Mennonite World Review - September 2013

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

Gros, Jeffrey; . . Hertzler, Aldus K. ; . . Horst, Ray Ernest ; . . King, Edith I. Roth ; . . Miller, Oletta Carol Zehr ; . . Miller, Ivan E. ; . . Miller, Vern ; . . Neufeld, Adolf W. ; . . Thiesen, Walter ; . . Toews, Helena Schroeder ; . .

Mennonite World Review - September 2, 2013 - 91st Year, No. 18 - p. 15


Miller, Oletta Carol Zehr

Oletta Carol Zehr Miller, 82, of Hesston, Kan., died Aug. 17, 2013, at Schowalter Villa. She was born Sept. 2, 1930, to Harold and Magdalene (Overholtz) Zehr at Darien, N.Y.

On Aug. 15, 1964, she married Virgil Miller. He preceded her in death in 2009.
She served one year in Mennonite Voluntary Service at the General Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. She attended Hesston College, Goshen (Ind.) College, and received her bachelor's degree in home econo­mics from Friends University in Wichita. She taught for 25 years at Erwin Junior High School in Hickman Mills, a suburb of Kansas City, Mo. After retirement, she and her husband, Virgil, moved to Newton, then to Hesston. She enjoyed gardening and raising flowers. She had a special gift for designing and piecing quilt tops for Schowalter Villa and Whitestone Mennonite Church, where she was a member. Many people appreciated her beautiful quilts, demonstrating her expertise and creativity. Her last quilt sold at Schowalter Villa auction in 2012, with proceeds going to the Schowalter Villa.

Survivors include two brothers, Duane Zehr of Henderson, N.Y., and Kenneth Zehr; and a sister-in-law, Audrey Zehr of Harrisonburg, Va.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Virgil; two brothers, Earle and Abram; and a sister-in-law, Ardie Zehr.

Memorial services were held at Schowalter Villa Chapel, Hesston. Inurnment was in Eastlawn Cemetery, Hesston.


Toews, Helena Schroeder

Helena (Schroeder) Toews, 91, of Loma Plata, Paraguay, died May 5, 2013. She was born Sept. 22, 1921, to Abram and Margareta (Heppner) Schroeder on a farm near Altona, Man. In 1927 she moved with her parents to Paraguay, settling in the Chaco farming village of Schoental in Menno Colony.

She was raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. She was baptized upon her confession of faith on May 2, 1941, by Altester Martin Friesen. On Sept. 25, 1941, she married Cornelius R. Toews.

They made their home on a farm, which they started in the village of Schoental. There they lived a pioneer life, starting out farming with oxen, then horses and finally tractors. Together they raised a family of six sons and seven daughters. In 1981 they retired from farming and moved to the town of Loma Plata. Cornelius suffered a disabling stroke in 1990, and they moved into an assisted living house near the retirement home. She took care of him until he died in 1997. In 2012 she celebrated her 90th birthday with all 13 children present.

She is survived by 13 children: nine in Paraguay, three in Canada, and one in the United States; 34 grandchildren and 50 great-grandchildren. Those living in the United States include a daughter, Eva Harder and her husband, Gordon L., in Mountain Lake, Minn., and their children Willmar Harder and his wife, Hannah Neufeld, currently with Mennonite Central Commmittee in Bolivia; Elisabeth Harder Schrock and her husband, Ramont, of Mountain Lake; and David Harder and his wife, Rachel Byler, of Hutchinson, Kan., and their families.

She was preceded in death by an infant daughter and her husband, Cornelius.

Funeral services were held at Elim Mennonite Church in Loma Plata, Paraguay.

Burial was at the Loma Plata cemetery.


Miller, Vern

Vern Miller, founding pastor of Lee Heights Community Church in Cleveland, Ohio, died Aug. 7, 2013. He was born in Streetsboro, Ohio, on July 4, 1927. He played an instrumental role in paving the way for Mennonite urban ministry.

His life path altered drastically when his older brother Wilbur died suddenly in 1945. Wilbur had planned to become a pastor, and Vern decided God was calling him to honor his brother's memory by becoming a pastor.

