Mennonite World Review - February 2018

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


Bartel, Billie Gene ; . . Friesen, Berry ; . . Guengerich, Elsie Ann Miller ; . . Harder, Milton J. ; . . Miller, Orpha Wagler ; . . Snyder, Leighton G. ; . . Troyer, Elizabeth "Betsy" Yoder ; . . Wyse, Rachel Elizabeth Graber ; . .

Mennonite World Review - February 12, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 4 - p. 15



Guengerich, Elsie Ann Miller

Elsie Ann (Miller) Guengerich, 96, died Jan. 6, 2018, in Wellman, Iowa. She was born Feb. 17, 1921, to Julius J. and Anna (Desing) Miller in Elkhart, Ind.

She graduated from Wellman High School in 1939. During high school she completed Normal Training to become a teacher and taught at White Hall and Bunker Hill rural schools near Wellman.
On June 21, 1942, she was united in marriage to Glenn Guengerich in a double wedding with her sister Lydia and his brother Harold at Wellman Mennonite Church.

She later joined Glenn on one of his Civilian Public Service assignments in Ypsilanti, Mich., where she worked on a hospital ward for patients with tuberculosis. They made their home in the Wellman community, where she was librarian for the Wellman-Scofield Public Library from 1968 to 1986. She was a member of Wellman Mennonite Church and enjoyed teaching summer Bible school there for many years. She was also a member of the Wellman Garden Club.

She made many quilts during her life and even more ivory-colored crocheted afghans, which she gave as wedding gifts. She enjoyed hosting coffees for her Sunday school class and the neighborhood women for many years. Her greatest joy was time with her family, welcoming their visits and putting together snacks and delicious fruits cobblers for them to eat.

Survivors include three daughters, Millicent Hershey of Lancaster, Pa., Becky (Dean) Rhodes of Goshen, Ind., and Anna Marie (Jim Yoder) Guengerich of Wellman; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 75 years, Glenn, who died in October 2017; six brothers, Everett, Stanley, Clarence, Paul, Clark and Robert; and her sister and best friend, Lydia Guengerich.

Memorial services were held at Wellman Mennonite Church. Memorial gifts may be given to Wellman-Scofield Public Library or Iowa Mennonite School in care of Powell Funeral Home of Wellman.



Wyse, Rachel Elizabeth Graber

Rachel Elizabeth Wyse, 94, of Wellman, Iowa, died Dec. 5, 2017, at Parkview Manor. She was born Sept. 23, 1923, to Joseph and Barbra (Rich) Graber in rural Wayland.

She became a member of Sugar Creek Mennonite Church at the age of 11. She graduated from Wayland High School in 1940. She married Roger Wyse on Aug. 7, 1949, at Wayland Mennonite Church.
They lived in rural Wayland, where she taught at Douglas Country School and worked in a tax office. In 1962 they moved to Wellman for four years, where she worked in the office at the Kalona Sale Barn. From there they moved to Bloomfield. She had a preschool in her home for a number of years. She went back to college when she was 54 years old to become an LPN and then worked at the Davis County Hospital until retiring in 1986.
She and Roger moved back to Wayland as their home base between volunteer assignments for 10 years in a number of states. In 2008 she moved to Silver Pond Assisted Living in Wellman to be near Roger at Parkview Manor.

She enjoyed cooking and baking, sister days, reading, jigsaw puzzles, watching birds at her birdfeeders, taking walks, visits and phone calls from her children and grandchildren, rides through the country and her annual outing to her father’s timber to go hickory nutting.

Survivors include five children, Priscilla (Thomas) Clemens, Joseph Wyse, Jeffery (Sheila O’Neill) Wyse, Jerome (Lori) Wyse and Ramona (Jim) Miller; two sisters, Berniece Roth and Beulah Mae Swartzendruber; and six grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Roger, on Dec. 16, 2009; an infant daughter, Lisa Rae; four brothers, Raymond, Willis, Clarence and Virgil Graber; three sisters, Welma Nelson, Lois Swartzendruber and Sara Lu Frederick; and a sister-in-law, Betty Farrier.

Memorial services were held at Wayland Mennonite Church. A memorial was established for Mennonite Central Committee. Her body was deeded to the University of Iowa Department of Anatomy.



Harder, Milton J.

Milton J. Harder, 93, retired pastor and service worker, died Jan. 30, 2018, at Bethesda Home in Goessel, Kan. He was born March 3, 1924, to John M. and Sarah Enns Harder on a farm near Butterfield, Minn.

