Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Mennonite World Review - January 2015
Vernon M. Beachy, 94, died Dec. 27, 2014, at Hospice House in Hutchinson, Kan. He was born Dec. 27, 1920, to David and Susie Bontrager Beachy in rural Yoder.
He attended Haven High School, then graduated from Hesston Academy. A member of Journey Mennonite Church, he owned and operated Beachy Store in Yoder and was general secretary for Mennonite Hilfs-Plan Insurance for many years.
On Aug. 2, 1944, he married Nora M. Miller in Yoder. She preceded him in death March 18, 2013.
They enjoyed square dancing with the Salt City Squares and State Fair Promenaders, and volunteered together at the Et Cetera Shop for many years. Some of his hobbies included fishing, pitching for his church softball team and cheering for the Kansas City Royals baseball team.
Survivors include four children, Bill Beachy of Topeka, Susan Beachy of Yoder, Dan Beachy and his wife, Tina, of Harrisonburg, Va., and Joe Beachy of South Hutchinson; a son-in-law, Jon Felton of Quakertown, Pa.; two sisters, Mary Ellen Diener of South Hutchinson and Nina Lee Reber of Yoder; a brother, Dave Beachy of Meade; and eight grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Nora; a daughter, Becky Beachy Felton; a brother, Alvin; and three infant siblings.
Graveside services were held at Yoder Cemetery. A memorial service was held at Journey @ South Hutchinson Mennonite Church.
Mennonite World Review - January 19, 2015 - 93rd Year, No. 2 - p. 14
Zehr, Lois A. Keiser
Lois A. Zehr, 85, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, died Nov. 12, 2014. She was born Dec. 6, 1928, to Harley F. and Addie (Kempf) Keiser in Manson.
Her family lived in Iowa City and later in Denver, Colo., where she graduated from North Denver High School. There she met Melvin D. Zehr, and they were married on Dec. 7, 1948.
They moved to his farm in Manson, then moved the family to Fort Dodge in 1972. She was a member of Manson Mennonite Church and often attended Northfield Church of Christ in Fort Dodge. She worked at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Dodge and then as an LPN at Urology Associates. Upon retirement, she volunteered at Trinity Regional Medical Center.
She was an avid reader, kept a journal, loved nursing and enjoyed activities with her children and grandchildren, including a trip to Israel. She was also Grandma Zehr at Community Christian School.
Survivors include her husband, Melvin; two daughters, Gloria Nelson and her husband, Paul, of Casa Grande, Ariz., and Janet Butterfield and her husband, Paul, of Badger; two sons, Daniel Zehr and his wife, Jean, of Manson and Richard Zehr and his wife, Linda, of Fort Dodge; a brother, Oren Keiser of Bloomington, Ill.; 10 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a grandson, Justin; and a great-granddaughter, Audra.
Services were held at Manson Mennonite Church. Burial was in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Manson.
Harms, Lillian Beatrice Wedel
Lillian Beatrice Harms, 91, died Dec. 27, 2014, at Pine Village Nursing Home, Moundridge, Kan. She was born Nov. 15, 1923, to Fred F. and Susie Wedel Just in Boyd, Okla.
She received her associate's degree in music from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., in 1943, and for 52 years she taught piano lessons. She was a member of the Kansas Music Teachers Association and Hesston Mennonite Brethren Church.
On June 2, 1946, she married Andrew "Andy" Harms at Lehigh. He preceded her in death on March 18, 2013. She and Andy were tour guides for Prudent Tours.
Survivors include four children, Roger Harms and his wife, Cindy Holman, of Edmond, Okla., Larry Harms of Houston, James "Jim" Harms and his wife, Michelle, of Wichita, and Margaret Knoll and her husband, Tom, of Chandler, Ariz.; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Andrew; a brother, Harold Just; and a sister, Rubena Newland.
Memorial services were held at Hesston Mennonite Brethren Church. Burial was in the Hesston City Cemetery.
Kennel, Arthur J.
Arthur J. Kennel, 85, died Dec. 12, 2014, at Charter House in Rochester, Minn. He was born April 26, 1929, to John E. Kennel and Anna Mary (Summers) Kennel in rural Gap, Pa.