Upon graduating from Goshen (Ind.) College in 1951, he and his wife, Helen (Hostetler), moved to the African American community of Gladstone in Cleveland to lead a summer Bible school ministry. This led to the creation of Gladstone Mennonite Church, where he pastored from 1952 to 1956. A federal Urban Renewal program began to displace many people in the Gladstone neighborhood, and the church relocated to the Lee-Seville area.

This church became the inter-racial, community-based Lee Heights Community Church. He served as pastor of Lee Heights from 1956 to 1993. He wrote, "It was our desire to build a church that was open to a variety of races, cultures and religious backgrounds." He was integral in erecting the church by serving as a general contractor. He formed the Lee-Seville Ministerial Alliance with other area pastors, which led to the creation of a hunger center, The MARC senior apartments and other community programs.

He and his wife, Helen, raised five children. Reflecting the couple's ministerial vision, they chose to live in the community surrounding Lee Heights among people from different backgrounds. They found that this allowed their family to recognize the harmful impact of prejudice and stereotypes on others. He was well-known among his neighbors and his congregation for his humility and his passion for justice, nonviolence and active love. He retired from pastoring in 1994. He continued to serve the church as a counselor, carpenter, volunteer and choir member.

Survivors include five children, Robin Miller and his wife, Cynthia, Renita Strange and her husband, David, Rosina Berkey and her husband, Craig, Rochele Beachy and her husband, Nathan, and Ryan Miller and his wife, Lisa; two brothers, Vernon and Duane Miller; 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


Mennonite World Review - September 16, 2013 - 91st Year, No. 19 - p. 15


Neufeld, Adolf W.

Adolf W. Neufeld, 93, of Inman, Kan., died July 13, 2013. He was born Jan. 8, 1920, to Lena (Wiens) and Peter T. Neufeld. He was the oldest of five siblings.

On Sept. 28, 1949, he married his soul mate, Wanda Reber. They were together for 61 years before she preceded him in death in November 2010.

He lived his entire life in Inman except for the four years he spent as a conscientious objector during World War II serving in Henry, Ill.; Denison, Iowa; Clear Spring, Md.; Fort Collins, Colo.; and Three Riv ers, Calif. This began a love of travel. He was a life member of the Ama teur Radio Relay League, better known as Ham Radio, and spent many hours talking to other operators in the U.S. and other countries. He had numerous hobbies and varied interests, including a love for reading.

He and Nick Martens co-owned and operated Inman Electric for many years until his retirement, when he and Wanda began A&W Electronics. He was active in community life and served as the mayor of Inman for 20 years. He and Wanda volunteered at Camp Mennoscah near Murdock for more than 50 years with cooking, electrical work and camp maintenance. They worked with Mennonite Disaster Service and Mennonite Central Committee. They spent several years in lay witness mission and traveled from Texas to Canada spreading the word of God. He was a member of Bethel Mennonite Church, Inman. A kind, gentle soul, his was a lifetime of serving others.

Survivors include a daughter, Marilyn Marshall; three siblings, Herb and his wife, Lilly Ann, Helen Jantz and her husband, Vern, and Robert and his wife, Rosalie; a sister-in-law, LaVera Neufeld; two grandsons and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Wanda; and a brother, Elmer.
Memorial services were held at Bethel Mennonite Church. Burial was in North Inman Cemetery.


Gros, Jeffrey

Jeffrey Gros, an outstanding ecumenical leader in the United States, died Aug. 12, 2013, of pancreatic cancer at age 75. He was a brother in the Christian Brothers order of the Catholic Church.

Beginning in the early 1980s he served for 10 years as director of faith and order for the National Council of Churches. During this time he proposed that the historic peace churches be invited at the highest level of scholarship to engage the spectrum of denominations by making the case for Christian pacifism. This resulted in three milestone conferences on this theme. The Church's Peace Witness, edited by Marlin Miller and Barbara Nelson Gingerich, doc uments the first conference. The Fragmentation of the Church and Its Unity in Peacemaking, edited by Gros and John D. Rempel, doc uments the third conference. He worked diligently to give free churches a voice in U.S. ecumenical life they had not had before.

