Mennonite World Review - October 2015
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Buller, Hilda O. Voth ; . . Goering, Gladys Graber ; . . Kempf, Esther Lapp ; . . Mann, Lester LeVon, Jr. ; . .Peifer, Clarence Erb ; . . Reimer, Marvin L. ; . . Zehr, Doris Lugene Whitaker ; . .
Mennonite World Review - October 12, 2015 - 93rd Year, No. 21 - p. 21
Mann, Lester LeVon, Jr.
Lester LeVon Mann Jr., 82, died Sept. 11, 2015, at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn., due to a multitude of health issues. He was born May 10, 1933, to Lester and Leona Mann.
He greatly enjoyed his career in medicine: first in family practice, then pediatrics, followed by emergency medicine and medical missions. His years spent working in Zambia with Brethren in Christ World Missions at Macha Mission Hospital were the most fulfilling and challenging for him.
He graduated from Jefferson High School in Goshen, Ind., Goshen College, St. Louis University School of Medicine, and received his pediatric residency at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine.
He excelled in basketball in high school and college. In 2002 he was inducted into the Elkhart (Ind.) County Sports Hall of Fame for scoring 34 points in a tournament game in 1951.
His faith guided every aspect of his life. He was a member of the Freeport (Ill.) Mennonite Church, where he taught Sunday school for many years. Music, especially vocal music, was a special interest, singing with the Monroe Men's Chorus and the Freeport Choral Society. He served as physician for Freeport Senior High basketball and football teams for many years.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Leota (Lee) Shrock Mann; four children, Karen Harbach and her husband, Bruce, Brent Mann, Gail Shetler and her husband, Byron, and Janine Hawkinson and her husband, Lyle; two honorary children, Ravi and Esther Sandhyapagu; a brother, Dean Mann; 10 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and two honorary grandchildren, Ron and Mighty Sandhyapagu.
He was preceded in death by a stepmother, Elsie Mann; two brothers, Derald Mann and David Mann; and a daughter-in-law, Kathy Mann.
Memorial services were held at Freeport Mennonite Church.
Buller, Hilda O. Voth
Hilda O. Voth Buller, 100, of Goessel, Kan., died Aug. 28, 2015, at Bethesda Nursing Home. She was born April 30, 1915, to Peter S. and Anna Fast Voth at Goessel.
She graduated from Goessel High School in 1934. She was awarded a scholarship in piano performance from Bethel College in North Newton and attended there for two years, earning a 60-hour teaching certificate. She then taught in country schools from 1936 to 1940.
On Aug. 7, 1940, she married Alvin Buller.
Besides her role as a mother and homemaker, she had a long career as a piano teacher, giving piano lessons to children in the community. She managed the school hot lunch program in the Lehigh and Hillsboro public schools for 23 years, from 1958 to 1981.
Upon her baptism at age 17, she became a member of Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church. Involvement in the church was always a high priority for her. For more than 50 years she faithfully served as a church pianist, sang in the Alexanderwohl Chancel Choir, taught Sunday school and served on various committees. After retirement, she volunteered for 18 years at the Hillsboro Et Cetera Shop. Beginning in 1992, she also served for more than 10 years at Bethesda Home, playing piano and accompanying the residents as they sang.
Survivors include four children, Arlin Buller and his wife, Maretta, of North Newton, Calvin Buller and his wife, Pauline, of Hutchinson, John Buller and his wife, Chris, of Hesston, and Carol Sprunger and her husband, Sid, of Wichita; a sister-in-law, Josephine Voth of Goessel; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Alvin, on Feb. 4, 1984; and by siblings Rudolf, Evelyn, Elmer, and two infant brothers.
Graveside services were held at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church Cemetery. Memorial services were held at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church.
Zehr, Doris Lugene Whitaker
Doris Lugene Zehr, 83, of Glendale, Ariz., died Aug. 25, 2015. She was born on Mother's Day, May 8, 1932, to Floyd and Gladys Whitaker in Albany, Ore.
She married Wendell Zehr on Father's Day, June 18, 1950. They moved to Phoenix in 1961 with their growing family.
She played piano with a unique and joyful style and shared her love of music with others, playing for countless weddings, funerals, musicals, congregational singing, children's choirs and special numbers, and hymn sings. She enjoyed teaching Sunday school and Bible school from the time she was a young girl in Oregon through her more than 50 years attending Sunnyslope Mennonite Church in Phoenix. She was always ready to help, whether it was providing food or a ride somewhere, being a friend or giving an encouraging word. All of her family loved her dearly and will never forget her perseverance, wit, grace and limitless love, and her spectacular cooking.
Survivors include her husband of 65 years, Wendell; four children, Marcia Swartz and her husband, Dewaine, Marlene Brunk and her husband, Dale, Wendy Houser and her husband, David, and Mark Zehr and his wife, Sandy; a brother, Ron Whitaker and his wife, Tina, of Albany, Ore.; 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions in her name can be made to Mennonite Central Committee, donate.mcc.org, to support clean water projects in Mozambique or other MCC development efforts.
Kempf, Esther Lapp
Esther Lapp Kempf, 90, of Geneva, Neb., died Sept. 16, 2015, at Heritage Crossings. She was born March 13, 1925, to Norman B. Lapp and Mabel Wismer Lapp in Perkasie, Pa.
She was baptized and became a member of Blooming Glen Mennonite Church at age 15. She graduated from Sell-Perk Consolidated High School in June 1942. She then worked for the U.S. Gauge factory until January 1946, when she moved to Akron and worked as a secretary at the Mennonite Central Committee offices. There she met Wayne D. Kempf, and they were married on April 24, 1948, at Perkasie Mennonite Church.
