Mennonite Weekly Review - March 2012

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

Bell, Allison G.; . . Bertsche, Paul E. ; . . Gering, William M.; . . Leichty, Clarence Nicholas; . . Peters, Leonard O.; . . Schrock, Iona Ruth Hartzler; . . Shenk, Frances Kilmer; . . Toews, Galen Bruce; . .

Mennonite Weekly Review - March 5, 2012 - 90th Year, No. 8 - P. 17


Bertsche, Paul E.

Paul E. Bertsche, 83, of Flanagan, Ill., died Feb. 7, 2012, at Good Samaritan Home. He was born Feb. 18, 1928, to Arthur J. and Emma Eymann Bertsche in Pontiac.

He married June Miller on Aug. 9, 1953, in Danvers.

He was a member of Prairieview Mennonite Church of rural Flanagan. He was a lifelong farmer in the Flanagan area. He was a director of the State Bank of Graymont from 1971 to 2008, serving as board vice president and loan committee member.

He served as president of the Illinois Charolais Association for three years and the American International Charolais Association and board. He served on the McLean, Livingston and Dewitt Regional School Board. He was a member of the former Meadows Mennonite Church, where he served as chair, trustee, secretary, spiritual counsel and Sunday school teacher. He served on the BroMenn Foundation Board, Flanagan Unit 4 school board for more than 14 years, and the Mennonite and BroMenn Hospital boards for nine years.

He was a loving husband, dad, grandpa and great-grandpa who enjoyed time with family and friends and serving his community.

Survivors include his wife, June; three sons, Steve Bertsche and his wife, Julie, and Dale Bertsche and his wife, Kathy, both of Flanagan, and Larry Bertsche and his wife, Judy, of Pontiac; two daughters, Janice Young and her husband, Mark, of Columbus Grove, Ohio, and Julie May and her husband, Keith, of Normal; a brother, John Bertsche and his wife, Evelyn, of Normal; a sister, Adele Reichert and her husband, LaMar, of Bremen, Ind.; 16 grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Funeral services were held at Prairieview Mennonite Church. Burial was in Pike Township Cemetery, rural Graymont.


Toews, Galen Bruce

Galen Bruce Toews, 65, died Oct. 12, 2011, from complications of prostate cancer. He was born Nov. 26, 1945, in Colorado Springs, Colo., to Rosa (Voth) Toews and David Toews.

He grew up on the family farm in Kremlin, Okla. He graduated from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., in 1967. He received his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1971 and his internal medicine and pulmonary-critical care training at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, where he served eight years on the faculty.

He served as professor of internal medicine and chief of the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Michigan since 1987. Under his guidance, the division grew from 10 to 47 faculty. His own research laboratory made many contributions toward understanding how lungs resist infection and avoid becoming scarred after injury. Within the University of Michigan he served in many leadership roles, including as associate dean for research.

In 1967 he married Anita Marie Regehr.

He enjoyed traveling to all parts of the world, especially Ukraine, the birthplace of his grandparents. He cherished reading and collecting books. He was a great storyteller.

He was a lifelong member of the Mennonite church and was actively involved at Shalom Community Church, a Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregation in Ann Arbor, Mich. He embraced the Mennonite ethics of peace and justice and worked to create a pulmonary division based on the Mennonite ideal of community where people collaborated and worked together. He was a founding member of the Dallas Peace Center. In 2005 he received the Tabor College Alumni Merit Award.

Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Anita; a son, Mark Galen Toews and his wife, Regan Graves; two brothers, Arrel Toews and his wife, Kathy, of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Myron Toews and his wife, Barbara, of Omaha, Neb.; and three grandchildren.


Shenk, Frances Kilmer

Frances Barbara Shenk, 95, died Feb. 4, 2012, at McMinnville, Ore. She was born June 18, 1916, to Odessa and Orva Kilmer at Airlie. She was named in honor of her paternal grandmother, Frances Kilmer, and maternal grandmother, Barbara Sharer.

In 1924 her family moved to the Sheridan area, where she lived most of her life. She married Kenneth M. Shenk on Nov. 19, 1933. He preceded her in death on March 19, 2010, after more than 76 years of marriage.

She was dedicated to her family’s well-being and found many special ways of expressing her concern, support and love. She will be remembered for her faith, loyalty, courage and hospitality. She enjoyed cooking and prepared thousands of meals for family, friends and strangers. She was a member of Evangelical Bible Church of Dallas. She was active in the women’s service auxiliary of her church.