For 14 years Brother Jeffrey was associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In this role he worked to create events and develop relationships between the Roman Catholic Church and all Protestant churches. He modeled speaking the truth in love. His books and articles from this time continue to be read in college and seminary classes. He was a deeply convicted Catholic who was deeply open to the gifts of other Christian traditions.


Hertzler, Aldus K.

Aldus K. Hertzler, 91, of Souderton, Pa., and formerly of Blooming Glen, died Sept. 7, 2013. He was born Jan. 8, 1922, to Aldus and El len (Kratz) Hertzler in Norristown.

He was the loving husband of Ruth (Alderfer) Hertzler. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anni versary in June.

He graduated in 1939 from Norristown High School. He served for three years with Civilian Public Service in Nebraska, Virginia and Mississippi, attended Eastern Men nonite College for a year and graduated in 1949 from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.

He worked as a pharmacist at Kershners Drug Store, Doyles town, for four years, at Abington Hospital four years, at Grand View Hospital 10 years and at Doylestown Hospital for 20 years. After retiring, he served as a consultant to nursing homes for 11 years.

He was a member of Blooming Glen Mennonite Church, where he enthusiastically served as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent. He enjoyed singing tenor in quartets and choruses. He kept a large vegetable garden and enjoyed identifying and pressing wild flowers. He was a volunteer at the Care and Share Thrift Store in Souderton. He prayed for each family member by name every day.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth; three daughters, Libby Hollenbach and her husband, Jeff, of Perkasie, Alice Shenk and her husband, Phil ip, of Goshen, Ind., and Emily Swartley and her husband, Kenton, of Cedar Falls, Iowa; a brother, Elam Hertzler of Sarasota, Fla.; two sisters, Naomi Bender of Goshen, Ind., and Ruth Swope of Sarasota; 14 grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren.
He was preceded in death by two infant sons; an infant granddaughter, Jessica; two brothers, Paul and Emmanuel; and a sister, Sara.

Funeral services were held at Souderton Mennonite Summit View Auditorium. Burial was in the Blooming Glen Mennonite Cemetery.


Miller, Ivan E.

Ivan E. Miller, 91, of Hesston, Kan., died Sept. 8, 2013, at Scho wal ter Villa. He was born Aug. 10, 1922, to Sol J. and Bertha Beachy Miller in Wellman, Iowa.

He owned and operated Miller Funeral Home in Goessel starting in 1956, then opened Miller Funeral Home in Hesston in 1976. He graduated from Goshen College and Kansas City School of Mortuary Science. He was a charter mem ber of the Goessel Lions Club and served as treasurer for many years. He also was a member of the Kan sas Funeral Directors Association, the National Funeral Directors Association and Hesston Mennonite Church.

On June 19, 1952, he married Flor is Jantz in Hesston. She preceded him in death on Nov. 24, 2006.

He is survived by a daughter, Phyllis Miller of Arlington, Va.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Floris; brother Floyd and sister Fannie Byler.

Funeral services were held at Hesston Mennonite Church. Burial was in Eastlawn Cemetery, Hesston.


Mennonite World Review - September 30, 2013 - 91st Year, No. 20 - p. 15


Horst, Ray

Ray Ernest Horst, 89, of Elkhart, Ind., died July 20, 2013. He was born April 23, 1924, to Titus S. and Mary (Landis) Horst in Ephrata, Pa.

He graduated from high school in 1942, then enrolled in Eastern Mennonite College but was drafted in 1943. As a conscientious objector he spent the war years in Civilian Pubic Service at the Veteran's Administration's tubercular hospital in Livermore, Calif., and with the forest service in Glacier National Park. After the war he enrolled in Goshen College, graduating in 1949. On May 5, 1951, he married Ruth Brunk.

He developed an interest in creating programs and service opportunities for North American Mennonite young people. He served on the Mennonite Youth Council from 1947 to 1974, which created the churchwide Mennonite Youth Fellowship.

