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Mennonite Weekly Review - April 2008
  Buller, Ralph LelandDerstine, Kermit H.;   Fast, Menno;    Friesen, Viola Violet Graber;   Hochstedler, Marjorie Osborne  Regehr, Curt L.;   Richard, Clysta Ann;   Seibel, Elmer Lee   Showalter, Leonard S.;   Stauffer, Harold S.;   Swartzentruber, Fred;  

Mennonite Weekly Review - April 7, 2008 - 86th Year, No. 14 - p. 9


Friesen, Viola Violet Graber

Viola Violet Friesen, 99, died March 21, 2008, at Sierra View Homes, Reedley, Calif. She was born Dec. 19, 1908, to Ben C. and Lena Schrag Graber in Freeman, S.D. 

She was baptized July 26, 1925, at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church near Freeman and dedicated her life to serving others. Her strong desire was to teach children and become a missionary. She graduated from Freeman Academy in 1927 and began teaching in one-room schools before graduating from Freeman Junior College in 1934. She taught elementary school for nine years in the Freeman area.

She graduated from Bethel College, North Newton, Kan., in 1939 and married Arthur Friesen on Aug. 23, 1939. 

To prepare for a life of Christian service, they went to Chicago as students at Bethany Biblical Seminary. They were ordained June 14, 1940, at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church. The General Conference Mennonite Church called them to serve as missionaries to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people in Oklahoma, where they served faithfully from 1940 to 1958. She served as a partner in ministry by playing the piano and pump organ for worship, teaching Sunday school, organizing summer Bible schools, conducting retreats for women, preaching occasionally, sewing and cooking for volunteers who often stayed in their home, in addition to raising two sons. She taught fifth grade for two years in Hammon, Okla.

After the family’s move to Reedley, Calif., in 1958, she taught first grade for 12 years and retired in 1969 from Kings River Union School District in Kingsburg. She remained an active member of First Mennonite Church, a volunteer at the “Nearly New” Mennonite Central Committee thrift store and sewed more than 500 tops that were made into knotted comforters for relief. Until age 95, she volunteered and sewed, prayed and cooked, hosted guests in her apartment and wrote letters — an encouragement to many.

Survivors include a son, Richard, and his wife, Dorothy Nickel Friesen, of Newton, Kan.; a brother, LeRoy Graber of Freeman, S.D.; two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur H. Friesen, on March 3, 1995; an infant son; a son, Delbert, on Aug. 2, 2002; two sisters, Olivia Deckert and Albena Deckert; and two brothers, Chris Graber and Ellis Graber.

Memorial services will be held at First Mennonite Church, Reedley.


Richard, Clysta Ann

Clysta Ann Richard, 77, of Des Moines, Iowa, died March 23, 2008.  She was born July 31, 1930, to Anna Graber Richard and Noah Richard in Wayland.

She was a lifetime member of the Mennonite Church and a charter member of Des Moines Mennonite Church, where she served in many leadership positions.

She attended Goshen (Ind.) College and earned bachelor’s and medical doctor degrees from the University of Iowa. She was the first woman in Iowa to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. She was in private practice for 31 years before retiring in 1991.

Her life was devoted to caring for her mother and brother and thousands of grateful patients. She was a faithful and joyful Christian and loved Christ, her congregation and the great hymns of the church. She was selfless and generous. Her life and the fruits of her labor were devoted to others.

She held positions on the teaching staff at Broadlawns Polk County Hospital and as intern coordinator at Iowa Lutheran Hospital. She was a member of the advisory board of Planned Parenthood of Iowa, the advisory board of the Center for Mentally Retarded Children, president of the Iowa Chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association, coordinator of obstetrics-gynecology at Broadlawns Medical Center and an assistant professor on the University of Iowa faculty.

She was a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Society, Mennonite Medical Association, American Medical Association, Iowa Medical Society and the Polk County Medical Society. She was an emerita member of Iowa Methodist Medical Center Staff and an emerita fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She was a member of the Des Moines chapter of Altrusa International.

Survivors include sisters Beverly Robinson of Des Moines and Mae (Gilbert) Alliman of Goshen, Ind.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Ruby Telford, and a brother, John Richard. She donated her body to the University of Iowa for medical research.

A memorial service was held at Des Moines Mennonite Church.


Hochstedler, Marjorie Osborne

Marjorie Hochstedler, 92, of Greentown, Ind., died March 20, 2008. She was born July 19, 1915, to Ed and Pearl (Frey) Osborne at the family home in Miami County.