He was married to Geraldine Gross Harder, originally of Doylestown, Pa., from 1952 to 1996. She preceded him in death. In 1997, he married Katharine Moyer, from Creek, Okla.
He graduated from Bethel College in 1948 and from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago in 1954. He was ordained to the ministry in his home church, First Mennonite Church of Mountain Lake, Minn., on July 11, 1954.

He was a voluntary service worker with Mennonite Central Committee in Germany from 1948 to 1951 and 1954 to 1959. From 1959 to 1968 he worked at the General Conference Mennonite Church offices in Newton as a youth worker and curriculum editor. Subsequently, he pastored Mennonite congregations in Seattle, Lansdale, Pa., and Geneva, Neb. He also served eight years as a chaplain and counselor for a Salvation Army men’s social service program in Seattle. In 1988 he retired from full-time ministry and until 1994 served part time as associate pastor of Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church in Goessel.

After his marriage to Katharine Moyer in 1997, he moved to her family farm near Deer Creek, where he enjoyed full retirement and continued his interests in travel and family visits, photography, reading and gardening. Since 2015 he resided at Bethesda Home.

Survivors include his second wife, Katharine; two sons, Robert G. (Lorna Habegger) Harder of Hesston and James M. (Karen Klassen) Harder of Bluffton, Ohio; a sister, Margaret J. Adrian, and a brother, Raymond F. Harder, both of Mountain Lake, and a brother, John A. Harder of Clermont, Fla.; two granddaughters and a grandson; and two great-grandsons.

Memorial services will be held Feb. 19 at Bethesda Home. Burial is in the Alexanderwohl cemetery. A memorial has been established with Bethesda Home.



Troyer, Elizabeth "Betsy" Yoder

Elizabeth “Betsy” Troyer, 83, of Goshen, Ind., died Oct. 2, 2017, at Greencroft Healthcare. She was born May 26, 1934, to Clemens and Anna (Hershberger) Yoder in Goshen.

She loved being a homemaker, quilting, making doilies and crocheting. As a pastor’s spouse for more than 50 years, she was an excellent host. When their three children were small she never worked outside of the home. Her part-time work included cleaning homes for others, waitressing, clerking and working as a nurses’ aide, which she did for 10 years. She was very competitive at cards or any other games. After retirement, she was an active member of College Mennonite Church in Goshen.

Survivors include her spouse, Samuel J. Troyer; a daughter, Sandi Clark; two sons, Tony and Mark Troyer; 16 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life service was held at First Mennonite Church, Middlebury.

Mennonite World Review - February 26, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 5 - p. 15



Miller, Orpha Wagler

Orpha (Wagler) Miller, 91, of Arlington, Kan., died Jan. 17, 2018. She was born Nov. 12, 1926, to Peter and Barbara (Yoder) Wagler near Partridge.

She attended Hesston College and served with Mennonite Voluntary Service in Gulfport, Miss.

She married Harry L. Miller on Aug. 28, 1949.
After their marriage, they spent six months helping to build a church in Glen Flora, Wis. They returned to Reno County and raised their family and farmed there until retirement in 1997. She was a member of Cedar Crest Amish Mennonite Church, where, for many years, she taught women’s Sunday school classes.

Survivors include six children, Yvonne Miller, Leon (Holly) Miller, Jean Ann (Wesley) Schrock, Michael (Lois) Miller, Erlis (Gesine) Miller and Arlyn (Loretta) Miller; and 10 grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Harry; three sisters, Laura Miller, Mary and Martha Wagler (twin infants); three brothers Raymond Wagler, Willie Wagler and Mahlon Wagler; and a stillborn infant.

Funeral services were held at Cedar Crest Amish Mennonite Church, Hutchinson.



Friesen, Berry

Berry Friesen, 69, of Lancaster, Pa., died Jan. 17, 2018, of advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma. He was born in 1948 to John V. and Blondina (Blanche) Friesen in Mountain Lake, Minn.

He grew up on a farm in Cottonwood County. He met his future wife, Sharon Klassen, in Sunday school at Carson Mennonite Brethren Church, Delft, Minn.

After graduation from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., in 1970, he volunteered with Mennonite Central Committee as an alternative to the draft. He and Sharon spent 1970-1973 in Jamaica teaching in a secondary school. After several more years of teaching, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota, graduating cum laude in 1979. After graduation he joined Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, where he spent 10 years advocating for Native Americans and Hmong refugees and was appointed director of the Minnesota Family Farm Law Project.

