Mennonite World Review - May 2018

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

Friesen, Elizabeth Maria Csik Zakrowski Bensley ; . . Graber, Jerry Dean ; . . Hofer, Ben Frank ; . . King, Lois Maxine Meyer ; . . Knepp, Harry ; . . Miller, Delmer R. ; . .

Mennonite World Review - May 7, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 10 - p. 15



Knepp, Harry

Harry Knepp, 96, of Montgomery, Ind., died April 14, 2018. He was born Feb. 24, 1922, to Joel and Elizabeth (Graber) Knepp in Daviess County.

As a young man, he served God and his country for four-and-a-half years through Civilian Public Service. He married Anna Mae (Swartzentruber) Knepp on Oct. 25, 1947. She preceded him in death on April 17, 2016.

He was a member of Berea Mennonite Church. He was instrumental in starting meat canning, helping with the local relief sale for Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service and Mennonite Mutual Aid.

He was a lifelong farmer and a dairyman, and he loved God’s creation. He started Hillcrest Supply Inc. in 1963 and ran the business until 2015, when his two sons took over. He was the author of the book The Servants Heart.

Survivors include eight children, Sue (Bobby) Hedrick, Rita (Allen) Stutzman, Jean (Delmer) Graber, Diane (Dale) Miller, Steve (Darlene) Knepp, Marilyn (Mark) Craney, Richard (Barb) Knepp and Sherry (Ron) Weaver; a sister, Ruth Overholt; sisters- and brothers-in-law Ruth (Ray) Marner, Helen Swartzentruber and Joe Swartzentruber; 21 grandchildren; 51 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

He is preceded by his wife, Anna Mae Knepp; and his sisters and their spouses, Lilly (David) Yoder and Marie (Leroy) Overholt.
Funeral services were held at Berea Mennonite Church, Cannelburg.



Miller, Delmer R.

Delmer R. Miller, 89, of Lakewood, Colo., died April 5, 2018, at Swedish Medical Center of a traumatic brain injury from a fall. He was born in March 1929 to John and Edith Miller in Marion, S.D.

He worked on the family farm until he graduated from high school. He attended Freeman Junior College and majored in music. A change in direction took him to Sioux Falls to open a bakery he named Delmer’s Doughnut Bar.

He served his country as a conscientious objector and worked in the psychiatric ward at Denver General Hospital. In Denver he met Ruth Eigsti; they were married six months later.
After his service, he went to Emily Griffith Opportunity School to become a barber. He purchased a barbershop, Del’s Tonsorial Parlor in Golden, where he worked for 49 years.

He started singing as a youth with his brothers in a quartet called The Miller Boys, traveling the state of South Dakota to perform. They continued to sing together even in adulthood. He joined another quartet, The Menno Four, who sang in many venues. The past 15 years he sang for the MountainAires chorus and the barbershop quartet The Grace Notes. With a beautiful tenor voice, he sang at many weddings and funerals.

For most of his life he had a huge garden of vegetables to share. He had a passion for the mountains, teaching both children to ski. He loved backpacking and fishing and was an avid Broncos and Rockies fan.

His faith and his love of family were apparent in every part of his life. He was raised Mennonite but attended Bear Creek Presbyterian Church for 25 years. He served as a deacon and sang in the choir. He read the Word every day, attended a men’s Bible study and church faithfully and volunteered at every opportunity.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Ruth M. Miller; a son, Tim Miller; a daughter, Julie Clauson; two brothers, Dennis Miller and Winston Miller; four grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Merle Miller and Elroy Miller.

Memorial donations may be made to the Bridge Church at Bear Creek, 180 Ministries in Denver and Mennonite Central Committee.

Mennonite World Review - May 21, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 11 - p. 14



Friesen, Elizabeth Maria Csik Zakrowski Bensley

Elizabeth Maria (Csik) Friesen, 75, of Goshen, Ind., died March 9, 2018. She was born in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, Sept. 3, 1942, during World War II, to Julius and Helen Csik.

With an older sister and parents, they escaped Hungary, traveling by foot and hitching rides to arrive in Germany months later. They lived in Germany for five years in a refugee camp until they were given permission to immigrate to the United States in 1950. They made their home in South Bend.

She graduated from Washington High School in South Bend and lived in South Bend until getting married. Her husband was in the Navy, so for the next 20 years they were stationed in several different countries. While they were in Japan, Tammy joined the family. After the years of traveling around the world, she settled in South Bend, where she worked in a variety of jobs in medical facilities and Partners Insurance Co.

In 2005 she married Mel Friesen of Goshen, where they made their home. She became a member of Eighth Street Mennonite Church and developed a deep appreciation for the congregation and its leadership.

She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend and an inspiration to many. She was a persistent survivor of multiple cancers, surgeries, an amputation and significant pain in recent years. She felt blessed by the many family, friends and church acquaintances who offered her support.

Survivors include her husband, Mel; two sisters, Violet (Barney) Jalinsky of South Bend and Judith (Marty) Levin of Portland, Ore.; a brother, Steve (Teresa) Csik of Boise, Idaho; three children, Tammy (Scott) Reuben of Cedar City, Utah, Jeremy (Jenny) Friesen of Goshen and Christopher (Miriam) Friesen of St. Paul, Minn.; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by two husbands, Dan Zakrowski and Bud Bensley; and a stepson, Bruce Bensley.



Hofer, Ben Frank

Ben Frank Hofer, 91, of Huron, S.D., died May 2, 2018, at Violet Tschetter Memorial Home. He was born Aug. 16, 1926, to Josua and Anna Hofer on the family farm in Milford township, Beadle County.

He worked on the farm all his growing up years. At age 16, in April 1942, he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

On Dec. 1, 1946, he married Elsie Waldner.