Survivors include four children, Wilbert Shenk and his wife, Juanita, of Elkhart, Ind., Myron Shenk and his wife, Carol, of Albany, Byron Shenk and his wife, Ina, of McMinnville, and Donna Cross and her husband, Allen, of Lynnwood, Wash.; a daughter-in-law, Mariellen Shenk of Sun City, Ariz.; two sisters, Irene Yoder Nice and Arlene Miller; 17 grandchildren; 48 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Kenneth; two sons and a daughter-in-law, Russell Shenk in 1991, and his wife, Lavina, in 2004, and David Shenk in 1999.

Services were held at First Mennonite Church of McMinnville. Burial was in the Mennonite Cemetery in Willamina.


Schrock, Iona Ruth Hartzler

Iona Ruth (Hartzler) Schrock, 96, died Jan. 19, 2012, at Schowalter Villa in Hesston, Kan. She was born Aug. 26, 1915, to Ira and Martha Hartzler near East Lynne, Mo.

On Sept. 5, 1936, she married Wilbur B. Schrock. Their home was blessed with two daughters, Janet and Leta. He preceded her in death on Dec. 21, 2000.
She and Wilbur farmed for many years near Garden City, Mo., until their retirement, when they moved to Hesston in 1992. They were the first occupants to live in Lake Vista at Schowalter Villa.

She was a hard-working farm wife, supporting her husband in his endeavors. Family and church were very important to her. She was active in WMSC, Bible school and teaching Sunday school. She loved to cook and prepare meals for family and friends.

Survivors include two daughters, Janet Zook and her husband, James, of Hesston, and Leta Bontrager and her husband, Frank, of Lakewood, Colo.; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her spouse, Wilbur; and two sisters, Ruby Bernice Schrock and Vera Frances Rushly.

Memorial services were held at Schowalter Villa Chapel in Hesston. Burial was in Clearfork Cemetery near Garden City, Mo.


Bell, Allison G.

Allison G. Bell, 96, formerly of Union City and Corry, Pa., died Feb. 7, 2012, at his stepdaughter Sally and Kenneth Miller’s home in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was born May 26, 1915, to Harry E. and Belle “Jenny” Ream Bell in Cochranton, Pa.

He was raised and educated in the Britton Run and Spartansburg areas of Pennsylvania. He owned and operated a dairy farm on Concord Road in Union City. He retired in 1966 and later moved to a residence on Concord Road in Corry, Pa. He moved to Morgantown, Pa., in May 2004 and to Fort Wayne in October 2010. From 1990 through 2005 he wintered in Sarasota, Fla., attending Bethel church.

He was a member of Valley View Mennonite Church in Spartansburg, a former trustee and Sunday school teacher there, and had helped build the church facility. He enjoyed gardening, coon hunting, fishing and outdoor activities.

Survivors include his wife, Phebe Yoder Reed, whom he married Oct. 18, 1986, in Corry; four sons, Allison K. “Sonny” Bell and his wife, Connie, of Spartansburg, Reuben L. Bell and his wife, Marilyn, of Waterford, Pa., Ronald Bell and his wife, Susan, of Union City, Pa., and Samuel J. Bell and his wife, Pat, of Bowling Green, Ohio; a daughter, Mary A. Coblentz and her husband, Donald, of Townville, Pa.; a brother, Glenn V. Bell and his wife, Mary, of North Royalton, Ohio; a half brother, John R. Bell of Youngstown, Ohio; four stepsons, Kenneth D. Reed, Clayton J. Reed, Joseph D. Reed and Herbert E. Reed; a stepdaughter, Sally Reed Miller; 12 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; 13 step-grandchildren and 13 step-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Lena E. Kauffman, on March 6, 1985. They were married June 3, 1939. He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Reba M. Dickinson; two sisters, Gladys Mook and Linda Meyers; a brother, Jack Bell; and a grandson.

Funeral services were held at Valley View Mennonite Church in Spartansburg. Burial was in the adjoining cemetery.

Mennonite Weekly Review - March 12, 2012 - 90th Year, No. 9 - p. 9


Peters, Leonard O.

Leonard O. Peters, 92, of Hydro, Okla., died March 2, 2012. He was born April 10, 1919, to Jacob C. and Anna (Ott) Peters in Henderson, Neb.
He was raised and attended school in Henderson, where he graduated from high school in 1938. He attended a year of college at York (Neb.) College. He married Jeanette Van Voorst on Jan. 1, 1946, in Decatur, Mich.

