Mennonite World Review - January 2020

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

Burkholder, John Richard "J.R." ; . . Kauffman, J. Fred ; . . Lehrman, Charles Henry ; . . Miller, John M. ; . . Peterson, Kenneth James ; . .

Mennonite World Review - January 13, 2020 - 98th Year, No. 1 - p. 15



Miller, John M.

John M. Miller, 88, of Lancaster, Pa., died Dec. 26, 2019, at Hospice & Community Care, Mount Joy. He was born May 14, 1931, to Omar and Matilda (Snyder) Miller at Nampa, Idaho.
He graduated from Western Mennonite High School in 1950, from Eastern Mennonite University in 1959 and Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 1961. He later earned a doctorate from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

His life was oriented around missions, serving in a variety of ministry roles, including early voluntary service work in Puerto Rico; church planting and development work in Sinaloa, Mexico; as a missiology professor at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.; and conference leadership roles with Franconia Mennonite Conference and Pacific Northwest Conference of Mennonite Church USA. During retirement, he continued to enjoy opportunities to write and teach, including several stints at Meserete Kristos College near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He enjoyed making things out of repurposed objects, whether melting old candles into a new candle for his desk, concocting wassail for family gatherings or seeing possibilities for pieces of wood found in nature and turned on his workshop lathe into objects of beauty.

Survivors include his wife, Doris (Ehst); two children, Brian (Hea­ther Loewer) Miller of Lancaster and Elizabeth (Jeff) Comeaux of Hot Sulpher Springs, Colo.; a sister, Elizabeth Kennedy of Hubbard, Ore.; and six grandchildren.
He was predeceased by a brother, Allen Miller, and a sister, Ruth Baugher.

Memorial services were held at Stumptown Mennonite Church.



Peterson, Kenneth James

Kenneth James Peterson, 77, of Newport News, Va., died Dec. 16, 2019. He was born Dec. 1, 1942, to Theodore Valfried Peterson and Bernice White Peterson in Colville, Wash.

He joined the Army in 1960, serving as a chaplain’s assistant in Indiana­polis, Ind., and Germany. In 1963 he was honorably discharged. In 1968 he graduated from Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash. He graduated from seminary at Western Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Ore., with a master of divinity degree in 1973. During seminary he assisted with Seattle Mennonite Church and was licensed during that time. He was ordained into the Mennonite Church in 1973.

While serving as a summer assistant at First Mennonite Church in Aberdeen, Idaho, he met Carol Kosanke. They were married in August 1973.

He and Carol served as pastors of nine churches over 45 years: Menno Mennonite Church, Ritzville, Wash., 1973-76; First Mennonite Church, Upland, Calif., 1976-86; Calvary Mennonite Church, Aurora, Ore., 1986-89; Hutterthal Mennonite Church, Freeman, S.D., 1989-99; Waldo Mennonite Church, Flanagan, Ill., where he merged two congregations to form Prairie View Mennonite Church, 1999-2001; First Mennonite Church, Hillsboro, Kan., 2001-03; Deer Creek (Okla.) Mennonite Church, 2003-04; Providence Mennonite Church, Newport News, Va., 2004-10; and Ivy Farms Church of the Brethren, 2010-17. On Jan. 31, 2018, he retired from full-time ministry.

With a beautiful singing voice, he loved to share his gift of music. Throughout his ministry he would do “sermons in song,” often accompanied by his daughter Elizabeth. He was an avid reader and collected about 3,000 books. He loved reading Bible commentaries.

Survivors include his wife, Carol; two daughters, Elizabeth (Jeff) Trayner of Tracy, Calif., and Angenette Hatheway of Conroe, Texas; a sister, Beverly Leinweber of Willingboro, N.J.; a brother, Larry Peterson of Long Beach, Calif.; and two grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Barbara Pazer; and two brothers-in-law, Ken Leinweber and Harry Pazer.
Memorial services were held at Williamsburg Mennonite Church. Contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.



Burkholder, John Richard "J.R."

John Richard (J.R.) Burkholder, 91, of Goshen, Ind., died Dec. 20, 2019, at the Gables of Greencroft Healthcare. He was born Dec. 19, 1928, to Clarence and Blanche (Herr) Burkholder in Lancaster, Pa.

In 1952 he married Susan Elizabeth Herr.

He attended Eastern Mennonite College (now University) in Harrisonburg, Va., and Goshen College, graduating in 1952. In 1955 he completed a bachelor of divinity degree at Goshen Biblical Seminary (now Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) and later earned a doctorate from Harvard University.

He was baptized as a teenager at Mellinger’s Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa. He was ordained to the ministry in the Men­nonite Church in 1954. After short terms as a missionary in Brazil and pastoral ministry in Pennsylvania, he taught 22 years at Goshen College and then taught at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, the Latin American Biblical Seminary in Costa Rica and the University of South Africa. His teaching fields included social ethics, peace and conflict studies, church history and theology. He led study groups to Central America and Ireland. 

