Mennonite World Review - April 2018

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

Fisher, Wallace Daniel ; . . Geissinger, Norman Alfred ; . . Leidig, Melvin D. ; . . Sears, Earl ; . . Wenger, Sara Jane Weaver ; . . Yoder, Emil John ; . .

Mennonite World Review - April 9, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 8 - p. 15


Wenger, Sara Jane Weaver

Sara Jane (Weaver) Wenger, 95, died March 23, 2018, in the Lancaster (Pa.) home where she and her husband of 73 years, Chester Lehman Wenger, lived since 1966. She was born to M. Lloyd and Sara (Oberholtzer) Weaver in Lititz.

She was a member of Blossom Hill Mennonite Church in Lancaster.
She attended Eastern Mennonite School, Harrisonburg, Va., for her senior year of high school in 1939 and two years of college, earning a Virginia teaching certificate. During these years she met Chester Wenger, whom she married July 2, 1944, during the more than four years that he was in Civilian Public Service in lieu of the military draft.

In October 1949, they and their three young daughters went to Ethiopia as missionary teachers, serving with Eastern Mennonite Missions in Salunga. This was their primary home for the next 17 years. In addition to teaching, hospitality, ministry with women, students and neighbors, and serving alongside Chester, she devoted herself to their eight children, four born in Ethiopia and four in Chesapeake, Va.

From 1967 to 1986, she was a remedial reading teacher, mostly at Smoketown Elementary School. In 1974 she started a retail business selling plants and flowers at Lancaster County farmers’ markets. She served in volunteer leadership positions with Mennonite organizations such as Women’s Missionary and Service Commission.

She spent hours daily reading newspapers, church periodicals and her Bible. Family life played a defining role in her life, and her home was often filled with visiting family and friends, who were drawn to her sparkling smile, Scripture-based wisdom and infectious laugh. Her faith, family and church formed her core identity.

Survivors include her husband, Chester; seven children, Betty Wenger (Don White) Good-White, Margaret Wenger Johnson, Jewel (Richard) Showalter, Sara Wenger (Gerald) Shenk, Mark (Kathy Weaver Wenger) Wenger, Philip (Steven Dinnocenti) Wenger and Thomas Wenger (Keiko Kuniyuki) Wenger; a daughter-in-law, Hilda Shirk; three brothers, Lloyd Weaver, Kenneth Weaver and Samuel Weaver; a foster brother, Ronald David; 16 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by a son, Chester Wenger; and two sons-in-law, Nelson Good and Samuel Johnson.

Memorial services were held at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church. Contributions may be made to Meserete Kristos College, LINK, Ethiopia, a ministry to train Ethiopian church leaders, and should be mailed to PO Box 1701, Harrisonburg, VA 22803.



Leidig, Melvin D.

Melvin D. Leidig, 92, of Orrville, Ohio, and formerly of Canton, died March 19, 2018. He was born Aug. 3, 1925, to Rueben and Emily (Teuscher) Leidig in Pompeii, Mich.

He was member of Orrville Mennonite Church. At age 13 he became a Christian and was greatly influenced by the death of his Uncle Dan, who died as a conscientious objector in World War I. As a result, he became a CO. He graduated from Ontario Mennonite Bible Institute and was ordained in Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. He met his wife, Lois, while in Mennonite Voluntary Service in Saginaw, Mich., where he started Grace Chapel Mennonite Church. He later attended Western Michigan University, where he received both a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in counseling.

After his graduate work, he was called to First Mennonite Church in Canton. There he helped start South East Community Organization and was involved in many community organizing activities. He worked for social service organizations in Michigan and Ohio while pastoring. He had a pastoral heart and was gifted in helping congregations through transitions. He did many interim pastorates throughout Stark and Wayne counties for both Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations. He was an ordained minister in the Ohio Conference of the Mennonite Church.

He was deeply involved in civil rights and peace and justice leadership. An advocate for others, he was especially committed to racial and economic justice. He and Lois enjoyed genealogical research on the Leidig family.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Lois (Gisel); a daughter, Shari Leidig (Scott) Holland of Pittsburgh, Pa.; a sister, Bernice Leidig of Harrisonburg, Va.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a daughter, Debra Anne Leidig, in 2001, who was developmentally disabled; two brothers, Clarence Leidig and Wilbur Leidig; and two sisters, Hazel Yoder and Gladys Ropp.

