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Mennonite Weekly Review - July 2008

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

    Brubaker, Wilmer "Will";   Fast, Erna Justina;   Gleysteen, Maryn J. "Dutch";   Hershberger, Lynn Steven;   Oesch, Mary Ruth Lapp;   Peachey, LeRoy L.;    Ratzlaff, Wanda Irene;    Schlabach, Daniel D.;   Seitz, Kenneth Leroy;   Whitewolf,  Fred  Sr.;  

Mennonite Weekly Review - July 7, 2008 - 86th Year, No. 26 - p. 9


Brubaker, Wilmer "Will"

Wilmer (Will) Brubaker, 87, of Bishop, Calif., died June 1, 2008. He was born March 28, 1921, to Phares and Elizabeth Brubaker in Sterling, Ohio.

Wilmer grew up as a farm boy in Ohio, and at the age of 18 he began his welding career. He and his brother had a manufacturing company for farm equipment. He moved with his family to California in February 1956 as a friend asked him to join in prospecting for uranium. That was the start of his prospecting, which continued throughout his life. In California he continued his welding career in various companies, ending with Lockheed Aircraft, from which he retired in 1983.

Before retirement he and his wife

spent weekends in Owens Valley, and after retirement they decided to make it their home. He loved the openness of the desert instead of city life. He continued prospecting for gold and silver with friends. He enjoyed hiking the mountains around Owens Valley and climbed Mount Whitney and White Mountain peaks.

Survivors include his wife, Martha (Garman) Brubaker; six children, Cynthia Dennis of Laguna Beach, Elwood Brubaker and his wife, Eileen, of Quartz Hill, Gaylord Brubaker and his wife, Shirley, of Tehachapi, Nanci Bell and her husband, Dave, of Colorado Springs, Colo., Joyce Barg and her husband, David, of Los Alamitos, and Mervin Brubaker and his wife, Kristy, of Auburn, Wyo.; a sister, Ruth Miller of Walnut Creek, Ohio; 11 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a brother and a sister.

Memorial services were held at Bishop Nazarene Church. Burial was in East Line Street Cemetery.


Schlabach, Daniel D.

Daniel D. Schlabach, 82, of Winesburg, Ohio, died May 4, 2008, after a sudden illness. He was born Oct. 28, 1925, to Daniel E. and Amanda (Yoder) Schlabach near Mount Hope.

He grew up on a farm near Mount Hope. On Jan. 11, 1951, he married Retha Miller.

A retired plasterer and drywaller, he was a devoted father and husband who loved his family and who spent the last several years as caregiver to Retha. He was a member of Longenecker Mennonite Church, where he had served as elder, Sunday school superintendent, teacher and church historian. He loved visiting with friends and family and enjoyed sharing stories from the past.

Surviving include his wife, Retha; four children, David Schlabach and his wife, Helen, and Brenda

Sweany, all of Winesburg; James Schlabach and his wife, Shirley, of Millersburg; and Bradley Schlabach and his wife, Jayne, of Harrisonburg, Va.; a sister, Elizabeth Weaver of Shreve; a brother-in-law, Elmer Troyer of Sarasota, Fla.; and seven grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two infant daughters, Elaine and LaVonne; four brothers, Abraham, Eli, Emanuel and Wesley; and eight sisters, Magdalena, Susanna, Mary Ann, Ada, Lala, Amanda, Saloma and Katie.

Services were held at Longenecker Mennonite Church near Winesburg. Burial was in Longenecker Mennonite Cemetery.


Seitz, Kenneth Leroy

Kenneth Leroy Seitz, 91, a resident of Park Place at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, died June 6, 2008, at Oak Lea Nursing Home.

He was born Dec. 1, 1916, to John Bear and Elizabeth Judith Hess Seitz in Camp Hill, Pa.

On March 28, 1937, he married Grace Heebner.

He graduated from Eastern Mennonite College in 1954 and attended Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He pastored in West Virginia and Virginia from 1954 to 1958. He and his wife then served as missionaries in Mexico City from 1958 to 1978. He served as a chaplain and pastor from 1979 to 1999 in Pennsylvania and Virginia. His chaplaincy work was at Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

He was an active member of Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community and was widely known as a Bible teacher. He and his wife, Grace, worked as volunteers at Gift and Thrift in Harrisonburg for Mennonite Central Committee and were members of Mount Clinton Mennonite Church.