They moved to Strang to farm with Wayne's father. Living in an isolated rural setting without electricity and indoor plumbing was a challenge after growing up in a town. In 1952 they moved to a farm east of Shickley.
She loved classical music and the history of Bucks County, Pa., where she lived in her youth and where her ancestors immigrated in 1720. She was an active member of Salem Mennonite Church and was involved in music and historic presevation.
Survivors include three sons, Donald Kempf and his wife, Shirley, of Shickley, David Kempf and his wife, Susan, of Hellertown, Pa., and Dale Kempf and his wife, Kay, of Libertyville, Ill.; three daughters, Ellen Miller and her husband, Byron, of Waterloo, Iowa, Margaret Swartzendruber and her husband, William, of Shickley, and Anita Kempf of Third Lake, Ill.; two brothers, N. LeRoy Lapp of Morgantown, W.Va., and Gordon Lapp of Philadelphia; 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Wayne; a sister, Margaret Lapp Reimer; and two brothers, Stanley Lapp and Marvin Lapp.
Funeral services were held at Salem Mennonite Church, Shickley. Burial was in Salem Cemetery.
Peifer, Clarence Erb
Clarence Erb Peifer, 101, of Bridgewater, Va., died Oct. 1, 2015. He was born May 18, 1914, to Clayton and Alice Peifer in Lititz, Pa.
He was a longtime member of the Mennonite church. After retirement from his building career, he and his wife, Betty, went on numerous mission trips to Belize and Haiti, where he used his well-honed skills to build churches.
He married Elizabeth (Betty) K. Hostetler on April 16, 1938. She preceded him in death on Oct. 12, 1998. In December 2003, he married Rhoda Neer Brunk Peifer.
In the 1950s, he and Betty and their children moved to Lancaster, Pa., to Damascus, Md., to help start churches. For many years they served in lay leadership to help establish those churches. In the 1960s, they moved to Florida to help start Lakewood Retreat Camp, a Mennonite camp. They volunteered there several years, helping to build the first buildings at the camp.
In his later years he took up woodcarving. He was an avid reader and took numerous Bible study classes.
Survivors include his wife, Rhoda; five children, John Peifer, Kenneth Peifer and his wife, Jean, Ann Eberly and her husband, Sherman, Elsie Weaver and her husband, Steve, and Joy Miller and her husband, Jim; 11 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
Services were held at Dayton Mennonite Church. Burial was in the church cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Mennonite Mission Network.
Goering, Gladys Graber
Gladys Graber Goering, 96, died Sept. 12, 2015, at Pine Village in Moundridge, Kan. She was born on Sept. 23, 1918, to John C. and Ella Gering Graber in Freeman, S.D.
She attended Freeman Junior College before enrolling at Bethel College in North Newton. She graduated from Bethel in 1940 and subsequently taught English in high schools in Kansas, South Dakota and Minnesota.
On Sept. 1, 1944, she married Elmer H. Goering of Moundridge and transferred her church membership from Salem Mennonite Church in Freeman to First Mennonite Church of Christian in Moundridge.
She would be an active participant at First for the next 65 years, serving in roles from Sunday school teacher to deacon. She also assumed church leadership positions at the regional and national conference level. She was a member of the Bethel College board of directors from 1976 to 1982; served as the coordinator of Women in Mission of the General Conference Mennonite Church from 1974 to 1978, and as a General Conference delegate to Mennonite World Conference General Council from 1978 to 1984.
Music was an important part of her life. Blessed with a fine alto voice, she was a participant and soloist with the Newton community choirs in the 1950s. At First Mennonite she sang at countless weddings and funerals and served as the director of both its children's and adult choirs for many years.
She and Elmer became collaborators in many areas. They loved photography and travel, and often gave programs based on them to local civic and church groups. Later in life they developed an interest in community history and took on history projects that included First Mennonite Church, the City of Moundridge and Memorial Home for the Aged, now Pine Village.
After Elmer's death in 1999, she stayed in her own home until mobility issues forced her to leave it in 2009. She spent her final years in nursing care at Pine Village.
She is survived by her son, Wynn Goering and his wife, Ardie, of Albuquerque, N.M.
She was preceded in death by her sister and best friend, Gertrude Graber Erickson; her husband, Elmer; and her oldest son, Jon.
Reimer, Marvin L.
Marvin L. Reimer, 88, of Buhler, Kan., died Oct. 12, 2015, at Sunshine Meadows Retirement Community. He was born Feb. 7, 1927, to Pete and Agatha (Ratzlaff) Reimer in Jefferson County, Neb.
He owned and operated Reimer Inc. Feed and Hatchery. He was a lifetime member of Buhler Mennonite Brethren Church, served for 10 years as mayor of Buhler, was on the board of directors at Tabor College, served for 10 years as administrative secretary for the Mennonite Brethren Foundation and acted as president for the Kansas Poultry Association.
On Oct. 29, 1946, he married Fern L. Esau at Buhler Mennonite Brethren Church.
Survivors include his wife, Fern L. Reimer of Buhler; two children, Bruce Reimer and his wife, Kathy, of Shakopee, Minn., and Jane Jost and her husband, Mark, of Henderson, Neb.; two brothers, Delmer Reimer and his wife, Geraldine, and Roland Reimer and his wife, Lois, all of Hesston; a sister, LaVina Janzen of Enid, Okla.; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Helen Adrian.
Memorial services were held at Buhler Mennonite Brethren Church. Memorials may be sent to Sunshine Meadows Retirement Community and Buhler Mennonite Brethren Church in care of Buhler Mortuary.