Mennonite World Review - July 2020

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

Diener, Carrie Yoder ; . . Gingrich, J. Lloyd ; . . Heinrichs, Roger Allen Henry ; . . Longenecker, Daniel M ; . . Penner, Bruno A. ; . . Ratzlaff, Richard ; . . Richer, Florence Arlene Byler ; . .

Mennonite World Review - July 13, 2020 - 98th Year, No. 14 - p. 15



Penner, Bruno A.

Bruno A. Penner, 91, of Mountain Lake, Minn., died April 10, 2020. He was born May 30, 1928, to Abraham J. and Helen (Wiebe) Penner in Mountain Lake.

He received the Lord as his Savior at age 13 in Mountain Lake. Later in his teens, he committed his life to full-time Christian service while at Medicine Lake Bible Camp.

He married Julia Smucker on June 6, 1953, at the Mennonite church in Orrville, Ohio.

To prepare for ministry or mission service, he attended seminaries in New York City and Chicago for four years, and medical school in Philadelphia for three years. Prior to beginning pastoral ministry, he served in Mennonite summer voluntary service in a Los Angeles suburb, among Native Americans at Arizona Hopi Land, and among migrants in northern New York state. He was ordained into the ministry May 24, 1959, at Bethel Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake. Over a period of 40 years he was the pastor for five Mennonite churches in Glendive, Mont., Meadows, IIl., Mountain Lake, Fortuna, Mo., and Newport, Wash.

He considered it a privilege to participate in the wedding ceremonies of each of his five children. In his spare time he liked to play basketball and go fishing, and attend the sporting events and music programs of his children.

Survivors include his wife, Julia Penner; five children, Carolyn (Kevin) Randall of Huntsville, Texas, Timothy (Carolyn) Penner of Goshen, Ind., Sharon (Perry) Harder of Mountain Lake, Mary (Steve) Cheslik of Harrisonville, Mo., and Dan (Cheryl) Penner of Blair, Neb.; sisters Anita Penner of Deer River and Talita Asplund of Shakopee; 21 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Sigfried Penner and Hellmut Penner; and great-granddaughter June Randall.
A private burial has taken place at Mountain Lake Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be given to Gideons International or Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission.



Diener, Carrie Yoder

Carrie Diener, 103, of Goshen, Ind., died June 27, 2020, at Greencroft’s Evergreen Place. She was born Feb. 26, 1917, to Mary L. (Wingard) and Henry H. Yoder.

After her mother and father died, she was nurtured by her siblings and stepmother, Celestia (Bontrager) Yoder.
She was married to Daniel Diener for 62 years.

She was an active member of Prairie Street Mennonite Church, Elkhart. She and Daniel served with Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities (now Mennonite Mission Network) in Nigeria for two years and as a Community Home for Oaklawn in Goshen for 10 years. They also volunteered at Menno-Hof in Shipshewana.

She began her teaching career in one-room schools in Kansas and Indiana. After graduating from Goshen College, she taught in the Jimtown, Concord, Shipshewana and Elkhart school systems.
Her approach to life resulted from being a lifelong learner. Her reading, varied experiences and Christian commitment affected her acceptance of diversity and change. Her cooking and hospitality were especially appreciated by her many guests. She lived her love for God and others. She readily welcomed, accepted, appreciated, prayed for and assisted others.

Survivors include three children, Darrel (Leona) Diener, Karen (George) Thompson and Maribeth (Howard) Friesen, all of Goshen; eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel; a son, Herbie; and three siblings, Beulah (Glen) Yoder, LeRoy (Florence) Yoder and Katherine (Yoder) Fireoved.

A private graveside service and burial of her ashes will be at Prairie Street Cemetery, Elkhart.

Memorial donations may be given to the Daniel and Carrie Diener Family Endowment at Bethany Christian Schools, Prairie Street Mennonite Church, or Herbie Diener Memorial specified for ADEC through Elkhart County Community Foundation.



Ratzlaff, Richard

Richard Ratzlaff, 96, of South Hutchinson, Kan., died April 19, 2020, at Hospice House in Hutchinson. He was born June 9, 1923, to Anna (Graber) and Dan Ratzlaff in Pretty Prairie.

He grew up on a farm. He graduated from Castleton High School in 1941 and from Bethel College, North Newton, in 1948.

