Mennonite World Review - April 2017

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

Martens, Wilma Friesen ; . . Richert, Shirley Ingalls ; . . Sharp, Michael Jesse "M.J." ; . . Wetzel, Martyne Ruth ; . . Zehr, Donald J. ; . .

Mennonite World Review - April 10, 2017 - 95th Year, No. 8 - p. 15



Wetzel, Martyne Ruth

Martyne Ruth Wetzel, 81, died on March 16, 2017, at Delmar Gardens in Lenexa, Kan. She was born Aug. 13, 1935, to Henry L. and Susan (Landis) Ruth on a farm along “The Branch” creek in Lower Salford Township, Pa. Her family attended Finland Mennonite Church.

On Jan. 14, 1961, she married Conrad L. Wetzel of Colchester, Ill.

Her church homes in Illinois included Reba Place Fellowship, Plow Creek Mennonite Church, First Mennonite Church of Champaign and Roanoke Mennonite Church. After her sons finished high school in Tiskilwa, she enjoyed working for many years at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

She enjoyed talking about, listening to and making music. She played the guitar and recorder, but especially loved to sing. For many years she attended as often as possible the folk music sing-alongs organized by her sister Eunice and brother-in-law Don Mast in Woodstock, Ill. She played the guitar for worship services at Plow Creek, performed the great choral masterworks with the Oratorio Society at the University of Illinois, and stretched her boundaries to frequent the occasional nightclub so that she could see her son Allen play the guitar as often as possible. She and Conrad were members for several years of the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

Survivors include three sons, Bruce (Sandy Neufeld) Wetzel of Lenexa, Carson of Chicago and Allen (Rickie Lee Spiess) Wetzel of Delavan, Wis.; a brother, John L. (Roma) Ruth of Lower Salford Township, Pa.; two sisters, Lois Kennel of Rochester, Minn., and Carolyn Ruth of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; a brother-in-law, Donald (Erma) Mast of New Holland, Pa.; a foster brother, Siegfried (Elsie) Rebnegger of Souderton, Pa.; and two granddaughters.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Eunice Mast of Woodstock, Ill., and a brother-in-law, Arthur J. Kennel of Rochester, Minn.
Memorial services were held at Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City. Memorials may be directed to Heifer International.



Zehr, Donald J.

Donald J. Zehr, 90, of Flanagan, Ill., and formerly of Gridley, died March 14, 2017. He was born Jan. 25, 1927, to Edward and Louella Bertsche Zehr.

He retired from Heinhold Hog Market in Gridley and had various other jobs through the years at State Farm Insurance, Barker Motor Co., Eureka Milling Co. and Hart-Carter Co.

He was a member of Prairieview Mennonite Church of Flanagan.
Survivors include three brothers, Howard (Loretta)?Zehr of Gridley, Orlyn (Jan)?Zehr and Marvin (Jeannie)?Zehr, all of Newton, Kan.; two sisters, Leola Flaming of Inman, Kan., and Marilyn Yordy of Flanagan; a sister-in-law, Miriam (Robert)?Liechty of Berne, Ind.; 25 nieces and nephews and several great-nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Edmund; a sister, Evelyn; and two brothers-in-law, Vernon Flaming and E.J. Yordy.
Funeral services were held at Prairieview Mennonite Church of Flanagan.



Richert, Shirley Ingalls

Shirley (Ingalls) Richert, 94, of Souderton, Pa., and formerly of Quakertown, died March 30, 2017, at Souderton Mennonite Homes. She was born to Benjamin Ingalls and Lysle (Apple) Ingalls in Johnstown.

She was married to Irvin E. Richert for 62 years.

She graduated from Quakertown High School. She worked as a knitter for the hosiery mill in Coopersburg. She then attended nursing school in Philadelphia. She was a seamstress for various local businesses, including the former Harvey Suit Manufacturing Co. in Quakertown. She also worked as clerk in the sewing department for the former Hess’s in Allentown, as a sales clerk for Friendly Book Store in Quakertown and as an assembler for Bucksco.

