He graduated from high school at Corn (Okla.) Bible Academy and attended Pacific Bible Institute, now Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University, Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in Fresno, and both the University of Chicago and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, earning a doctor of ministry degree.

He met Janice Warkentin while attending Corn Bible Academy. They were married Sept. 15, 1961. 

He taught in the English as a Second Language program for the Department of Labor in Fresno County and served as Bible and Christian studies instructor at Corn Bible Academy for seven years. He pastored churches in California, Oklahoma, Illinois, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Pennsylvania. During the last 19 years he served in the role of conflict transformation pastor as well as a consultant and trainer in numerous places. His time of service spanned 43 years. He retired as a credentialed minister of Lancaster Conference of Mennonite Church USA.

He authored three books and more than 20 articles in numerous newspapers, church-related magazines and scholarly journals. He founded Resources for Resolving Conflict, a not-for-profit ministry.

Survivors include his wife, Janice; son Eugene and his wife, Tami; daughter Cristy Cornelius and her husband, Ludwig; his father, Henry, age 95; brothers Art and Daniel; and sister-in-law Lou. 

Funeral services were held at Bloomington (Ind.) Free Methodist Church.

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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.