Mennonite World Review - September 2014

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

Brunner, Paul Derstine ; . . Hostetler, James Clifford ; . . Koch, Martha H. ; . . Ruth, Corinna Siebert ; . . Schmidt, Jeannette J. Wiens ; . . Shelly, Viola Rose Lehman ; . .

Mennonite World Review - September 1, 2014 - 92nd Year, No. 18 - p. 15


Ruth, Corinna Siebert

Corinna Siebert Ruth, 84, of Reedley, Calif., died July 24, 2014. She was born July 7, 1930, to Cornelius and Freda Siebert on a farm near Henderson, Neb.

She was baptized May 25, 1947, and was received into Bethesda Mennonite Church in Henderson. She transferred her membership to First Mennonite Church in Reedley in 1952.

She attended Bethel College in North Newton, Kan. There she met Paul Ruth. While he completed his senior year, she taught kindergarten to eighth grade for one year in a one-room schoolhouse near Henderson. They were married Oct. 15, 1950. After Paul’s 1-W service they moved to Reedley. She returned to school at Reedley College and then Fresno State University. Graduating in 1973, she started her teaching career in fourth grade at Monson-Sultana School. She earned a master’s degree in English from Fresno State University in 1979. She taught in Sultana, was a special education teacher for Fresno County, taught at Grant Junior High School in Reedley and then taught English at Reedley High School, where she chaired the English department. She was instrumental in starting the annual Creative Writing Festival at Reedley High School. She retired in 1995 and taught English part time at Reedley College.
At First Mennonite Church in Reedley she sang in the choir, edited the church newspaper for several years and edited the 100th anniversary book. In 2012 she published a novel, The Tread of Pioneers, which traces her ancestors’ immigration to America and their life in Nebraska. She and Paul traveled to all 50 states, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean, China and 12 times to Europe.

Survivors include her husband, Paul; a daughter, Paula Cowdrey and her husband, Tim; a daughter-in-law, Alisa Ruth; a brother, Merle Siebert; and four grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her two sons, Doug Ruth and Bryan Ruth; and siblings Eugene Siebert, Leola Wiens and Rudy Siebert.


Hostetler, James Clifford

James Clifford Hostetler, 82, died Aug. 15, 2014, in a Richmond, Va., hospital. He was born Nov. 18, 1931, to Oscar Bryan and Della (Schmucker) Hostetler in Louisville, Ohio.

He was a resident of Richmond for more than 50 years. After graduation from Goshen (Ind.) College in 1953, he went to Seoul, Korea, in 1954, to fulfill 1-W requirements, serving under Mennonite Central Committee. He continued service in Korea for Christian Children’s Fund until 1967, when he returned to the Richmond headquarters of that organization. After retirement in 1994, he turned his attention to genealogy, especially of his Amish Mennonite ancestors and their descendants. At his death he had compiled a database of half a million Amish and Mennonite interrelated people that appears on the Swiss Anabaptist Genealogy Association website.

Survivors include two sisters, Mary K. Mann and Lela F. Russell, both of Carmel, Ind.; a close friend, Demetrio Jaime Corte of Richmond; a niece and three nephews.

Memorial services were held at Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond.

Mennonite World Review - September 15, 2014 - 92nd Year, No. 19 - p. 15


Koch, Martha H.

Martha H. Koch, 92, died Aug. 25, 2014, at Greencroft Healthcare, Goshen, Ind. She was born Oct. 5, 1921, to Menno and Lovina (Bauman) Horst in St. Jacobs, Ont.

On Aug. 8, 1942, she married Roy S. Koch in St. Jacobs. He preceded her in death on June 12, 2010.

She was the loving foundation for her husband and family. Caring for them brought her much joy. She befriended and ministered to many, opening her home to students and others who needed a place to live. She shared her husband's church ministry and was a sought-after public speaker. They ministered in St. Jacobs, Ont., for 21 years, West Liberty, Ohio, for 13 years and came to Goshen in 1970, where she was a member of East Goshen Mennonite Church. Her love for the Lord was evident in how she lived. Her jobs included secretarial work, child care, food service at Goshen College and retail work at Provident Bookstore. She volunteered at the Goshen Hospital for 26 years.