Funeral services were held at Orrville Mennonite Church. Burial was in Pettisville Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee or to Orrville Mennonite Church.


Mennonite World Review - April 23, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 9 - p. 23



Fisher, Wallace Daniel

Wallace Daniel Fisher, 95, of Wellman, Iowa, died March 6, 2018, at Pleasantview Home in Kalona. He was born Nov. 12, 1922, to Daniel J. and Ida Mae (Miller) Fisher in Johnson County.
He graduated from Sharon Center High School. On April 16, 1949, He married Evelyn June Eash at West Union Mennonite Church, near Parnell. She preceded him in death on Aug. 2, 1989. On Oct. 30, 1993, he married Marilyn J. Kinsinger Slaubaugh in Wellman.

He was the manager for Farmer’s Electric for 45 years, retiring in 1992.

He was a member of East Union Mennonite Church, rural Kalona, where he was active in many positions. He served as a conscientious objector in World War II, working as a “guinea pig” and later as a seagoing cowboy.

He was a volunteer with the Crowded Closet and a founding member of Mennonite Disaster Service in 1951. He was an active member on the Sharon Telephone Board and the Pleasantview Home Board for many years. He enjoyed volunteering and just doing whatever needed to be done.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn, of Wellman; four children, Gretchen Fisher of Kula, Hawaii, Mary Christine (David) Charles of Sharon Center, Daniel (Julie) Fisher of Wellman and Ted (Robbi Bannon) Fisher of Stockholm, Wis.; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; four stepchildren, Bonnie (Tom) Stuckey of Ohio, David (Faye) Slaubaugh and Jean (Bill) Schneider, all of Wellman, and Douglas (Carla) Slaubaugh of Parnell; 11 step-grandchildren; 21 step-great-grandchildren; and a sister, Virginia Hershberger of Goshen, Ind.

He was preceded by his first wife, Evelyn; three brothers, Ralph Fisher, Clifford Fisher and Robert Fisher; five sisters, Lois Yoder, Pauline Maust, Mabel Mininger, Emma Maust and Ruth Fisher; and a son-in-law, Stephen Kreider.



Geissinger, Norman Alfred

Norman Alfred Geissinger, 102, died April 6, 2018, at his Menno Village home, Chambersburg, Pa. He was born Feb. 24, 1916, to Abraham and Katie Godshall Stauffer Geissinger in Hosensack.
He was raised and baptized in Upper Milford Mennonite Church, where he served as deacon for many years. He graduated from East Greenville High School. He met Mianna Eisenhart at summer church camp, and they were married a year later on June 12, 1937, at West Swamp Mennonite Church.

He attended classes at Berean Bible School, Allentown, which helped prepare him for future ministerial duties. He was born in the same farmhouse as his mother and loved working the same farmland with his father. Upon his mother’s death in 1959, he began his second career as a carpenter, which continued to 1978. In 1964, he began his third career as a pastoral minister to Reinholds Mennonite Church, Lancaster County, where he served for 13 years. His second ministerial call moved them to Jackson, Minn., where he pastored Alpha Mennonite Church. During his tenure, the congregation built a new facility in Jackson, where he completed his ministry in 1988.

Upon retirement, he and Mianna moved to Mountain Lake, Minn., where they volunteered at the Ten Thousand Villages/Care & Share store and served as “parents” to international Mennonite Central Committee volunteers. He assisted in ministry at Bethel Mennonite for a time in Mountain Lake. Summer 1999 saw them move to Menno Haven to accommodate Mianna’s advancing Alzheimer’s until she died in March 2010.

He was proud of serving on a 1946 cattle boat as a seagoing cowboy, rebuilding a Native American village after the 1965 Alaska earthquake and other Mennonite Disaster Service projects. He enjoyed reading, woodworking and playing cornet in the family brass quartet.

Survivors include four sons, Ladnor (Shirley) of Chapel Hill, N.C., Cordell (Mary Kay) of Brooktondale, N.Y., Glenn (Arlene) of Excelsior, Minn., and Timothy (Anita) of Aurora, Ill.; two daughters, Jewel (Eugene) Ratzlaff of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., and Tanya (Avery) Shealey of Seattle, Wash.; a sister, Esther Miller of Robesonia; 14 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by brothers Paul and Wilmer; sisters Edna and Arlene; and son Arlin (at age 7 months).

