Mennonite World Review - January 2019

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

Headings, Dorothy Jean Yoder ; . . Nice, Fern Amy Roth ; . . Penner, Walter ; . . Reimer, Gerhard Johan ; . . Sprunger, Charles E. ; . .
Mennonite Weekly Review – Jan. 7, 2019

No obituaries in Jan.7.2019 issue

Mennonite World Review - January 21, 2019 - 97th Year, No. 2 - p. 15



Headings, Dorothy Jean Yoder

Dorothy Jean Yoder Headings, 78, of Harrisonburg, Va., died at home on Dec. 27, 2018. She was born Jan. 21, 1940, to George Elrose Yoder and Ruth Kaufman Yoder in Belleville, Pa.
She grew up on a farm in Allensville, Pa.

She obtained her nursing degree at Eastern Mennonite College, where she met Richard Lee Headings. They married on Aug. 2, 1963.

They moved to Oregon, where she was a nurse for the Lebanon Clinic and Dick became pastor of Lebanon Mennonite Church. Their children, Lauri and Kevin, were born and raised there. In 1991 they moved to Hesston, Kan., where she worked as a nurse in Showalter Villa and Dick served as conference minister for South Central Mennonite Conference. In 2000 they moved to Harrisonburg, where she was employed as a receptionist for Sunnyside Retirement Community and Dick pastored at Ridgeway Mennonite Church.

She loved her grandchildren and cats, singing and playing the piano in church, playing card games, visiting the North Carolina coast with her “beach buddies,” enjoying beautiful places and fresh air. Her ringing laughter and her playfulness will always be remembered.

Survivors include her daughter, Lauri Headings (Tom Whyte) Whyte of Boone, N.C.; her son, Kevin (Dawn) Headings of Hermiston, Ore.; her two older sisters, Iva Yoder and Effie Spicher of Belleville, Pa.; and five grandchildren.

After a graveside service at Lindale Mennonite Church Cemetery, a celebration of life service was held at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church.



Reimer, Gerhard Johan

Gerhard Johan Reimer, 90, of Goshen, Ind., died Jan. 1, 2019, in the care of Goshen Health Hospice. He was born June 16, 1928, to David P. and Justina (Brandt) Reimer on a farm near Blumenort, Man.

He grew up speaking Plautdietsch (Low German), learned English in primary school and farmed with his parents. He earned a teacher’s certificate from the Manitoba Provincial Normal School and taught for two years on Matheson Island and Poplar Hill, Ont.

From 1958 to 1962 he worked for Mennonite Central Committee in Pennsylvania and Switzerland. During that time, he met Margaret “Marge” Lapp. They married in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on April 9, 1960.

He earned a Ph.D. in German from Michigan State University, and joined the faculty of Goshen College in 1966, where he taught German and Spanish. The running bug of the 1970s bit him and other faculty members, and he completed a marathon in 1975. He and Marge led study abroad groups for Goshen College Study Service Term and Brethren Colleges Abroad in Costa Rica and Germany. He retired as a professor in 1994.

Margaret preceded him in death on Jan. 6, 1993. He then married Rosemary Wyse on Dec. 24, 1994, in Goshen. Together they continued to lead SST/BCA programs in Costa Rica, Germany and Mexico, and volunteered in Latin America and in Oklahoma.

Survivors include his wife, Rosemary; three children, Paul (Kathryn Meyer) Reimer of Goshen, Julia (Phillip Lund) Reimer of St. Paul, Minn., and Christine (Michael Collins) Reimer of Vancouver, B.C.; and five grandchildren.

Memorial services were at College Mennonite Church. Memorial gifts may be directed to MCC.



Penner, Walter

Walter Penner, 87, of Whitewater, Kan., died Dec. 15, 2018, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born Oct. 6, 1931, to Erich and Frieda (Wiebe) Penner at Newton, just a few years after his father emigrated from Germany.

German was the first language he learned. He picked up English words from hired help and other children. He claimed that by age 5 he was bilingual. During World War II, when German prisoners of war helped on the Penner farm, he learned many things from them. He finished his formal education at Berean Academy in 1949. He always wanted to be a farmer and from early youth got training from his father. He enjoyed feeding cattle and spent many days at cattle sales.

On Aug. 25, 1953, he married Evelyn Voth in Moundridge. Together they weathered the storms and breezes of life for 65 years.
Soon after they were married, he became ill with polio, and though most people were unaware of his symptoms, he was affected by it for the rest of his life. He and Evelyn moved to Kansas City to do two years of alternative service at the University of Kansas Medical Center. They then moved back to the farm near Whitewater.