Growing up she attended West Swamp Mennonite Church in Quakertown until marriage, when she followed her husband to seminary. She later returned to West Swamp Mennonite Church with her husband, who served as their lead minister. More recently, she was a former member of Souderton Mennonite Church, Upper Milford Mennonite Church in Zionsville and Grace Mennonite Church in Lansdale. While her husband was pastor, she sang in the choir at First Mennonite Church, Sugarcreek, Ohio, and Buhler (Kan.) Mennonite Church.

She loved spending time with her family, playing the piano and singing, sewing, gardening and playing Scrabble and Pinochle. She was an avid reader and a very independent woman.
Survivors include two sons, Arthur P. (Michele) Richert of Plymouth Meeting and Allyn I. (Constance) Richert of Fairfax, Va.; a daughter, Kathryn P. (Donald) Fry of North Port, Fla.; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Irvin; and two brothers, Philip and Calvin Ingalls.

Funeral services were held at Souderton Mennonite Homes. Burial was in West Swamp Mennonite Church Cemetery.

Mennonite World Review - April 24, 2017 - 95th Year, No. 9 - p. 23



Martens, Wilma Friesen

Wilma Martens, 90, of Inman, Kan., died April 6, 2017, at Pleasant View Home. She was born March 1, 1927, to Daniel B. and Susie Goertzen Friesen in Goessel.

She was a homemaker and member of Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church, Midway Neighbors EHU, Happy Hour Sewing Circle, and was a Sunday school teacher.

She married Nick F. Martens on Aug. 30, 1947, at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church near Goessel. He preceded her in death on June 23, 2010.

Survivors include four sons, Delon (Joretta) Martens of Haven, Orlin (Rosemary) Martens of Inman, Weldon (Jenny) Martens of North Newton and Eldon (Cindy) Martens of Inman; a sister, Linda Deasy of Goessel; a sister-in-law, Mary Alice Davidson of Newton; nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Nick; infant twin sons, Darrell and Dennis; two brothers, Elmer and Randolf Friesen; a sister, Martha Goerzen; a daughter-in-law, Debbie Martens; and a grandson, Graham Martens.

Graveside services were held at the Hoffnungsau Cemetery, Inman. Memorial services were held at Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church of Inman. Memorial contributions may be made to Camp Mennoscah or Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church.



Sharp, Michael Jesse "M.J."

Michael Jesse "M.J." Sharp, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M., died on or about March 15, 2017, near Muswila, Democratic Republic of Congo. He was abducted March 12 and killed by unnamed assailants while investigating a new outbreak of violence as Armed Group Expert and Coordinator of the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC.

He was born Oct. 29, 1982, to John E. and Michele Miller Sharp in Elkhart, Ind.

He lived in Harleysville, Pa., 1983-1989; Scottdale, Pa., 1989-1995; and Middlebury and Goshen, Ind., 1995-2001. He graduated from Bethany Christian High School in Goshen in 2001 and attended Eastern Mennonite University, where in 2005 he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German. From 2005 to 2008, he worked at the Military Counseling Network, a project of the German Mennonite Peace Committee, offering services to U.S. soldiers who had become conscientious objectors. In 2010 he earned a master’s degree in peace studies and conflict resolution from Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany.

From 2012 to 2015, he was Eastern Congo coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee in the DRC. Here he worked with agencies to send peacebuilders into the forest unarmed to persuade rebels to release child soldiers, disarm and repatriate. From 2015 to 2017, he was an Armed Group Expert on the United Nations Group of Experts. He was appointed coordinator for the Group of Experts in 2016.

Survivors include his parents, John E. and Michele Miller Sharp of Hesston, Kan.; two sisters, Erin (Alex Levene) Sharp of Denver and Laura (Nick) Enzinna Sharp of North Newton, Kan.; two nephews and a niece.
He was preceded in death by an uncle, Roy R. Sharp of Casa Grande Ariz.; and an aunt, Sally Sharp Mullet of Sarasota, Fla.

Memorial services were held at Hesston Mennonite Church. Memorial gifts may be made to MCC Congo Peace.


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