They began farming on a section of land in Spink County and made a commitment to the Lord to be good stewards in their farming. Giving to the church and missions was important to them. They hosted many people in their home over the years. Church conference guests, missionaries, family and friends were always welcomed.

He was involved in church, community and church conference boards on the district and national level. He served on the state weed board for six years, Mennonite Aid Property Board for 15 years and Yale Co-op board for 22 years. He counted it a privilege to have accomplished good with the farm and church.
In the summer of 1995 they moved to Huron. He became a member of the Huron Chamber of Commerce, where he served on the Ag Committee.

His wife, Elsie, preceded him in death. On March 16, 2002, he married Agnes Glanzer Waldner.

Survivors include his wife, Agnes; a son, Lowell (Nancy) Hofer; two daughters, Darla (Harold) Loewen and Rachel Winter; stepsons Darlo Waldner, Galen (Kim) Waldner and Chad (Cindy) Waldner; stepdaughter Loretha (Dennis) Weber; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife of 52 years, Elsie; his sisters, Mary Wollman, Ida Hohm and Goldie Wedel; a son-in-law, Dale Winter; and a grandson, David Winter.

Services were held at Bethesda Church. Burial was in Bethel Mennonite Brethren Church Cemetery.



Graber, Jerry Dean

Jerry Dean Graber, 86, of Parker, S.D., died April 22, 2018, at Oakview Terrace in Freeman. He was born May 2, 1931, to Peter H. and Laura (Preheim) Graber in Turner County.

Except for time spent in voluntary service and a 14-month stay in Oakview Terrace, he spent his entire life on the farm on which he was born. He graduated from Freeman Academy in 1949 and attended Freeman Junior College to further develop his love of music.

He was baptized May 25, 1947, and accepted as a member of Salem Mennonite Church of rural Freeman. He was a generous supporter of the work of the church and served in many capacities.
On Oct. 23, 1953, he married Rachel Thieszen at Bethesda Mennonite Church of Henderson, Neb.

They spent the early portion of their married life in Denver, Colo., when he served a term of voluntary service in St. Josephs Hospital. On Jan. 1, 1955, they purchased a portion of the Jersey herd from his parents and took over the family farm.
On July 1, 1976, he and his sons established Graber Jerseys Inc. They expanded the farm and improved their dairy operation. He was blessed to work alongside his sons Calvin and Jay for their entire lives but suffered sorrow with the loss of his only grandson, Ryan Graber, in a farm accident on Feb. 12, 2009.

He possessed a keen mind capable of astute fiscal management. He lent his abilities to numerous organizations, including the Pleasant Ridge school board, Viborg Coop Oil board, as an elected official for the Sioux Valley Milk Producers, the South Dakota Farm Bureau board, the Turner-Hutchinson REC board and United Dairy Industries Association board and the American Jersey Cattle Association.

He played in the East Freeman band and participated in many choral groups. He enjoyed the music ministry of his church and sang in the men’s chorus for 60 years.

He and Rachel visited Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Australia and New Zealand, and he joined tour groups to China, Brazil and South Africa.

Survivors include his wife, Rachel; sons Calvin (Linda) of Hurley and Jay of Parker; sister Marcene (RaGene) Ratzlaff of Henderson, Neb.; and three granddaughters.

He was preceded in death by his grandson, Ryan Graber.

Services were held at Salem Mennonite Church. Burial was in Salem Mennonite Church Cemetery.



King, Lois Maxine Meyer

Lois Maxine (Meyer) King, 91, of Walnut Creek, Ohio, and formerly of Florida, died April 19, 2018. She was born Sept. 24, 1926, to Elmer and Sarah (Liechty) Meyer in Creston.

She graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College in elementary education and taught more than 25 years in Ohio and Illinois. In summers she volunteered in service programs. In 1945 she worked at Hudson­River Mental Hospital in New York. She volunteered at the first Mennonite Central Committee migrant unit in Utica, N.Y., in 1949. In 1950-51, she led a voluntary service unit in Cleveland.

She met Paul King at Goshen when he returned from postwar work with refugees in Italy. They were married on June 7, 1952. Two weeks later they were commissioned for work at Bethel Mennonite Church in Chicago.

After 10 years in Chicago, they pastored at Pleasant Hill, Freeport and East Bend Mennonite churches for more than 35 years in Illinois. She was involved in women’s ministries. Retirement brought them to Ohio, where they taught workshops on aging and provided interim pastoral care for Berlin and Martin’s Creek Mennonite churches. They moved to Sarasota, Fla., then back to Ohio to Walnut Hills Retirement Community.

She was a member of Martin’s Creek Mennonite Church in Millersburg. Her faith in Jesus was her foundation. She shared daily devotions with her husband until his death in October 2016. She read through the Bible many times and loved hymns of the church.

Survivors include four children, Sara (Marlin Yoder) King of Fresno, David (Laurel) King and Daniel King, all of Wichita, Kan.; and Miriam (Michael) Blosser of Sarasota, Fla.; two siblings, Bernice (Meyer) Miller of Walnut Creek and Vernon (Geneva) Meyer of Wooster; three sisters-in-law, Irene Meyer, Jocele Meyer and Miriam Meyer; seven granddaughters and seven great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul; three brothers, Paul, Art and Fred Meyer; and a brother-in-law, Sturges Miller.
Memorial services were held at Martin’s Creek Mennonite Church. Memorial donations may be made to Lighthouse Ministries, Canton.

Copyright 2003 - All rights reserved - Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA
Used with permission by the Archives of the Mennonite Church, Goshen, INDIANA
Permission granted to private family researchers to use selected portions of these files to tell their family stories.
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