She married Victor Hochstedler on Nov. 9, 1940. She was a lifetime member of Howard-Miami Mennonite Church of Kokomo.

Survivors include three children, Shirley Powell and her husband, John, of Ypsilanti, Mich., Merville Hochstedler and his wife, Sue, of La Grange, Ky., and Jerrold Hochstedler and his wife, Holly, of Noblesville; a brother, Millard Osborne of Harrisonburg, Va.; 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Victor; a son, Joseph; three sisters, Marcile Kendall and infants Helen and Miriam; five brothers, Herbert, Chester, Ralph, Gerald and Verlin Osborne; and two grandchildren, Lisa and Mark.

Services were held at Howard-Miami Mennonite Church of Kokomo.


Buller, Ralph Leland

Ralph Leland Buller, 77, of Hydro, Okla., died Jan. 24, 2008, at Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City. He was born June 30, 1930, to David Edward and Sarah (Kroeker) Buller in Waka, Texas.

He was raised and attended school in Cleo Springs and graduated from high school at Oklahoma Bible Academy in 1947. He attended Grace Bible Institute, Phillips University in Enid and the University of Oklahoma Medical School, graduating in 1956.

On May 29, 1952, he married Lorraine Lohrenz in Orienta.

He enlisted in the Air Force as a medical officer from 1957 to 1959. He did his internship in Tulsa at Hillcrest Hospital and did his residency in LaFayette, La. He opened his medical practice in Hydro in 1960 and retired in 1996.

He enjoyed his grandchildren, woodworking, playing golf, fishing, playing dominoes, and prison ministry.

Survivors include his wife, Lorraine; two sons, Nathan Scott Buller and his wife, Sherri, of Weatherford and Kevin Buller and his wife, Ginni, of Rural Retreat, Va.; two daughters, Brenda Doane and her husband, Mica, of Meno and Stephanie Buller of Oklahoma City; two brothers, Vernon Buller of Reedley, Calif., and Eldo Buller of Tremont, Ill.; six sisters, Ida Rempel of Hutchinson, Kan., Emily Koehn of Kingfisher, Clarine Johnson of Meno, Frances Schultz of Enid, Josie Slagell of Hydro and Ruby Regier of Cleo Springs; and nine grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by four sisters, Delores, Elvina, Evelyn and Albua Mae.

Funeral services were held at Bethel Mennonite Church in Hydro. Burial was in Saron Mennonite Cemetery in Orienta.


Showalter, Leonard S.

Leonard Shank Showalter, 78, of Waynesboro, Va., died Oct. 5, 2007. He was born March 12, 1929, to Ira S. and Edna Shank Showalter in Augusta County.

Since his birth he fought with congenital heart problems, which in later life resulted in three open-heart operations. One of them, in 1986, resulted in his contracting Hepatitis C through blood transfusions.

He graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School in 1946. After engaging in several occupations, he became an owner of Weaver Insurance Agency, where he worked for 35 years. Prior to his insurance career, he worked in sales at Lambert Manufacturing Corp., supervising delivery of building materials. Through 2003, he spent his retirement years delivering trucks up and down the East Coast for Special Fleet Services.

An active member of Springdale Mennonite Church, he served there in various capacities over his lifetimes. He enjoyed singing in quartets, choral singing and teaching Sunday school. Because of his health, he recently resigned after numerous years as a board member of the Virginia Auto Aid Plan in Harrisonburg. He was a past member of Stuarts Draft Ruritan Club.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Ann Marie Olesh Showalter; a daughter, Kay Weaver and her husband, M. Gregory, of Harrisonburg; a son, Brent R. Showalter and his wife, Melissa, of Harrisonburg; two sisters, Dorothy S. Shank of Myerstown, Pa., and Lois Herr of East Petersburg, Pa.; a sister-in-law, Elouise C. Showalter of Waynesboro; two brothers, W. Milton Showalter and Ralph L. Showalter, both of Waynesboro; and two granddaughters.

He was preceded in death by two sisters, Marjorie S. Shank and Shirley S. Minnich; and a brother, Winfred E. Showalter.

Memorial services were held at Springdale Mennonite Church.


Stauffer, Harold S.

Harold S. Stauffer, 70, of Lancaster, Pa., died unexpectedly Feb. 13, 2008, at Lancaster General Hospital. He was born to Norman E. and Grace C. Stauffer in Lancaster.

He retired in 2002 from Quality Custom Cabinetry and had previously worked for the former Victor F. Weaver Company, both of New Holland. He graduated from Lancaster Mennonite School in 1955 and Franklin and Marshall College in 1967. He was a member of East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, where he served in many capacities.