Baptized about age 16, he gave high priority to the work of the church and served in many ways, including as Sunday school superintendent for many years.

Survivors include his wife, Evelyn; three sons, Kenneth (Jeanne) Penner and Bruce (Enid) Penner, all of Whitewater, and Mark (Shabnam) Penner of Central Asia; a daughter, Carol (Carlton) Harris of San Diego; two sisters, Alice Regehr of Newton and Gladys (Bernie) Regier of Wichita; two brothers, Irvin (Marty) Penner and Marlin (Jan) Penner, all of Wichita; 11 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

He was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Mikayla Penner.

Funeral services were held at Emmaus Mennonite Church, rural Whitewater.



Nice, Fern Amy Roth

Fern Amy Roth Nice, 83, of Albany, Ore., died Jan. 9, 2019. She was born Jan. 17, 1935, the last of 10 children, to Amos and Sarah Stalter Roth of Woodburn.

She attended Western Mennonite School of Salem and graduated from high school there in 1953.

She accepted Christ as her Savior at age 12 and was baptized at Zion Mennonite Church of Hubbard. There she sang in the choir and acquired many lifelong friends.

She married Robert Nice from Cheraw, Colo., on Dec. 19, 1953, at Zion Mennonite Church.

They spent the first two years of marriage in Portland, where they both worked at Good Samaritan Hospital. After many other moves, she and Robert made their home in Albany and raised their four daughters there. She worked as bookkeeper for 13 years at their business, Techno Lectric.

She was a charter member of Bethany Mennonite Church, which later joined Albany Mennonite Church. During those years she taught Sunday school, vacation Bible school, led songs and was chair for a women’s sewing group for a number of years.

Her family was the greatest pleasure of her life. They had many good times traveling together and working together. Her hobbies were gardening, quilting, singing hymns and painting Bob’s carved birds.

Survivors include her husband, Robert Nice; three daughters, Linda (Robert) Dibble of Albany, Julia (Greig) Todd of Lebanon and Kendra (Roger) Schlabach of Turner; 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by two brothers, Oliver Roth and Jasper Roth; two sisters, Florence Roth and Frances Bond; two infant brothers; one infant sister; and a daughter, Carmen Nice.

Memorial services were held at Albany Mennonite Church. Memorial donations may be given to Western Christian School or to Mennonite Women’s Department at Albany Mennonite Church.



Sprunger, Charles E.

Charles E. Sprunger, 86, of Lansdale, Pa., and formerly of Trappe, died Jan. 9, 2019, at Dock Woods Community. He was born Dec. 2, 1932, to missionaries Vernon J. and Lilly (Bachman) Sprunger in Mukedi, Congo.

He was a 1950 high school graduate of Central School in Lubondai, Congo. In 1954 he received a bachelor’s degree from Bluffton (Ohio) College. He earned a bachelor’s of divinity in 1962 from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind. He was a lifelong learner, taking courses and gaining knowledge in electronics throughout his life.

From 1957 to 1972, he served as a missionary with Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission. He taught in teacher-training schools, inspected out-station schools and worked with mission administration. In 1964, he and another missionary were captured by rebels. Through God’s all-knowing love and protection they were released. In order to use radio broadcasts to further extend the mission efforts, he set up and directed a recording studio to supply radio stations with Christian programing.
Returning to the United States in 1972, he worked in electronics for Acrodyne Industries of Montgomeryville and Spectrum Communication Electronics of Fairview Village. He served as pastor of Hereford Mennonite Church in Bally from 1975 to 1982. He then worked for International Shared Services of Plymouth Meeting. During his time with ISS, they contracted work into hospitals. He was at Bryn Mawr Hospital, where he became a certified biomedical equipment technician. He worked for Jefferson University Hospital for two years, then returned to BMH, where he remained until he retired in 1999.

A member of New Eden Fellowship Church in Schwenksville, he taught Sunday school, served as congregational chair and as trustee. He served on the AIMM board, was chair of Crossroads Community Center of Philadelphia for five years, was a member of the Commission on Overseas Mission of the General Conference Mennonite Church for 13 years and served on the Eastern District mission and ministerial committees.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Geraldine (Reiff) Sprunger; three children, Kathy Harnley of Schwenksville, Joel (Linda) Sprunger of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Charlene Lapp of Telford; three siblings, Wilmer (Kenlyn) Sprunger of Berne, Ind., Jeannette (Tom) Bechtel and Shirley (Vernon) King, all of Goshen Ind.; a grandson and two step-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by an infant brother, David.

Funeral services were held at Dock Woods Community Chapel. Burial was in Lower Skippack Mennonite Church Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission or to Mennonite Central Committee.

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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