Mennonite World Review - June 2020
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Mennonite World Review - June 1, 2020 - 98th Year, No. 11 - p. 15
Nickel, Edna Marie Schroeder
Edna Marie (Schroeder) Nickel, 95, of Mountain Lake, Minn., died May 14, 2020, at the Good Samaritan Society in Mountain Lake. She was born Aug. 26, 1924, to David H. and Helena (Peters) Schroeder in Carson Township, Cottonwood County.
She graduated as salutatorian from Mountain Lake High School in 1943. She was baptized upon her confession of faith at Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, on May 24, 1942, where she remained a member until her death. On Sept. 6, 1945, she married John W. Nickel at Bethel Mennonite Church.
They made their home and farmed together on the Nickel family farm until moving into their new home in Mountain Lake in 1984. After John’s death in May 2008, she moved to Parkwood Place in September 2008 and later to Good Samaritan Facilities in Mountain Lake in February 2011.
She served her Lord by being active in teaching Sunday school, Worship and Sew Society and supported many projects in her church and other ministries with her time and finances. She was Bethel Mennonite Church secretary for 15 years. She enjoyed embroidery, crossword puzzles, baking, bus tours, visiting family and friends and taking part in events with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Survivors include three children, Dorothy Nickel (Richard) Friesen of Newton, Kan., Daryl Nickel of Golden, Colo., and Audrey Nickel (Michael) Bjerum of Romeoville, Ill.; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John; two sisters, Louise Balzer and Pauline Balzer; and two brothers, Menno and Robert Schroeder.
Graveside services were held at Mountain Lake Cemetery. Memorials may be given for Good Samaritan, Mountain Lake; Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake; Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind.; and Swan Lake Christian Camp, Viborg, S.D.
Mennonite World Review - June 15, 2020 - 98th Year, No. 12 - p. 15
Rinner, Esther Pearl Lehrman
Esther Pearl (Lehrman) Rinner, 97, of North Newton, Kan., died May 30, 2020. She was born Sept. 10, 1922, to Henry H. and Theresa (Wiebe) Lehrman in Aberdeen, Idaho.
She was baptized and joined First Mennonite Church of Aberdeen. She attended Bethel College in North Newton and was granted a teaching certificate in 1942. She then taught at a one-room school east of Newton for one year and for two years in the elementary school in American Falls, Idaho. She then returned to Bethel College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1947.
For two summers and then for one year in the 1940s, she was an attendant in a state mental hospital in Ypsilanti, Mich. Then she served a year and a half in Puerto Rico under Mennonite Central Committee, working with children in a community center.
On June 30, 1949, she married Andrew James (Jim) Rinner of Wayland, Iowa, a Civilian Public Service worker she had met while serving in Ypsilanti. His career as a nursing student and then nursing instructor took them to Chicago, North Newton, Hutchinson, Denver, and since 1960 in Newton. They spent their last years at Kidron Bethel Retirement Center in North Newton.
Jim preceded her in death on April 27, 2004.
She was a substitute teacher in Hutchinson and a secretary for the Western District Conference office and the development office at Bethel College. Most of her working years were as administrative assistant for the executive secretary of the General Conference Mennonite Commission on Home Ministries in Newton.
She volunteered as a Sunday school and vacation Bible school teacher, congregational and church council secretary at Bethel College Mennonite Church; teacher in Newton’s Released Time Bible School; docent at Warkentin House; treasurer for Newton Church Women United; member of a Harvey County Extension Homemakers unit; PTA president at Washington School; 4-H Club leader; Bethel Deaconess Hospital auxiliary; at Newton Medical Center gift shop and the Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel College.
The family traveled many places, including across the western United States and several times to Europe. She and Jim also traveled to the Soviet Union, Israel and Canada. She loved classical music, doing handwork and making scrapbooks.
Survivors include two daughters, Jeanette Grantstein of Wichita and Amy (Marc) Waddell of Abbotsford, B.C.; a sister-in-law, Lois Lehrman of Buhl, Idaho; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband of almost 55 years, Jim; sisters Ruby Lehrman and Elva Brucks; brother Charles Lehrman; and son-in-law Steve Grantstein.
Memorials may be designated for Bethel College Rinner Nursing Scholarship Fund, Bethel College Mennonite Church or Western District Mennonite Conference. A memorial service will be held at Bethel College Mennonite Church at a future date to be determined.
Mennonite World Review - June 29, 2020 - 98th Year, No. 13 - p. 5
Friesen, Jacob T.
Jacob T. Friesen, 100, of North Newton, Kan., died June 6, 2020, at Kidron Bethel Village. He was born Dec. 30, 1919, to Jacob L. and Helena Toews Friesen in Mountain Lake, Minn.
He was baptized in 1938 at Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake.
He graduated from Bethel College in 1944 with a major in history. He earned a bachelor of theology degree from New York Biblical Seminary and a master of theology degree from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. He held student pastorates at Reedley, Calif., Halstead, Fredonia, and First Mennonite, Beatrice, Neb.
He married Lisbeth Koehn of Meno, Okla., on Sept. 2, 1945.
They both enrolled in New York Biblical Seminary. After graduation they moved to Beatrice, Neb., to pastor First Mennonite Church. In 1953-54 they served with Mennonite Central Committee in West Germany. From 1956 to 1967 he was pastor of First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, Ohio. He was director of admissions at Bluffton College, 1967-69. Lisbeth died from cancer Jan. 20, 1971.
He served on the General Conference Mennonite Church Board of Education and Publication for 15 years, as vice president of the General Conference for six years and as Central District Conference pastor for six years. He established the office of Ministerial Leadership Services of GCMC and served as director for 10 years. In retirement he served interim pastorates in Kansas at Grace Hill Mennonite Church of Whitewater, First Mennonite of Hillsboro and Hesston Mennonite. He gave leadership for 10 years to the Great Plains Seminary Education Program. He developed and directed a public forum, the Growing Edge, focused on difficult and controversial public and church-related issues.
In 1972, he married Lola Regier Wiebe. After living in Elkhart, Ind., they moved to North Newton in 1976, where they united with Faith Mennonite Church.
In retirement he owned and trained horses, kept bees, managed rental property and enjoyed travel and gardening.
Survivors include children Priscilla Friesen Felton and Rob Felton of Washington, D.C., Jacob L. Friesen and Armen Guzelimian of Camarillo, Calif., Von Friesen and Christy Neece Friesen of Athens, Ga., Ruth Wiebe-Tanner and Roland Tanner of Mesa, Ariz., Mark and Kathy Lyndaker Wiebe of Oklahoma City, Okla., Mary Wiebe Patten and Mike Patten of Whitestown, Ind., and Lois Wiebe Koulouris and Tom Koulouris of Hollywood, Fla.; three grandchildren; 10 step-grandchildren; 12 step-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Lola, on Nov. 21, 2019; two sisters, Eveline and Rosella; and two brothers, Arno and Elmer.
A memorial service will be held July 26 at Faith Mennonite Church, Newton, and will be streamed online. Memorial gifts may be made to the Jacob T. and Lola Friesen Memorial Fund for the Vision Impaired at Kidron Bethel.