From 1961 to 1965, he served as business manager with Eastern Mennonite Missions in Somalia with his wife, Connie. God spared his life in the incident that took the life of Merlin Groves. He was secretary for the board of directors at Contact Lancaster Helpline and served on the Landis Homes board.

Survivors include his wife, Connie Heisey Stauffer; a foster daughter, Cindy Mull, and her sons Michael and Gregory; two sisters, Arlene Longenecker and Lois Nissley and her husband, Harold; and sister-in-law Betty Stauffer.

He was preceded in death by a brother, J. Melvin Stauffer; seven nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church. Burial was in East Petersburg Mennonite Cemetery.

Mennonite Weekly Review - April 14, 2008 - 86th Year, No. 15 - p. 16


Derstine, Kermit H.

Kermit H. Derstine, 74, of Denver, Colo., died March 29, 2008. He was born Nov. 25, 1933, to Clarence F. Derstine and Mamie Wismer Histand Derstine.

He was assistant pastor at Holdeman Mennonite Church in Wakarusa, Ind., from 1958 to 1961, pastor at Akron (Pa.) Mennonite Church from 1961 to 1968, and pastor at First Mennonite Church in Denver from 1968 to 1975. He had been a landman and in security up until retirement.

He served on the following boards and organizations: Rocky Mountain Memorial Society; president of Montclair Homeowners Association; Dental State Board of Colorado; the Democratic Party and the Funeral Consumers Society of Colorado.

Survivors include his wife, Sherilyn J. Derstine; a son, Matt Derstine; three daughters, Sara Tiernan and her husband, Jim, and Carolyn and Rebecca; stepsons Morgan and Montier Stewart; and three grandchildren.*

A memorial service will be held April 21 at First Mennonite Church in Denver.

*Correction in April 28, 2008 issue: For the Kermit Derstine obituary run in the April 14 MWR, Derstine had five grandchildren, not three as reported, and one daughter, not three.

Correction: John Martin Eby, whose obituary was published in the March 31 issue, was from Pennsville, N.J. The state was listed incorrectly.


Mennonite Weekly Review - April 21, 2008 - 86th Year, No. 16 - p. 9


Fast, Menno

Menno Fast, 91, of Hesston, Kan., died March 23, 2008. He was born April 16, 1916, to Isaac and Aganetha Unruh Fast on the Unruh homestead east of Goessel.

He joined Goessel Mennonite Church. He attended Bethel College in North Newton for two years, which qualified him to teach all eight grades at Emmenthal School for three years. He then returned to Bethel and graduated in 1942. In fall 1942, he began graduate school at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he earned a master’s degree in physics education. Then for one year he taught high school physics in Chicago.

In World War II he entered Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector. He served in Three Rivers, Calif., where he met Naomi Brubaker, his future wife, then in Livermore, Calif., and finally in Akron, Pa. In June 1946, he left for Poland as assistant director of the tractor unit, a joint project of United Nations Recovery and Rehabilitation Act and Mennonite Central Committee. This six-month project to rebuild agricultural technical ability destroyed by the war put him in contact with local farmers and authorities, and he discovered many refugees who had lost their families. So MCC asked him to continue in Poland to work with the refugee relocation effort. He concluded this work in the summer of 1949.

He married Naomi Ebersole Brubaker on Aug. 20, 1949, in Lancaster, Pa., after which they settled on the Fast family farm east of Goessel.

He taught physics at Bethel College and farmed with his father. In 1954 he joined the physics department at the University of Kentucky. In 1968 they moved to Lincoln, Neb., where he worked in the physics department at the University of Nebraska until his retirement in 1981. In 1987, he and Naomi moved to the family farm near Goessel. In 2001 they relocated to Schowalter Villa in Hesston.

Survivors include his wife, Naomi; three children, Catherine and Douglas Everingham of Wichita, Elisabeth and Theodoor Beels of Grand Rapids, Mich., and John and Jenny Fast of Goessel; a sister, Martha Waltner; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by an infant son, Robert Lowell; and a sister, Selma Schmidt.

Mennonite Weekly Review - April 28, 2008 - 86th Year, No. 17 - p. 9


Swartzentruber, Fred

Fred Swartzentruber, 90, a resident of Valley View Haven in Belleville, Pa., died March 29, 2008. He was born March 28, 1918, to Simon and Daisy (Yoder) Swartzentruber at Gortner, Md.