Survivors include three sons, Kenneth Lee Seitz and his wife, Kathryn, of Beirut, Lebanon, Delbert Leon Seitz and his wife, Mary Friesen, of Lancaster, Pa., and David Allen Seitz and his wife, Christine, of Mishawaka, Ind.; three daughters, Lois Arlene Kreider and her husband, Philip, of Harrisonburg, Eunice Mae Wenger and her husband, Wade, of Granger, Ind., and Frances Carol Justice and her husband, Larry, of Dayton; a brother, Marlin H. Seitz of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Grace, on Dec. 20, 2007; and by a son, James Carl Seitz.

Funeral services were held at

Mount Clinton Mennonite Church. Burial was in the church cemetery.


Whitewolf,  Fred  Sr.

Fred Whitewolf Sr., 80, of Lame Deer, Mont., died April 23, 2008.

He was born Feb. 22, 1928, to Isadore and Belle Little Eagle Whitewolf in Ashland.

He was raised by his aunt, Cecelia Little Eagle Woodenlegs. He attended school at St. Labre Mission, Busby, Lame Deer and Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Ore. He became a Golden Glove Lightweight Champion Boxer while attending Chemawa.

On May 6, 1949, he married Carol Ann Walks Along at Petter Memorial Mennonite Church in Lame Deer.

He worked for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe for 35 years. He worked for the Northern Cheyenne Forestry Department and the railroad in Miles City and helped build Yellowtail Dam. He was a Tribal Council member and served on the Elderly Committee. He was a certified boiler operator.

He was baptized as a young adult and became a dedicated and active member of Lame Deer Mennonite Church, formerly Petter Memorial Mennonite Church. He served on the church board and participated in many church functions. He and Carol often traveled to conferences and assisted with summer camp.

He was preceded in death by his  wife, Carol; two daughters, Esther and Dolores; brothers Joseph Sr., George and Goldstein Whitewolf, John Jr. and Max Woodenlegs; sisters Zethel and Darlene Woodenlegs; and niece Ernestine Whitewolf.

Survivors include six children, Clifford Small and his wife, Octa, Geneva Medicine Elk, Alfretta Hart and her husband, Raymond Sr., Fred Whitewolf Jr., Leslie Whitewolf and his wife, Theresa, and Mark Whitewolf and his wife, Ruth; a brother, John J. Woodenlegs; two sisters, Theresa Woodenlegs and Rosie Doyle; 29 grandchildren; 70 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.


Fast, Erna Justina

Erna Justina Fast, 95, of Hesston, Kan., died June 23, 2008, at Schowalter Villa. She was born Dec. 13, 1912, to David H. and Justina (Warkentin) Fast in Mountain Lake, Minn.

She graduated from Mountain Lake High School in 1931. She graduated from Bethel College in North Newton in 1943 with an AB degree, and from New York Biblical Seminary in 1946 with an MRE degree.

She served as a teacher in Minnesota Public Schools. She was a volunteer in Germany with Mennonite Central Committee. She was director of Christian education in Congregational churches in Vermont, Illinois and New Mexico; consultant and field director of Christian education in the United Presbyterian Church; YWCA director in Oakland, Calif., and Quincy, Ill., and program director of Friendship Meals for Elderly in Hutchinson.

She had formerly been a member of Bethel Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake, Minn., since 1928. Most recently she was a member of Hesston Mennonite Church.

Survivors include two sisters, Salome Holsinger and Elizabeth McBride, both of Hesston; two brothers, Marvin Fast of Springfield, Va., and Willard Fast of Indianapolis, Ind.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by a brother, F. David Fast.

Memorial services will be held at the Schowalter Villa Chapel.


Oesch, Mary Ruth Lapp

Mary Ruth (Lapp) Oesch, 94, of Kalispell, Mont., died May 24, 2008, at the Heritage Place. She was born Aug. 26, 1913, to Frank

and Lena (Kauffman) Lapp in Roseland, Neb.