He graduated from Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite High School in 1947. In 1946 he contributed to alleviating postwar conditions in Europe by going to Poland as a sea-going cowboy. In 1951 he sailed with a shipload of heifers to Israel.
He graduated from Eastern Mennonite College, where he met his wife, Lois. He completed his medical doctorate at Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia in 1957. From 1958 to 1963 he practiced general medicine in Jefferson, N.C., and Stuart, Va. He moved on to do internal medicine training at Mayo Clinic and a fellowship in cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania.
From 1970 to 1972 he served in Kinshasa, Zaire, where he chaired the cardiology department at Kinshasa General Hospital. Returning to the U.S., he earned a master of science degree from the University of Minnesota in 1973. He became a Mayo Clinic consultant, assistant professor at Mayo Medical School and chair of the division of community medicine. He retired from the Mayo Clinic in 1995.
In 1981 he began breeding and showing llamas. Kennelllamas, in partnership with Lois, was his passion for 30 years. His interest in scientific research provided opportunities to contribute to the llama industry by making presentations in Peru, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. He was a man of faith and a leader at Rochester Mennonite Church. In 2011 he completed his memoirs, Life, Love, Llamas and Laughs: My Story.
Survivors include his wife, Lois; a daughter, Susan Harrison of Toronto; a son, Kurt Kennel and his wife, Betty, of Rochester; two sisters, Naomi Yoder of Amsterdam and Leah Magal of Portland, Maine; and five grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Calvin; and seven sisters, Edith Graybill, Alta Stoltzfus, Erma Kauffman, Ruth Glick, Gertrude Yoder, Ann Mast and Salinda Smucker.
A celebration of his life was held at Charter House. Another celebration will be held in Lancaster County in April. He donated his body for medical research.
Elsie Miller, 83, of Berlin, Ohio, died Oct. 8, 2014. She was born Oct. 13, 1930, to Ervin and Eva Miller in Berlin.
She graduated from Goshen (Ind.)?College and earned her master's degree in early childhood education from Kent State University. She taught for 26 years in Charm, Smithville and Rittman.
Inspired by President Kennedy, she joined the Peace Corps in the mid-1960s, training math teachers in the Philippines, then traveled abroad.
Called to the ministry, her seminary training was at Presbyterian School of Christian Education. Ordained July 4, 1982, she was one of the first female Mennonite pastors. She was in ministry more than nine years at Oak Grove Mennonite Church in Smithville and Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, Kan.
She returned home to be her mother's caregiver. She enjoyed reading, contemplative retreats, flowers and gardening and the Cleveland Cavaliers. She loved her 16 nieces and nephews and read to them and took them on adventures.
Survivors include a sister, Jeanette Beyeler and her husband, Milton; and her nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by three brothers, Jack, Bob and Elmo; and a sister-in-law, Martha.
Thieszen, Clara Huebert
Clara (Huebert) Thieszen, 92, of Henderon, Neb., died Jan. 3, 2015, at the Henderson Care Center. She was born Jan. 20, 1922, to Henry P. and Mary Klassen Huebert in her parental home northwest of Henderson.
Upon her confession of faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, she was baptized May 12, 1940, and was received as a member of Bethesda Mennonite Church and remained a lifelong member.
On Feb. 26, 1941, she married Daniel P. Thieszen at her family home. They were blessed with 61 years together.
Survivors include a daughter, Verlene Sebes and her husband, Don, of Hanston, Kan.; four sons, Elmer Thieszen and his wife, Donna, Leroy Thieszen and his wife, Jo, Dennis Thieszen and his wife, Diane, and Larry Thieszen, all of Henderson; a sister, Elsie Epp of Henderson; a sister-in-law, Marie Thieszen of Henderson 11 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren and a great-great-granddaughter.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel; a grandson, Lynn Huebert; a sister-in-law, Eva Friesen; three brothers-in-law, Arlie E. Friesen, Willard Epp and Abe Thieszen.
Committal services were held at Metz Mortuary in Henderson, with burial at Bethesda Cemetery afterward. Memorial services were held at Bethesda Mennonite Church in Henderson.
Yoder, Robert A.
Robert A. (Bob) Yoder, 87, of Eureka, Ill., died Nov. 25, 2014, at Maple Lawn Health Center. He was born Dec. 18, 1926, to Oliver and Stella (Schertz) Yoder at Eureka.