He served as director of the Dallas Peace Center, a board member of Christian Peacemaker Teams and as a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation National Council. He and Sue were involved with many other local and national peace and justice initiatives, including weekly community peace vigils in downtown Goshen.

In 2010, a collection of some of his works was published as Prophetic Peacemaking: Selected Writings of J.R.Burkholder.
He was an active participant and contributor to the mid- to late-20th-century movement in Mennonite peace theology, from nonparticipation in war to active witness for peace and justice.

Survivors include his wife, Susan; five children, Kelli (John) King, Lissa (Alex Baró), Samuel (Christine Wirkkala), Rebecca (Blaine Derstine) and Peter (Shannen Hill); a brother, Charles; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 25 at Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen. Memorial contributions may be made to the Clarence and Blanche Burkholder Scholarship Fund at Goshen College or Mennonite Central Committee.

Mennonite World Review - January 27, 2020 - 98th Year, No. 2 - p. 15



Lehrman, Charles Henry

Charles “Chuck” Henry Lehrman, 92, died suddenly Jan. 5, 2020, at his beloved church, Buhl (Idaho) Methodist Church. He was born Sept. 8, 1927, to Henry and Theresa Wiebe Lehrman in Aberdeen.

He graduated from high school in Aberdeen and began at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., in January 1945. There he met the love of his life, Lois Warkentin of Lehigh, Kan. They were married Nov. 9, 1947, in the college chapel.

After moving back to Aberdeen and joining his father in the family grocery business for a few years, he decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. They moved in 1952 to Fort Collins, Colo., where he completed his bachelor’s degree and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Colorado State University. They moved to Rupert, Idaho, where he practiced in a veterinary partnership at Mimeo Veterinary Clinic until 1967. He moved to Buhl to begin practice with the Buhl Animal Clinic. In 1977 he became a federal veterinarian with the Animal Health Administration, working until his retirement in 1994 as the area manager for federal meat inspection in the Magic Valley.
After retirement from full-time work, he drove a school bus in Buhl for 15 years, positively impacting the lives of many children in the community. He was a member of the College of Southern Idaho board of trustees from 1974 to 2010, serving as vice chair. He sang in the Magichords Barbershop Chorus for at least 45 years and in his church choir. He was an active member of Rupert and Buhl Methodist churches, served in church leadership and taught adult Sunday school for more than 40 years. He was active in Rotary for 60 years.

Survivors include his wife of 72 years, Lois of Buhl; four children, Doug (Pam) of Vancouver, Wash., Kristine (Wade) Miller of Filer, Jeff of Boise and Lisa (Mike) Woods of Boise; a sister, Esther Rinner of North Newton, Kan.; seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.


Kauffman, J. Fred

J. Fred Kauffman, 71, of Philadelphia, Pa., died from a heart attack Dec. 10, 2019. He was born March 16, 1948, to Earnest and Lois Kauffman in Nebraska.

He grew up on a 20-acre farm in rural Beemer and attended Beemer Mennonite Church, where his father was a preaching deacon. In 1965 he attended Hesston (Kan.) College and served with Mennonite Voluntary Service in Puerto Rico, where he discovered a deep love for languages and cross-cultural work. Then he graduated from Goshen (Ind.) College with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, and where he met his wife, Minh. They were married in 1973.

In 1976, he and Minh went to work with Mennonite Central Committee in Guatemala in a post-earthquake housing program for two years, in India in post-cyclone village reconstruction (1978-81), in Cambodia in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge revolution (1981-85) and in Thailand serving postwar Vietnam (1989-94).

He and his family moved to Philadelphia in 1994, where he served as pastor at West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship for 11 years. He enjoyed learning about the context, languages and cultures of the Bible and participating in Philadelphia Interfaith Action.

He resigned from the pastorate in 2005 and began to serve as Philadelphia program coordinator for MCC East Coast. He also gave much time to the Kingdom Builders Anabaptist Network of Greater Philadelphia and Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence. In 2014, he became interim pastor of Methacton Mennonite Church in Norristown for two years. After retirement he was a vital part of Crossroads Community Center in Philadelphia, where he served on the board.
He found joy in woodworking, baking bread and watching his beloved Phillies. His faith was the driving force in his life, connecting him to people from every corner of the globe.

Survivors include his wife, Minh; his sons, Timothy and Tony; a brother, Don; daughter-in-law Nadia; and sister-in-law Judith.
He was preceded in death by his brother Dennis.

Memorial services were held at White Rock Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. Memorial donations may be made to Crossroads Community Center, Philadelphia.


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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