He worked briefly at Mennonite Central Committee in Akron, Pa., then moved to Elkhart in 1954 to work at Mennonite Board of Missions, where he stayed until retiring in 1989. He developed the Mennonite Voluntary Service program, which at its height had 450 volunteers at a time working at service projects throughout North America. He helped create the Elkhart Child Development Center, the Prince of Peace Chapel congregation in Aspen, Colo., and worked on disaster relief legislation after Hurricane Camille and on the development of the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. He organized United Native Minis tries for Native American- Canadian Mennonite congregations. He continued to work with UNM part time until 2005. At age 50 he took a two-year leave from MBM so he and Ruth could move to Nigeria and serve as country directors for MCC's Teachers Abroad Program.

Survivors include his wife, Ruth; a daughter, Carolyn Heydon of Elk hart, Ill.; a son, Ray Edward Horst and his wife, Barb, of Oakland, Calif.; a foster daughter, Jean Luad zers and her husband, David, of Jefferson City, Mo.; two brothers, John Horst and T. Glenn Horst of Akron, Pa.; a sister, Martha Kurtz Gascho of New Holland, Pa., and eight grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at Prairie Street Mennonite Church, Elkhart, Ind. Burial was in Prairie Street Cemetery.


Thiesen, Walter

Walter Thiesen, 93, of North Newton, Kan., died Sept. 8, 2013, at Kidron Bethel. He was born March 5, 1920, to David H. Thiesen and Sarah Goertzen Thiesen in West Branch Township, Marion County. He had an older brother Adolf and a younger brother Henry.

He graduated from Goessel High School in 1940 and went one semester to Emporia State Normal School.

He served in Civilian Public Service during World War II, first at Henry, Ill., with soil conservation work, then North Fork, Calif., with forest fire fighting, and last at Lincoln, Neb., with soil conservation again.

On May 23, 1946, he married Anna Kroeker at First Mennonite Church in Newton. After their marriage they spent a short time working as farm assistants for Jacob A. Schowalter. He also worked with his brother-in-law, Jake Kroeker, in the Kroeker Sheet Metal business. Most of his working life was for Bethel Deaconess Hospital and Home for Aged. For many years he was the supervisor of maintenance and physical plant. At home he enjoyed working with tools, building and repairing things.

Son John was born on Dec. 27, 1959, a major milestone after years of he and Anna giving attention to their nieces and nephews.

Family vacations were a highlight. Often these were to visit relatives in Canada or California. The most memorable was a 1978 trip to Europe to visit Anna's relatives.

He retired from the hospital in 1988. Anna had retired in 1983. They continued to travel and also do some volunteer work, especially with the Bethel College Women's Association. Anna moved to Schowalter Villa in 2000 and died in 2003. He moved into Kidron Bethel in 2010.

Survivors include a son, John Thiesen and his wife, Barbara; and a grandson, Andrew.


King, Edith I. Roth

Edith I. King, 91, of Morton, Ill., died Aug. 23, 2013. She was born March 28, 1922, to Austin and Ida (Householter) Roth in Morton.

She married Oliver C. King on Nov. 24, 1946, at Bethel Mennonite Church of rural Pekin.
She was a homemaker and assisted her husband in farming. She was a lifelong member of Bethel Mennonite Church of Pekin, where she was a Sunday school teacher and secretary-treasurer of the Wo men's Dorcas Society for many years. She was more recently a member of First Mennonite Church in Morton.

She made many quilts, including one for each of her children and grandchildren. She loved to cook, bake, knit, crochet and sew. She passed many of these talents to her children and grandchildren. She and Oliver enjoyed many winters in Arizona and enjoyed friendships there.

Survivors include her husband, Oliver; two daughters, Lois King of Morton and Mary Ellen Andris and her husband, Darrell, of Normal; two sons, David King and his wife, Gladys, and Daniel King and his wife, Doris, all of Morton; eight grandchildren and five great-granddaughters.

She was preceded in death by a brother, Richard Roth.

Services were held at First Mennonite Church in Morton. Burial was in Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Tremont.

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.