He attended Maple Lawn country school and graduated from Eureka High School. He married Doris (Sutter) Zehr of Morton in 1946.
He was a full-time farmer most of his life, receiving the Prairie Farmer Master Farmer award and serving as president of the Eureka Farmers Co-op. He was a lifetime member of Roanoke Mennonite Church, serving as elder and Sunday school teacher there and later in life serving the wider Mennonite church in stewardship education and fundraising efforts, which took him to many Mennonite communities. He sought unity in both the local church and the wider church.
While he never attended college, he was widely read and in many ways self-educated. He authored Seeking First the Kingdom and two compilations of his memories for family, Spirit Breezes on the Tallgrass Prairie and Milestones and Altars Along My Road of Faith. In retirement he enjoyed establishing and maintaining a small prairie and writing poetry, surfing the Internet and sharing jokes and stories via email.
Survivors include his wife, Doris, of Eureka; sons Michael Yoder and his wife, Carolyn, and Daniel Yoder, all of Eureka, and Erik Yoder and his wife, Leanne, of Tucson, Ariz.; a daughter, Susan Graber and her husband, Cecil, of Eureka; sisters Ann Gerber of Eureka and Wilma Springer of Livermore, Calif.; five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
He was preceded in death by a stillborn son; granddaughter Rebecca Yoder; and brothers Orrie, Roy and Milton Yoder.
Cremation rites were accorded, with memorial services held at Maple Lawn and at Roanoke Mennonite Church.
Fretz, Helen Christine Habegger
Helen Christine Habegger Fretz, 92, of Goshen, Ind., died Jan. 6, 2015, at Greencroft Healthcare. She was born April 19, 1922, in Forsythe, Mont., to Alfred and Barbara (Hirschy) Habegger, who were missionaries to the Northern Cheyenne Native Americans.
Her early education was with the Cheyenne in Busby, Mont., and they gave her the name Voesta, which means White Buffalo Cow. Her father baptized her at age 13 upon her confession of faith. She completed her high school education in Berne, Ind. She met her future husband, J. Herbert Fretz, while attending Bluffton (Ohio) College, and graduated in 1944. After teaching high school for a year in Arcanum, Ohio, while he was attending Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, they were married June 9, 1945, in Berne.
She taught third grade for one year in Blue Bell, Pa. They then moved to Bedminster, Pa., where he was the pastor at Deep Run West Mennonite Church from 1945 to 1953. They moved to Freeman, S.D., where he was pastor at Salem Mennonite Church from 1953 to 1963. She enjoyed staying home for 18 years to raise and care for her family. When the family moved to Goshen, where Herb was pastor of Eighth Street Mennonite Church from 1963 to 1968, she earned her master's degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and she taught consumer and home economics at Whiteman Junior High School in Goshen from 1964 to 1987. She served her Lord as a pastor's wife, taught Sunday school and served one term as deacon at Hively Avenue Mennonite Church in Elkhart, where Herb worked at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
Survivors include four children, Barbara Ross and her husband, Archie, of Longmont, Colo., Susan Boushele of Pocatello, Idaho, James H. Fretz and his wife, Mary, of Killingworth, Conn., and Joseph H. Fretz and his wife, Ann, of Centennial, Colo.; a brother, David Habegger of Elkhart; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, J. Herbert Fretz, on Aug. 10, 2013; and five siblings, Marden, Jeanne, Esther, Lois and Bernard.
Memorial services were held at Eighth Street Mennonite Church, Goshen.
Hostetler, Dorothy S.
Dorothy S. Hostetler, 88, of Holly Creek Retirement Center in Centennial, Colo., died Jan. 1, 2015, in Hospice care. She was born on Sept. 22, 1926, to Amra and Ruth Hostetler in Harper, Kan.
She attended Pleasant Valley Grade School, Harper High School, Hesston Academy and graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. She taught in the Shawnee Mission, Kan., schools for more than 30 years. She was a member of Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Harper, Kan.
Survivors include four siblings, Delbert Hostetler of Harper, Betty Schmidt of Littleton, Colo., Rose Kliewer of Rochester, Minn., and Charlene Hostetler of Centennial. She had many nieces and nephews, all of whom will miss her presence at family gatherings and reunions.