As a young man he moved to Ohio, where he learned the Swiss cheesemaking trade and worked in Holmes, Wayne and Madison counties. In 1957 the family moved to Belleville. He managed the Central Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Co-op at Reedsville for 25 years, retiring in 1983.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Orpha (Schlabach) Swartzentruber; three sons and two daughters, Ernest Swartzentruber and his wife, Rachel, of Belleville, Herman Swartzentruber of Lewistown, Alvin Swartzentruber and his wife, Elaine, of Danville, Bernadine Schwartzentruber and her husband, Nelson, of Lowville, N.Y., and Trudy Hartzler and her husband, Joe, of Belleville; a brother, Lewis Swartzentruber of Alymer, Ont.; 11 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a great-grandson.

He was a member of Mountain View Mennonite Church of Reedsville, where the funeral was held. Burial was in Locust Grove Cemetery in Belleville.

May 12, 2008 issue: Addition: In the obituary of Fred Swartzentruber in the April 28 issue, survivors also include a brother, Henry Swartzentruber and his wife, Salome, of Oakland, Md. He was preceded in death by siblings Lena Yoder, Claude and Owen Swartzentruber.


Seibel, Elmer Lee

Elmer Lee Seibel, 88, of North Newton, Kan., died March 26, 2008, at Kidron Village. He was born Jan. 31, 1920, to Jacob and Anna Wall at Aulne.

He spent his early years on farms in Marion County until the family moved to Wilson County, where he graduated from Benedict High School. After graduation he farmed for several years around Benedict before moving to Hillsboro to learn the carpenter trade. In the early 1950s he began building homes on his own in Wichita. He was especially meticulous in his work. In the early days of home building he did almost everything, from the foundations to shingling the roofs. He also renovated and managed rental properties for about 30 years.

He married Dorothy Pankratz on June 12, 1953.

As a teenager, he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior after a visit to the family farm from a country preacher who was holding revival meetings in town. He was baptized at First Baptist Church in Fredonia. He was a member of and attended First Mennonite Brethren Church in Wichita from 1953 until moving to Kidron Village in 2004. He enjoyed singing in the choir and Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus. He had a passion for missions, including Mennonite Central Committee.

One of his favorite pastimes was fishing. Many of his fishing supplies were homemade, including a boat and camper.

Early in their marriage, instead of constructing a bookcase he handcrafted a china cabinet for his wife from a walnut tree he cut down. Over the years he spent countless hours in his shop, creating rocking horses, cradles, wagons, birdhouses, desks, bookcases and planters. If something was needed, he usually found a way to make it. When one of his hot water heaters gave out and would have been thrown away, he cut the tank in half, put wheels on the halves and then planted flowers in them.

His greatest treasures in life were his grandchildren. When they were young he enjoyed giving them rides in a cart he made and pulled behind his riding lawn mower.

Survives include his wife, Dorothy; two children, Gerald and his wife, Loreta, of Kechi, and Leora Schneider and her husband, Martin, of Milford, Neb.; four siblings, Lucena Thiessen, Homer, Wallace and Frances Quintana; and five grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Clarence and Ernest.

Funeral services were held at First Mennonite Brethren Church in Wichita.


Regehr, Curt L.

Curt L. Regehr, 92, of North Newton, Kan., died April 13, 2008, at Kidron Bethel Retirement Center. He was born Oct. 17, 1915, to George and Mary Pauls Regehr in Inman.

A lifetime resident of the Inman area, he lived in North Newton the last two years. He had worked as a contractor and carpenter. He was a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Inman. He also served in many Mennonite Disaster Service projects, including two months in Skopje, Yugoslavia, in 1963 after a major earthquake there.

On May 11, 1941, he married Martha Janzen in Inman. She preceded him in death on June 10, 1949. On Oct. 12, 1952, he married Marie Ediger.

Survivors include his wife, Marie; four sons, Jerry H. and his wife, Sandra, of Wichita, Curtiss and his

wife, Tammy, of Whitewater, Donovan and his wife, Laurie, of Halstead, and Wesley and his wife, Beth, of Hesston; a daughter, Judy Collicott and her husband, John, of Blair, Neb.; a brother, Arnold and his wife, Fern, of Inman; 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Art and George; five sisters, Anna Heidebrecht, Linda Pankratz, Kathryn Pankratz, Betty Ediger and Sara Thiessen; and a grandson.

Funeral services were held at Bethel Mennonite Church of Inman. Burial was in North Inman Cemetery in rural Inman.


Correction: For the Kermit Derstine obituary run in the April 14 MWR, Derstine had five grandchildren, not three as reported, and one daughter, not three.

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