He married Velma Schwartz in 1948 at Pretty Prairie.

He completed his seminary studies at Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago in 1953. He was a pastor in Mennonite churches his entire life. He pastored at Deer Creek, Okla., Chicago, Holland, Pa., Liberal and Hutchinson. Interim pastorates included Halstead, Inman and Wichita. He and Velma spent four years as co-directors at Camp Mennoscah in Murdock. He retired in 1988 and spent 25 years enjoying country living near Lake Cheney.

He spent many years volunteering at Ten Thousand Villages-Etcetera shop in Hutchinson, being a founding member of the store’s organization. He was an active member of the Civitan International service club. His hobbies included reading, fishing, golfing, leather tooling, wood carving and photography.
In 2014 he and Velma moved to Mennonite Friendship Community in South Hutchinson, where he spent his last five enjoyable years.

Survivors include his wife, Velma; sons Tim and Tom (Donna) Ratzlaff, all of Newton; a brother, Marian (Marvella) Ratzlaff, of Moundridge; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was preceded by two brothers, Floyd and Milford (Patricia) Ratzlaff.

Memorial services will be held at a later date.

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



Heinrichs, Roger Allen Henry

Roger Allen Henry Heinrichs, 74, of Denver, Colo., died Feb. 12, 2020. He was born Aug. 22, 1945, to Abe and Virginia Heinrichs in Kingsburg, Calif.

His elementary school years were spent at Lustre, Mont. He attended high school at Meade (Kan.) Bible Academy. He then spent one year at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan.
He did 1-W alternative service at St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver, where he met Gail Alexander. They were married in 1968 at Garden Park Mennonite Brethren Church in Denver.

They made Denver their home. He spent 20 years working at Royal Crest Dairy and 18 years with the United States Postal Service.
He was a charter member of Peace Mennonite Community Church of Aurora. He attended there 33 years.

Survivors include his wife, Gail Heinrichs, of Denver; a daughter, Amanda of Aurora; a son, Jeremy of Elizabeth; three brothers, Ralph (Kathy) of Wichita, Kan., Jack (Janet) of Emporia, Kan., and Phillip (Debbie) of Beaverton, Ore.; a sister, Cindy (Scott) Cordell of McPherson, Kan.; a brother-in-law, Robert Carter of Ulysses, Kan.; and three grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Robert; and a sister, Roseann Carter.

Memorial services were held at Peace Mennonite Community Church, Aurora. Burial was in Gnadenau Cemetery, rural Hillsboro.



Gingrich, J. Lloyd

J. Lloyd Gingrich, 95, of Evendale, Pa., died April 11, 2020. He was born May 24, 1924, to John W. and Margaret (Knouse) Gingrich on the family farm in Evendale. He was the fourth generation of the Gingrich family to live his life on the family farm.

He was a 1942 graduate of Fayette High School and was self-employed as a farmer. On June 22, 1947, he married Orpha Wert, and they worked side by side on their farm.

He was a member of Lauvers Mennonite Church, where he worked with the summer Bible school program and taught Sunday school. He served for more than 30 years on the Eastern Mennonite Missions board. He served on the school board of the Delaware (now Juniata) Mennonite School and was a charter member of the local Juniata Mennonite Historical Society and the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.

He will be remembered for his faithful service to and love for God, the church and his family; his good sense of humor and interest and involvement in history. His well-known and respected presence in his home community and the Mennonite community will be missed.

Survivors include his wife of 72 years, Orpha Gingrich; seven children, Margaret (Tim)?Varner of McAlisterville, John M. (Rosanne) Gingrich of Richfield, David (Phyllis) Gingrich of Thompsontown, Dale (Gladys) Gingrich of Richfield, Barbara Gingrich of Richfield, Paul (Debra)?Gingrich of Dillsburg and Marie (Kirk) Vredevelt of Alto, Mich.; 20 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a brother in infancy, Harold Ging­rich; and a sister and brother-in-law, Ruth Gingrich (Richard) Moyer.

Private graveside services and burial were held at Lauvers Mennonite Cemetery, Evendale. Public memorial services will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Juniata Mennonite Historical Society, Richfield.



