Mennonite World Review - June 2018

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

Fretz, Beulah Roth ; . . Graybill, J. Lester ; . . Meyer, Vernon R. ; . . Neufeld, Peter J. ; . .

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



Fretz, Beulah Roth

Beulah (Roth) Fretz, 98, of Albany, Ore., and formerly of Salem, died April 24, 2018. She was born Aug. 18, 1919, to Daniel and Amanda (Kauffman) Roth in Woodburn.

She enjoyed life on the family farm and attended Zion Mennonite Church near Hubbard. She graduated from Canby Union High School in 1939.

After high school she enrolled in LaJunta (Colo.) Mennonite Nursing School and became a registered nurse. She then joined Mennonite Central Committee after World War II and went to France to work as a nurse at Mont des Oiseaux Children’s Home. She immersed herself in caring for dozens of children, many war orphans, in a challenging environment where supplies were limited and ingenuity was paramount.

While working in France, she met John Fretz from Ontario, also an MCC relief worker. They were married in Wissembourg. They honeymooned in Italy and France before returning home in 1947.
After returning home, they lived in Hesston, Kan., Goshen, Ind., Denver, Colo., Silverton, Ore., and Vineland, Ont., before settling down in Salem around 1955. She began working at Salem Hospital in 1956, working nights in the neonatal intensive care nursery, until retiring in 1986.

She loved music and enjoyed gardening, canning and sewing. Her cooking and baking skills were evident by the baked treats in her kitchen. After retiring, she enjoyed reading history, novels and her daily Bible. Visiting with people was a great joy to her, especially after losing her eyesight late in life. She was a wonderful storyteller, often sharing riveting stories from her childhood with her children and grandchildren.

She was a devoted Christian and lived her life following the teachings and example of Jesus. She attended Salem Mennonite Church for most of her adult life. In her final months she was cared for at Mennonite Village in Albany.

Survivors include sons John Fretz Jr. of Oceanview, Hawaii, Joe (Maxine Martin) Fretz of Denver and Rod Fretz of Salem; daughters Iona Ward of Edmonds, Wash., and Karma (Byron) Gingrich of Phoenix; seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John Fretz, and her oldest daughter, Giselle Shenk.

Memorial services were held at Zion Mennonite Church in Hubbard, Ore. Memorial contributions can made to MCC.

Mennonite World Review - June 18, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 13 - p. 15


Meyer, Vernon R.

Vernon R. Meyer, 93, of Wooster, Ohio, died May 21, 2018, at Brenn-Field Nursing Center in Orrville. He was born June 29, 1924, to Elmer and Sarah (Liechty) Meyer in Sterling.

He received his undergraduate degree from Goshen (Ind.) College and then received his master’s degree in education from Kent State University. He married Geneva (Ulrich) Meyer on July 31, 1949, in Eureka, Ill.

He worked as a teacher for Wooster City Schools for 25 years. He then worked at Freedlander’s Department Store for 13 years.
He was an active member of Smithville Mennonite Church, serving in many capacities.

As a pacifist he served in Civilian Public Service from 1943 to 1946, first in Luray, Va., and then in Exeter, R.I. After World War II, he was a seagoing cowboy and helped take horses to war-torn Poland.

Survivors include his wife, Geneva; three daughters, Rebecca (Dale) Geiser of Apple Creek, Kathryn (Michael) McKernan of Williamsport, Pa., and Ruth (Robert) Shetler of Orrville; two sons, James (Barbara) Meyer of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Harold (Renee) Meyer of Massillon; a sister, Bernice Miller of Walnut Creek; 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by three brothers, Paul, Fred and Arthur Meyer; and a sister, Lois King.
Services were held at Smithville Mennonite Church. Burial was in the church cemetery.



Neufeld, Peter J.

Peter J. Neufeld, 89, of Hutchinson, Kan., died May 31, 2018, at Hospice House of Reno County. He was born Feb. 27, 1929, to Jacob B. and Katherine Pauls Neufeld on a farm near Inman.
He attended Lake Valley Grade School and Inman High School. He graduated from Bethel College in North Newton in 1957 and from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 1960.

He married Onale Stucky on Aug. 21, 1958, in Berne, Ind.

He pastored at Bethany Mennonite Church, Kingman; Fairview Park (Ohio) Christian Fellowship; Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, Minn.; Deer Creek (Okla.) Mennonite Church and Fairplay Methodist Church, Walton. He also served as transitional pastor in Moundridge; Berne, Ind.; Meno, Okla.; and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Survivors include his wife, Onale; two daughters, Sandy (Bruce)Wetzel and Cindy (Dan) Kroeker; a son, Jon Neufeld; four grandchildren; one grandson-in-law; and one great-grandson.

Services will be held July 7 at First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson. Memorial contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.



Graybill, J. Lester

J. Lester Graybill, 86, of New Holland, Pa., died April 27, 2018, after a procedure to open blockages in his heart. He was born in 1931 to John and Bertha Graybill in Juniata County.

He was a retired Mennonite minister. He was pastor of Orrville (Ohio) Mennonite Church from 1958 to 1979 and Forest Hills Mennonite Church in Leola from 1979 to 1997. From 1997 to 2002, he was the first chaplain at Garden Spot Village in New Holland.
He served Ohio Mennonite Conference and Atlantic Coast Mennonite Conference in a variety of roles. He was part of the ACC leadership committee and served a year as conference moderator.
In August 1955 he married Eileen Rutt, daughter of J.L. and Mary Rutt, missionaries to Argentina.

He earned bachelor’s degrees in Bible and education from Goshen (Ind.) College in 1954 and 1955. He earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Goshen Biblical Seminary (now Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) in 1958. In 1969, during a leave of absence from the Orrville church, he earned a master of theology degree from Eastern Baptist Seminary (now Palmer Seminary) in Philadelphia.

A gifted Bible teacher who encouraged others, he was a loving husband, brother, father, grandpa, uncle, storyteller and peacemaker.

He was an avid reader and owned hundreds of books. He and Eileen traveled together to Argentina, Europe, the Middle East and many locations in North America.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Eileen Rutt Graybill; three children, Dave and his wife, Brenda Martin, Beth and her husband, Stock Weinstock, and John and his wife, Vineeta Gupta; a sister, Fern Brunner; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service was held at Akron Mennonite Church, where he was a member. Memorial contributions may be made to Mennonite Mission Network, Elkhart, Ind., and the Benevolent Fund at Garden Spot Village, New Holland.


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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