She was preceded in death by a sister, Helen Miller of Bedford Heights, Ohio.
Burial of her cremains will be in Harper at a later date when family members are available.
Paul Hooley, 95, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, died Jan. 6, 2015, at Logan Acres Care Center. He was born Sept. 29, 1919, to Paul Jacob and Alta Mae Hostetler Hooley near Jet, Okla.
He graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College in 1949 and from Indiana University Medical School in 1953. He married Almeda Troyer on June 7, 1950.
From 1944 to 1946 he served under Mennonite Central Committee in Egypt and Ethiopia. In Egypt he was seconded to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to help care for 25,000 Yugoslav refugees. In 1945, he accompanied 2,000 of these refugees by ship back to Yugoslavia. From there he was sent by MCC and Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions to Ethiopia, where he helped complete a medical tour and survey of Ethiopia that recommended the establishment of a mission hospital in Adama. He drew up the plans and supervised construction of that hospital, which became the foundation for Mennonite Mission to Ethiopia and the Meserete Kristos Church.
He founded Oak Hill Medical Associates, which opened in Logan County in 1965. He practiced there until retirement in 1988 at age 69. He brought many specialists to Logan County and helped open an intensive-cardiac care unit. He took two sabbaticals to serve in Puerto Rico and Alaska. He was for many years a member of South Union Mennonite Church near West Liberty and later of Shiloh Mennonite Church in Plain City. He helped found Covenant Fellowship of Logan County. His interests included creation research, biblical archaeology and support of refugees. He worked with the Gideons and was involved with the early Right to Life movement in Logan County.
Survivors include two siblings, Wesley Walter Hooley of Caldwell, Idaho, and Marilyn Hooley Miller of Bristol, Ind.; five children, Steve Hooley and his wife, Cindy, of Bellefontaine, Barbara L. Hooley and her husband, James Ratleff Jr., of Rock Hill, S.C., Joyce Hooley-Gingrich and her husband, Bob, of Waynesville, N.C., Ron Hooley and his wife, Kerry, of Phoenix, and Mary Louise Hooley Carlisle and her husband, John, of Bellefontaine; eight grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Almeda; a sister, Elsie Mann; and two brothers, David LeRoy Hooley and Mylin Daniel Hooley.
Stucky, Marjorie Alyce Jobe Olson
Marjorie Alyce (Olson) Stucky, 87, of North Newton, Kan., died Dec. 25, 2014, at Kidron Bethel Health Care. She was born June 11, 1927, to Amos and Lillian (Olson) Jobe in Cheyenne County, Neb. She was still a baby when her mother died. She was adopted by her aunt and uncle, Rena and Elmer Olson, and they lived on their farm near Kanorado.
She graduated from Kanorado High School in 1945 and attended college at Hays State University and later Bethel College in North Newton. While still in college, she began teaching grades one through eight in a one-room schoolhouse and attended college classes in summer school. She graduated from Bethel College in 1952 with a degree in elementary education.
She accepted a teaching assignment in Puerto Rico through the Methodist Board of Missions and Church Extension. She returned to marry Willard (Bill) Stucky on Aug. 8, 1954, in Goodland.
She taught for three years in Moundridge and McPherson. The family then moved to Mexico, where Bill served as a missionary in an agricultural program. From there they moved to Elkhart, Ind., where Bill attended seminary. She was a very happy homemaker and continued substitute teaching.
Upon Bill's graduation from seminary, the couple served Mennonite churches in Deer Creek, Okla., Liberal, Turpin, Okla., and Fort Collins, Colo. While in Liberal, she served for four years as the director of Sunshine Center, and from 1974 to 1984, she and Bill were co-directors of Camp Mennoscah near Murdock. In 1990 they moved permanently to North Newton, where they continued gardening, cooking and spending time with family and friends. They were members of New Creation Fellowship Church. In 2011, they moved to Kidron Bethel as residents of health care.
Survivors include two children, Alan Stucky and his wife, Mellina, of Denton, Texas, and Jo and Brian Suderman of Gardiner, Mont.; and four grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Willard, in 2013; and by three siblings, Rowena, Francis and Vivian.
Memorial services will take place Jan. 31 at Bethel College Mennonite Church.