At age 2, she moved with her family to the Flathead Valley in northwest Montana. She attended school in Creston and Flathead County High School in Kalispell. She married Harold Oesch on Sept. 9, 1934, in a double wedding with her sister, Anna Birky, in Creston.

She and Harold farmed in Creston for a few years before going to work in the woods logging. In 1959, they moved to Hesston, Kan., where they both worked at Hesston College, he on the grounds and she in food service. In 1977, they moved back to the Flathead Valley and settled on Willow Glen.

She was a member of Mountain View Mennonite Church and loved to quilt, crochet, garden, read and travel.

Survivors include three sons, Donald Oesch and his wife, Mary, of Stryker, Ohio, Duane Oesch and his wife, Leona, of Nampa, Idaho, and Glen Oesch and his wife, Lois, of Salem, Ore.; a daughter, Shirley Brenneman and her husband, Clifford, of Kalispell; five brothers, Jay Lapp of Lakeside, Ed Lapp and Wayne Lapp, both of Kalispell, George Lapp of Columbia Falls and Floyd Lapp of Molalla, Ore.; 16 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Harold, in 1999; two sisters and three brothers.

Memorial services were held at Mountain View Mennonite Church. Burial was in Conrad Cemetery.

Mennonite Weekly Review - July 14, 2008 - 86th Year, No. 27 - p. 9


Ratzlaff, Wanda Irene

Wanda Irene Ratzlaff, 66, of Newton, Kan., died June 25, 2008, after a struggle with cancer. She was born Jan. 4, 1942, to Harold A. and Esther I. (Kuehny) Bechtel in Blackwell, Okla.

The family was active in the small farming community of Deer Creek, Okla., and attended Deer Creek Mennonite Church. Her parents encouraged her musical endeavors, and soon she discovered her great talent for music. In high school she became the regular church organist for Deer Creek Mennonite Church.

She was baptized and became a member of Deer Creek Mennonite Church. She attended Bethel College in North Newton and graduated with a degree in music education.

She became the music teacher at Goessel Elementary School. She met Norman Ratzlaff of rural Goessel, and they were married at Deer Creek Mennonite Church on May 29, 1966.

They made their home in Newton and attended Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church of rural Goessel. Norman worked for the railroad, and she was a homemaker and worked at a local specialty shop and as church secretary for First United Methodist Church in Newton.

Her life was filled with spending time with her family and friends, and she loved being with her grandsons. She grew beautiful flower and vegetable gardens. Her lifelong passion for music persisted. She was the Alexanderwohl choir organist for many years and accompanied men’s quartets, singing groups, instrumental groups and soloists.

In the spring of 2007, she began her struggle against cancer. Her positive spirit never wavered.

Survivors include her husband, Norman; daughter Donna Hetrick and her husband, Bill; son Rodney Ratzlaff; a sister, Elaine Claassen and her husband, Alvin; a sister-in-law, Sue Bechtel; and two grandsons.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Howard Bechtel.

Services were held at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church.


 Gleysteen, Maryn J. "Dutch"

Maryn J. “Dutch” Gleysteen, 72, died June 18, 2008, at Golden Age Living Center in Marion, Kan., after a long illness. He was born June 10, 1936, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to Jan Sr. and Gerritje Norwee Gleysteen.

As a child, he suffered severe malnutrition during the German occupation of The Netherlands in World War II. Immediately after the war, he spent about two years away from his family, under medical care, bedfast most of the time.

He was skilled in construction and finish carpentry. He did volunteer construction work under the World Council of Churches in Austria in the 1950s. He immigrated to the United States in 1960, sponsored by the late Paul Bender of Hesston. He married Evelyn Schmidt in April 1964. She preceded him in death on March 2, 2002.

After coming to Kansas, he first worked on construction of Erb Hall at Hesston College, then did cabinetwork in Schowalter Villa. Later he worked on his own, subcontracting finish carpentry, with M.R. Stauffer. He loved camping and served as a Boy Scout leader.

