Mennonite World Review - October 2018
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Bartel, Gladwin Earl ; . . Bitikofer, Elizabeth R. Bartel ; . . Klassen, William H. "Bill" ; . . Leidig, Bernice Evelyn ; . . Mills, Joyce Elaine Schmidt ; . . Ward, Frank Gene ; . .
Mennonite World Review - October 8, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 21 - p. 19
Bitikofer, Elizabeth R. Bartel
Elizabeth R. Bartel Bitikofer, 84, of Hesston, Kan., died Sept. 14, 2018, at Schowalter Villa. She was born Dec. 3, 1933, to Jacob and Lizzie Bartel at Meade. The family weathered the Great Depression on a farm south of Meade.
On July 28, 1955, she married Clifford Bitikofer, whom she met through her brother Andy while he served in 1-W service in Topeka. He preceded her in death on April 8, 2003. They spent most of their life together in the Hesston area.
For many years she volunteered at the Et Cetera Shop in Newton. She loved to crochet, quilt and sew. She crocheted comforters for all of her grandchildren and sewed several wedding dresses for family. She and Clifford loved to travel and visited every state in the U.S. except Alaska and Hawaii. They also went to Mexico for service projects. She was employed for many years at Hesston College Food Services and at Cross Wind Conference Center.
Known for her gracious attitude, she welcomed many guests into her home. She had a subtle and mischievous sense of humor. She loved playing games like Dutch Blitz and dominoes and taking walks around the Hesston Arboretum.
Her belief in the power of the Holy Spirit permeated her life. She was active in Whitestone Mennonite Church and later at Kingdom Life Ministries, where she served as an elder. Books and Scripture reading were part of her daily walk. Prayer was as natural to her as breathing. As her mind and body failed, she continued to project a warm and loving spirit.
Survivors include four children, Kathleen (Dana) Neff, Lynette (Andy) Stoeppler, Kristine (Joe) Griffioen and Mervin (Cathy Coon) Bitikofer; three sisters, Bertha Seiffert, Margaret Reimer and Esther Whiteman; 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Clifford; a stillborn son, Eugene; four brothers, Pete Bartel, Martin Bartel, Andrew Bartel and Albert Bartel; two sisters, Mary Reimer and Katherine Patton; a grandson, Nathan Stoeppler; and a granddaughter, Sheralynn Neff.
Leidig, Bernice Evelyn
Bernice Evelyn Leidig, 86, of Harrisonburg, Va., died Sept. 23, 2018, at Mumaw House, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. She was born Jan. 25, 1932, to Reuben and Emily Teuscher Leidig in Pryor, Okla.
Formerly of Midland, Mich., in February 1986 she moved to Virginia Mennonite Home and has been a resident of VMRC since. She enjoyed religious and music services, reading and volunteering at VMRC.
Survivors include her sister-in-law, Lois Leidig, and many nieces and nephews.
She was one of six children. She was preceded in death by her siblings Clarence, Wilbur, Hazel, Gladys and Melvin.
There was a brief graveside service at Zion Mennonite Church Cemetery near Broadway. A celebration of life service followed at Cline Community Center of VMRC.
Memorial contributions may be made to the VMRC Compassion Fund, Harrisonburg, Va.
Ward, Frank Gene
Frank Gene Ward, 89, died Sept. 28, 2018. He was born Nov. 5, 1928, to Regina Rosshirt and B. Franklin Ward.
He dedicated his life to the Mennonite church. He began his career as pastor of Eden Mennonite Church in Schwenksville, Pa., before taking a position as secretary of education for the General Conference Mennonite Church in Newton, Kan. He spent nine years in this capacity, traveling across the United States and Canada, listening to others and sharing his ideas on teaching and understanding the Bible. He ended his career as pastor of Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, Kan.
Rainbow church provided him with the perfect outlet for using his creativity to impart all he had learned and continued to learn throughout his life, about loving and understanding people from all walks of life. During his early retirement, he belonged to the University Congregational Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, where he enjoyed substitute preaching for other pastors.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Margaret Makino Ward of North Newton, Kan.; two children, Matthew Ward of Kansas City, Mo., and Patricia Ward (Marvin Pauls) of Missoula, Mont.; and two grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a brother, James Ward.
A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 13 at Faith Mennonite Church in Newton, Kan.
Memorial contributions may be made to Rainbow Mennonite Church of Kansas City, Mennonite Central Committee, and Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice.
Mennonite World Review - October 22, 2018 - 96th Year, No. 22 - p. 15
Mills, Joyce Elaine Schmidt
Joyce Elaine Mills, 77, of Gladstone, Mo., died Oct. 5, 2018. She was born on Christmas Day, 1940, to Olin and Tillie Schmidt in Hutchinson, Kan.
She grew up on a wheat farm outside Inman, Kan., and lived there until she graduated from high school.