They later moved to Newton, Kan., where he received his bachelor’s degree in education from Bethel College. After graduation he taught school in Stapleton, Neb. They moved to Decatur, Mich., and he finished his master’s degree at Western Michigan University. In 1965, they moved to Hesston, Kan., where they lived until 2005. They moved to North Newton, Kan., and lived there until 2010, at which time they moved to Hydro to be near their family.
He was a 42-year charter member of the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus. He enjoyed music, golf, reading, sports and having coffee with his friends.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Jeanette Peters, of Hydro; two sons, Kenn Peters and his wife, Cyndy Lester, of Lawrence, Kan., and Don Peters and wife, June, of Hesston; five daughters, Beverly Long and her husband, Larry, of Hydro, Janice Lichti of Derby, Kan., Meribeth Slagell and her husband, Virgil, of Hydro, Karen Entin and her husband, Eric, of Hydro, and Dori Slagell and her husband, Stephen, of Weatherford; two sisters, Kathryn Couch of York, Neb., and Justina Smith and her husband, Dale, of Wichita, Kan.; 18 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Little Abe and Henry; and one sister, Maria.

Funeral services were held at Pleasant View Mennonite Church, northwest of Hydro. Burial was in Pleasant View Mennonite Cemetery.


Gering, William M.

William “Bill” M. Gering, 89, of Mishawaka, Ind., died Feb. 8, 2012, after a short illness, at the Center for Hospice Care in South Bend. He was born Jan. 24, 1923, to Joseph and Caroline (Preheim) Gering on a farm near Marion, S.D.

He graduated from high school in Freeman, S.D. After high school he helped his widowed mother and his brother on the family farm. After a short stint in the Army at the end of World War II, he attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., earning a bachelor’s degree in 1951. He received a degree from Bethany Biblical Seminary in Chicago in 1955. While at seminary he received a one-year scholarship to study at the University of Mainz in Germany. After seminary he served several years as a youth worker for the General Conference Mennonite Church. At Indiana University, Bloomington, he earned a doctorate in speech communication in 1963.

For two years he taught at Bethel College. From 1965 to 1989, he taught at IUSB. He was the first full-time professor in the speech department and responsible for developing the department. In 1977-1978 he served as director for the study abroad program in Hamburg, Germany, with students from both IU and Purdue universities.

He retired in 1989. In retirement he enjoyed collecting primitive and antique tools. He served as the first chair of the Mishawaka Historic Review Board and was active in helping to promote the preservation of historic buildings.

He married Lucille Peters in Henderson, Neb., on Dec. 22, 1956.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Lucille; a daughter, Caroline Breslin and her husband, Paul; a son, Jeffrey Gering and his wife, Lisa; a sister, Linda Pankratz, and a sister-in-law, Marian Gering, both of Freeman, S.D.; two brothers-in-law, LeRoy Peters and Harlan Peters, and two sisters-in-law, Inez Hiebner and Marlene Peters, all of Henderson, Neb.; two grandchildren; two step-grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by three sisters and a brother.

Memorial services were held at Hively Avenue Mennonite Church, where he was a longtime member.

Mennonite Weekly Review - March 19, 2012 - 90th Year, No. 10 - p. 9


Leichty, Clarence Nicholas

Clarence Nicholas Leichty, 89, died Feb. 25, 2012, at Greencroft Gables in Goshen, Ind. He was born June 8, 1922, to Nicholas and Magdalena (Maurer) Leichty at Albany, Ore.

He grew up on a farm in the Willamette Valley near Albany. After settling in Elkhart, Ind., he retained an interest in the family farm. He traveled from Indiana many summers to help his brothers with the rye grass seed harvest.

He married Wilma Ewert on Aug. 23, 1949, at Reedley, Calif.

He was first employed as a teacher in Oregon and received his teaching diploma from Oregon College of Education. During World War II he performed alternative service at Civilian Public Service camps in Oregon, California and Nebraska, meeting his future wife during the latter assignment. They then completed bachelor’s degrees at Goshen College, where he graduated with a degree in education in 1949. After his graduation he taught at Willowdale School in Elkhart before completing his master’s degree at Indiana University in 1954. He was an elementary school administrator in Elkhart until retirement in 1987, serving as principal at five schools. He came out of retirement to serve as interim chief administrator at Penn View Christian School, Souderton, Pa., 1990-91.

He was baptized as a youth at Fairview Mennonite Church near the family farm. In Elkhart he was a longtime member of Prairie Street Mennonite Church. After he and Wilma retired in Goshen, he became a member at College Mennonite Church.

Survivors include his spouse, Wilma, of Goshen; three children, Paul Leichty and his spouse, Twila, of Goshen, Bruce Leichty and his spouse, Kathy, of Escondido, Calif., and Cheryl Blaum and her spouse, Ron, of Goshen; four sisters and a brother, Esther Kropf of Wickenberg, Ariz., Alice Sawatsky of Cedar, Minn.; Edna Widmer of Albany, Ore., Wilma Kanagy of Albany and Wilmer Leichty of Albany; and five grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Daniel and Jacob, and one sister, Ruth.

Memorial services were held at College Mennonite Church in Goshen.

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