In 1973, he underwent the first of many surgeries, mostly due to deterioration of the nervous system in the arms, neck and back. He latersurvived a stroke as well as heart surgery. Misfortune struck his family when their house in Newton was destroyed by fire in 1979. He was determined to rebuild and showed great resourcefulness in doing so, aided by financial contributions from his sister Gerri and volunteer help from fellow members of First Mennonite Church of Newton.

He took pride in his Dutch heritage. He was courageous in facing difficult circumstances and persistent in accomplishing his goals.

Survivors include a son, Edward  Gleysteen and his wife, Anne, of Salina; stepson Jack Schmidt and his wife, Danella, of Newton; a brother, Jan Gleysteen and his wife, Barbara, of Goshen, Ind.; two sisters, Gerri Gleysteen of Santpoort, The Netherlands, and Erica Gleysteen of Altenstadt, France; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Deborah Bisterfeldt of Lincoln.

Services were held at First Mennonite Church of Newton. Burial was in Meridian Mennonite Church cemetery, rural Hesston.


Peachey, LeRoy L.

LeRoy L. Peachey, 84, of Belleville, Pa., died March 27, 2008, at Valley View Haven in Belleville after a period of illness. He was born June 1, 1923, to Moses and Rebecca (Zook) Peachey in Belleville.

He served in Civilian Public Service from 1944 to 1946 in Virginia and volunteered as a crew member for a “cattle boat” taking horses to Poland after World War II.

He was a carpenter for most of his working life, with shorter stints working at a feed mill and as a car salesman, retiring from Zimmerman Homes. He was a longtime, active member of Barrville Mennonite Church, serving as a Sunday school superintendent, teacher, elder and lay pastor. He had a special interest in visiting the community residents in Barrville as well as anyone who was sick or lonely.

He was an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Phillies, and in his retirement he loved watching baseball, playing games, reading and assembling jigsaw puzzles.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Lois R. (Hostetler) Peachey; four children, Shirley Roth of Nazareth, Israel, Dwight Peachey and his wife, Brenda, of  Milroy, Dean Peachey and his wife, Melissa Miller, of Winnipeg, Man., and Gayle Shank and her husband, Terry, of Reedsville; two sisters, Mary Yoder of Allensville and Sadie Byler of Belleville; a brother, Chester Peachey of Rock Hill, S.C.; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Hw was preceded in death by two infant sisters.

Memorial services were held at Barrville Mennonite Church.


Hershberger, Lynn Steven

Steven Lynn Hershberger, 44, of Goshen, Ind., died June 12, 2008, in Puerto Viejo de Limon, Costa Rica, attempting to assist a struggling swimmer while on a high school Spanish tour. He was born March 17, 1964, to Miriam (Miller) and David Hershberger in St. Louis, Mo. The family moved to Versailles, M0., in 1977.

After graduating from Versailles High School in 1982, he went on a life-defining mission trip with Youth Evangelism Service in Europe. He then returned to the U.S. and graduated from Hesston (Kan.) College in 1987 and from Goshen College in 1990.

He began his career as a high school teacher at Argos High School in 1990, where he taught English. He then worked as resident director and speech teacher at Hesston College from 1991 to 1993. He began teaching at Fairfield High School in the fall of 1993. He taught at Fairfield for 14 years, with a one-year intermission at Hesston High School. At Fairfield he taught high school English, math, science, speech and drama. He was chair of the English department. He also was an assistant girls tennis coach. He was known for his ability to work with students at all levels in creative ways. He also was known as the “white shirt and tie” teacher, and he wore a different tie every day of the school year.

He loved reading, traveling, teaching and being with people. He traveled extensively across the world, often chaperoning high school tour groups. He traveled to every continent except Antarctica. He enjoyed classical music, films, art and ethnic food. A favorite place he loved to take his parents and visiting friends was downtown Chicago, where they would take in the entire range of Chicago culture. His strong faith in God was exhibited in every aspect of his life.

Survivors include his parents, David and Miriam Hershberger of Sarasota, Fla., a sister, Diane Bontrager and her husband, Jim, of McPherson, Kan.; and his grandparents, Paul and Malinda Hershberger of Sarasota, Fla., and Omar Miller of Kalona, Iowa.

There were no obituaries in the July 21 issue of MWR

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Used with permission by the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen, INDIANA
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