She was very involved with North Kansas City Hospital Axillary and Rainbow Mennonite Church and later taught and substituted for many years in the North Kansas City School District. Her love of family and heritage had her spending many summers and vacations back on the family farm and at wheat harvest. She lived in the North Kansas City area for many years before moving to Liberty in 2004.
She was baptized in and a member of Hoffnungsau Mennonite Church in Inman and later joined Rainbow Mennonite Church in Kansas City, Kan., where she was a member until her death.
Survivors include five children, Carla Schmitz of Liberty, Mo., Christopher (Aimee) Claassen of Parkville, Mo., Laura Mills Davidson of Phoenix, Ariz., Rob Mills of Phoenix, Ariz., and Randall Mills of Chandler, Ariz.; two siblings, Mary Schmidt of Moundridge, Kan., and Wayne (Amber) Schmidt of Hutchinson, Kan.; a former husband and friend, Charles F. Claassen; and five grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her older sister, Carolyn Buller, who died of breast cancer in 1995; her husband, Ralph J. Mills, who died in 2007.
A celebration of her life was held at Rainbow Mennonite Church. Memorial contributions may be sent to Rainbow Mennonite Church.
Klassen, William H. "Bill"
William H. (Bill) Klassen, 83, of Hutchinson, Kan., died Oct. 2, 2018, of cancer at the Hospice House of Reno County. He was born Dec. 8, 1934, to Albert D. and Agatha Hiebert Klassen in Newton.
He was baptized at Bethel College Mennonite Church in 1947.
In 1953, he accepted a two-year assignment in Germany with Pax, a program of Mennonite Central Committee, as an alternative to military service. During those two years, he met his future wife, Thea I. Janz, a secretary with MCC in Frankfurt, Germany. They were married on Dec. 31, 1955, in Winnipeg, Man.
Late in 1962, he and Thea returned to Germany, where he was employed by a German engineer and land surveyor. Returning to Kansas in 1965, he worked in Hutchinson as an engineering technician until he was licensed as a professional land surveyor in 1969. For eight years, he was partner in the firm Sickmon-Klassen until 1982, when he began employment with an Oklahoma City survey firm. Moving to New Jersey in 1986, he was employed with a surveying firm. Returning to Oklahoma after the 1987 stock market crash, he was employed with a surveying firm until retiring in 1999.
Chartering in a new Mennonite church in Oklahoma City, his involvement there led to two years as president-elect and two years as president of the Oklahoma Convention of General Conference Mennonite Churches. In 2001 after retiring, he and Thea returned to Hutchinson, where they returned to First Mennonite Church, and he became immersed in the church he loved deeply.
Survivors include his wife, Thea; and a brother, David (Deidre) Klassen of Hannibal, Mo.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Albert; and an infant sister, Ruth Ann.
A celebration of life service was held at First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson. Inurnment was in the church columbarium.
Memorials may be made to the First Mennonite Church or Mennonite Central Committee.
Bartel, Gladwin Earl
Gladwin Earl Bartel, 81, died Oct. 14, 2018, at Kidron Bethel in North Newton, Kan. He was born Dec. 11, 1936, to Adolf and Olga Brandt Bartel in Goessel.
He grew up on a farm near Hillsboro, was baptized and became a member of Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, and graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1954. At Bethel College he met Lois Franz. They were married at Menno Mennonite Church in Ritzville, Wash., in 1957. They moved to Smithville, Ohio, where they spent two years with Mennonite Central Committee working with boys who had troubled, delinquent histories.
He and Lois returned to Bethel, and he graduated in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and began his teaching career in Newton schools. He received his master’s degree in mathematics in 1964 from Kansas State Teachers’ College, now Emporia State University. They moved to Madison, Wis., where he had a National Science Foundation scholarship to study. After that year the family moved to Washington state for him to teach at Whitworth College in Spokane and then to pursue further education at Washington State University in Pullman.
The family moved to La Junta, Colo., in 1970, where he was a math and computer science professor at Otero Junior College until his retirement in 2001. He was active in Emmanuel Mennonite Church in La Junta.
He enjoyed camping and summer traveling as a family. He became an avid gardener, silversmith and woodworker. He organized and pitched for his church’s slow-pitch softball team. He and Lois moved to Kidron Bethel retirement community in North Newton in 2007 and joined Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton. His Parkinson’s disease, diagnosed in 1998, progressed, and he lived the last four years in the nursing care unit.
Survivors include his wife, Lois, of North Newton; two sons, Barry (Brenda) Bartel of Golden, Colo., and Kelvin (Lisa)?Bartel of Newton; a sister, Rosalie (Robert) Neufeld of North Newton; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Nov. 10 at Shalom Mennonite Church, Newton. Memorial gifts may be made to Memorial Garden at Shalom Mennonite Church or Mennonite Central Committee.