In 1989 they moved to Lancaster, where he worked for MCC, first as director of the U.S. service program from 1989 to 1992, and then as MCC’s director of administration from 1993 to 1997. From 1997 to 2007, he was executive director of Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center. He then worked for several nonprofits, the last in 2016 when he was appointed president of the Nazareth Project. He resigned after receiving his cancer diagnosis.

His passion for peace and justice infused his life. He was an avid reader, bird watcher, writer and blogger. He authored two books, Water from Another Time and If Not Empire, What? (co-authored with John Stoner), many articles, opinion pieces and letters to the editor. He was a member of East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, Lancaster, and the 1040 For Peace group in Lancaster.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sharon; two daughters, Amber Friesen (Rehan Hanif) of London, England, and Emily Burkholder (Guy Burkholder III) of Lancaster; a brother, LeRoy Friesen; and six granddaughters.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Marlyn Friesen; and a nephew, Chad Friesen.

Memorial services were held at East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church. Memorial contributions may be sent to The Nazareth Project (



Snyder, Leighton G.

Leighton G. Snyder, 87, of Akron, N.Y., died Feb. 3, 2018, in a Sarasota Hospital after experiencing complications related to a stroke. He was born Aug. 22, 1930, to David and Barbara Gingrich Snyder in St. Jacobs, Ont.

While attending Ontario Bible School, he met his sweetheart, Arlene Wideman. They were married Sept. 9, 1951.

They resided in rural Akron, where he worked for and later became a partner in the Wideman and Snyder Dairy farm. In 1983 he and his son partnered to become Early View Farm. He considered himself a lifetime farmer.

He was a member of Clarence Center-Akron Mennonite Church, where he served by leading singing, directing worship, and was a church elder for many years.

He and Arlene retreated to the warmth of Sarasota, Fla., for the past 26 winters, where he enjoyed the fellowship and activities of Bahia Vista Estates. He held a special place in his heart for his family, and he was dearly loved.

He is survived by his loving spouse, Arlene; three children, Lorna (Mel) Claassen, Luanne (Don) Livingston and Ron (Cheryl) Snyder; stepsisters Eileen Martin and Fern Metzger; sisters-in-law Norine Snyder and Marge Wideman; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a stepfather, Eli Gingrich; two brothers, Wayne and Melvin Snyder; and a granddaughter, Heidi Claassen.

Memorial services were held at Clarence Center-Akron Mennonite Church. Donations may be made to Clarence Center-Akron Mennonite Church or Mennonite Central Committee.



Bartel, Billie Gene

Billie Gene Bartel, 83, of Glendale, Calif., died Oct. 5, 2017. He was born April 20, 1934, to William and Anna Bartel in Hillsboro, Kan.

On April 2, 1950, he was baptized and received into membership at Hillsboro First Mennonite Church.

After two years at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., he met Lyla Whitham, while they both worked at a furniture and home-design store. They were married April 3, 1955, in Scott City, Kan.

They moved to Evanston, Ill., where, as a pacifist, he served two years in a hospital during the Korean War. They then went to Los Angeles, where he attended Woodbury College of Design, graduating magna cum laude in 1960. Majoring in professional arts, he fulfilled his lifelong passion to be an interior designer. He opened a design business and specialty gift shop, Bill Bartel Interior Design, in the Larchmont Village area of L.A.

In the early 1970s they moved to their current home in Glendale. By the late 1970s, he and Lyla opened a children’s clothing shop, Bartel Chapter IV. Eventually he focused on this shop as Lyla opened their third business, Confetti, selling wo­men’s apparel. He served as president of Larchmont Boulevard Business Association.

He was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood for more than 40 years. He offered his design talents to the church, updating the sanctuary and prayer rooms with new colors and upholstery, designing church bulletins and overseeing holiday decorations.

He made the family home a reflection of who he was. He loved subtle colors and simple, elegant designs. He devoted hours to painting, refinishing and landscaping. He loved to cook and to travel, visiting London, Paris and Italy with Lyla and their dear friends, Betty and Norman Lofland.

By his mid-70s his health began to decline as his mind and body succumbed to dementia. He was still able to say “I love you” even in his final days.

Survivors include his wife, Lyla; two sons, Tate Bartel and Todd (Angie) Bartel; a daughter, Courtney; a sister, Sylvia Abrahams; and seven grandchildren.

A private memorial was held at the family’s Glendale home.

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