Richer, Florence Arlene Byler

Florence Arlene (Byler) Richer, 80, of Upland, Calif., died May 1, 2020. She was born March 3, 1940, to David J. and Sadie A. (Peachey) Byler in Belleville, Pa.

She graduated from Belleville Mennonite School, then moved to Virginia to enroll at Eastern Mennonite College. She married Roger Lane Richer in 1961. They moved to Upland in 1964, where they spent most of their 58 years of marriage.

She will be remembered as a devoted friend and advocate to many, from women in prison and the children of the incarcerated to the members of the six congregations where Roger served as pastor. She was licensed for pastoral ministry in Rocky Mountain Mennonite Conference and for prison ministry in Pacific Southwest District of the Church of the Brethren. She did her graduate studies in psychology and had a counseling practice. Her career culminated as director of a hospitality center for the families of inmates in the California penal system and a leader of the “Get on the Bus” visitation program that connects children living in Southern California with their incarcerated parents on Mother’s and Father’s Day each year. She volunteered at Crossroads halfway houses, reorienting former inmates to life outside.

She impacted thousands of people as a sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, counselor, mentor and friend. She was able to cross boundaries of age, race and class due to her keen interest in people and her eagerness to make friends. She was an avid reader. She loved writing and receiving letters and cards and made countless calls to encourage others. She visited the beach often with her husband and their family, finding renewal in the rhythm of the waves and the beauty of God’s creation. She loved singing, participated in a women’s trio and many quartets, and cherished choral music.

Survivors include her husband, Roger; two sons, Jerrell and his wife, Jane Ross, and Darren and his wife, Augusta Valdivia; two sisters, Bertha Peachey and Lois Peachey; three brothers, Raymond J. Byler, David A. Byler and Leonard Byler; and five grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by a son, Randall; and siblings Ella Mae Byler, Verna Yoder, Martha Zook, Ruth Kauffman and Jesse Byler.

Donations may be made to the Get on the Bus program at the Center for Restorative Justice Works, Montebello, or Two-Way Mission work of son Jerrell and his family in the Ecuadorian rain forest with Mennonite Mission Network.



Longenecker, Daniel M.

Daniel M. Longenecker, 86, of Lititz, Pa., died July 2, 2020, at Landis Homes. He was born to Phares and Emma (Miller) Longenecker of Middletown.

He was a lifelong minister in the Mennonite church, a loving father and devoted husband of Catherine (Sensenig) Martin, whom he married on May 11, 1957.

He served as a 1-W alternative service worker at a Cheverly, Md., hospital in 1958, was ordained in 1961 by Lancaster Mennonite Conference and completed seminary in 1970. He began his ministry as a pastor in Harrisburg at Hamilton Street Mennonite Church from 1958 to 1967, then pastored Lebanon (Ore.) Mennonite Church, 1970-73; and Line Lexington Mennonite Church, 1973-78. In mid-career, he served as a field representative with Mennonite Mutual Aid (now Everence) and launched a chaplain program at Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital, Riverside, N.J.

He was delighted to have Catherine join him in the final portion of his career, serving 10 years as co-chaplains at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Harrisonburg, with a highlight being her ordination in 1991 by Virginia Mennonite Conference. Additional shared ministry included interim co-pastor assignments in Kansas and Georgia, along with bringing the Bible to life for all ages through biblical storytelling. He was a founder of the Shenandoah Valley Biblical Storytellers and regularly led workshops at the National Organization of Biblical Storytellers.

Survivors include his wife, Catherine, of Landis Homes; two daughters, Dawn (Jim Rice) Longenecker of Mount Rainier, Md., and Christine (Richard Shoup) Longenecker of Lancaster, Pa.; two sons, Fred (Jewel Gingerich) Longenecker of South Bend, Ind., and Steve of Lancaster, Pa.; two sisters, Helen (Sam) Lapp of Lansdale, Pa., and Emma (J. Mark) Frederick of Harrisonburg, Va.; two brothers, Edward (Rhoda) of Landis Homes and William (Rodi) of Morson, Ont., a sister-in-law, Miriam Longenecker of Landis Homes; four grandchildren and a great-grandson.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Martin Longenecker; a sister, Alice L. Good; and Alice’s husband, Claude Good.

Memorial services will be held Aug. 23 on Zoom. A request for an invitation should be sent to [email protected] Memorial contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.

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