A memorial service will be held May 26 at Menno Haven Chapel in Chambersburg. Memorial gifts may be made to Menno Haven Benevolent Fund.



Sears, Earl

Earl Sears, 83, of Goshen, Ind., died April 6, 2018, at Goshen Hospital. He was born Jan. 10, 1935, to Harvey and Dina Camp Sears. He grew up in Tazwell County, Ill., and attended Metamora Mennonite Church.

As a conscientious objector during the Korean War, he did 1-W service in Goshen. He earned a degree in secondary education at Goshen College, where he met Jane Falb, whom he married on June 18, 1961.

He received his master of divinity degree from the Mennonite seminary in Goshen, attended Harvard Divinity School as a fellow in the Merrill Program and earned his doctorate of ministry at Claremont School of Theology.

He served his first congregation, Waldo Mennonite Church in Flanagan, Ill., from 1964 to 1968. He and his family moved to Southside Fellowship in Elkhart, Ind., where they remained until 1987, aside from one year in Asunción, Paraguay, where he and Jane taught at Asunción Christian Academy. He served Faith Mennonite Church in Newton, Kan., from 1987 to 1997. In retirement, he pastored the Mennonite Church of Boston and Union Church in Brasilia, Brazil.

His calling included work for peace and justice. He co-founded the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program, worked in prison ministry, established gun buyback programs and advocated for refugees through the sanctuary movement. He encouraged active leadership roles for women. Through his lens of love and meditation on the teachings of Jesus, he saw what his church and his world needed.

He deeply valued his upbringing on his family’s farm. In 2000, he and Jane retired to pursue conservation work in Illinois, where they cherished relationships with nearby family and actively contributed to the Illinois Mennonite Heritage Center. In 2015 they moved to Goshen and joined Eighth Street Mennonite Church.

Survivors include his wife, Jane, of Goshen; three daughters, Carmen (Kevin) Logue of Acton, Mass., Jeanette (Roger Stryker) Sears of Clinton, Ont., and Jennifer Sears of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service was held at Eighth Street Mennonite Church, Goshen. Donations may be made to Mennonite Central Committee or Eighth Street Mennonite Church.



Yoder, Emil John

Emil John Yoder, 90, of Glendale, Ariz., died March 12, 2018, of pneumonia and kidney failure. He was born Nov. 1, 1927, to Mose P. and Anna (Yoder) Yoder in Kalona, Iowa.

He grew up on a farm and attended a country school through eighth grade. He never went to high school but learned by experience and common sense. In his youth he accepted Christ as his Savior and was a member of Trinity Mennonite Church at his death. At age 18 he was drafted in World War II and served one year in Civilian Public Service in Fort Collins, Colo., and Mennonite Central Committee at Akron, Pa. At Fort Collins he learned cooking skills.

After his discharge from CPS, he returned to Iowa to farm with his dad. He married Minerva Yoder on Sept. 5, 1950.
In 1952, he accepted an invitation from Hesston (Kan.) College to cook, which he did for five years. Then he moved back to Iowa and farmed with his brother Ray for four years.

In 1962 the family purchased the Hesston Cafe. After operating the cafe for more than a year, Hesston College asked him to be director of food service. He accepted and worked there until moving to Arizona in August 1978. He worked at Swartz Construction, Estes Homes in customer service, and Washington School District on maintenance, but his heart was really in food service. He then worked in the Towers Kitchen at Glencroft as supervisor chef for 10 years and at Trinity Mennonite Church as custodian for eight years.

He did many fix-it jobs in the mobile home park where they lived for 17 years. For eight years they traveled to Akron, Pa., to volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages for four months each fall. He was happiest working with his hands and doing something for someone else.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Minerva; two sons, Keith (Pamela) Yoder of Golden, Colo., and Royce (Marcia, deceased) Yoder of Lederach, Pa.; a sister, Vera Yoder of Kalona, Iowa; eight grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Ray Yoder and Wesley Yoder; three sisters, Sylvia Brenneman, Mildred Yoder and Luella Yoder; and two great-grandchildren.

Services were held at Trinity Mennonite Church. Memorial contributions may be given to Hesston College.

Copyright 2003 - All rights reserved - Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA
Used with permission by the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen, INDIANA
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