Survivors include three daughters, Arlene Holdeman and her husband, Ken, of Bloomington, Minn., Jane Oyer and her husband, Stan, of Middlebury, and Sheila Graber and her husband, Millard, of Goshen; three sons, Robert Koch and his wife, Linda, of Colorado Springs, Colo., Richard Koch and his wife, Rhonda, of St. Joseph, Mich., and Rodney Koch of Beaverton, Ore.; three sisters, Mary Shantz of Cambridge, Ont., Barbara Horst and Emma Brubacher, both of St. Jacobs, Ont.; a brother, Mel Horst of St. Jacobs, Ont.; 18 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Joyce Graber; three brothers, David, Elam and Amon Horst; and two sisters, Lena Frey and Verna Waters.
Funeral services were held at East Goshen Mennonite Church. Burial was in Violett Cemetery in Goshen.

Mennonite World Review - September 29, 2014 - 92nd Year, No. 20 - p. 17


Brunner, Paul Derstine

Paul Derstine Brunner, 89, of Hesston, Kan., died Sept. 14, 2014, at Schowalter Villa. He was born July 24, 1925, to Edgar and Anna Brunner in Blooming Glen, Pa.

He moved with his parents at a young age to the Souderton, Pa., area. After high school he went to Goshen (Ind.) College until World War II. During the war he was in Civilian Public Service camp in Glacier National Park in Montana, where he was a fire spotter. At the end of the war he helped with the European reclamation and sailed twice to Poland on ships carrying horses.

After he returned home he completed his bachelor's degree in Bible at Goshen College. After a few years of delivering milk for Hoffman's Dairy, his doctor asked if he had ever thought of being a minister. This challenge helped him discern his life's work. He went to Goshen Biblical Seminary, where he received his bachelor of theology degree. While at seminary he met Grace Derstine, and they were married after his first year.

After graduation he did a one-year interim job at Christopher Dock High School in Souderton, where he taught music and directed the choir. After this he was called to pastor Wooster (Ohio) Mennonite Church, where he was ordained. Over the years God called Paul and Grace to pastor at Zion Mennonite Church in Hubbard, Ore., Whitestone Mennonite Church in Hesston and Beech Mennonite Church in Louisville, Ohio. It was their desire to close their ministry doing interim pastoring. Those interims led them to Zurich (Ont.) Mennonite Church, directing the Pastoral Ministry Program at Hesston College, Trinity Mennonite Church in Hillsboro, Trinity Mennonite Church in Phoenix, Ariz., Tabor Mennonite Church in rural Goessel and Blooming Glen (Pa.) Mennonite Church.

Survivors include his wife, Grace; a daughter, Beverly Ann Goertzen and her husband, Nelson; a son, Jon Scott Brunner and his wife, Chauneci; two brothers, David Brunner and his wife, JoAnn, and Donald Brunner and his wife, Carolyn; five grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Services were held at Hesston Mennonite Church. Inurnment was in East Lawn Cemetery, rural Hesston.


Schmidt, Jeannette J. Wiens

Jeannette J. Schmidt, 87, died Sept. 19, 2014, at Morning View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, South Bend, Ind. She was born March 11, 1927, to Peter D. and Joycie (Schultz) Wiens in Cordell, Okla.

On Sept. 14, 1946, she married Paul Schmidt in Bessie, Okla. He preceded her in death on Nov. 24, 1997, in Newton, Kan.

She was a 1945 graduate of Cordell High School, a former member of the Newton Extension Homemakers Club and Church Women United. She taught youth Sunday school classes for many years as a member of First Mennonite Church of Newton, Kan., and was currently a member of Waterford Mennonite Church in Goshen. She retired as an administrative assistant for Women in Mission of the General Conference Mennonite Church in Newton after 30 years of service.

Survivors include two sons, Vyron Schmidt and his wife, Elvina, of Goshen, and Dennis G. Schmidt and his wife, Dianne, of Pandora, Ohio; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul; and a sister, Vivian Baergen.
Her body will be cremated and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Gardens West in Newton.


Shelly, Viola Rose Lehman

Viola Rose (Lehman) Shelly, 97, died Sept. 20, 2014, at Schowalter Villa in Hesston, Kan. She was born Nov. 13, 1916, to William and Caroline (Flueckiger) Lehman of Berne, Ind.

She grew up on the family farm near Berne, attended Goshen (Ind.) College and taught elementary school at Geneva, Ind., for several years. She spent several summers in church-related volunteer work in places like Gulfport, Miss., Washington, D.C., and Colombia. During her time of teaching she met Andrew R. Shelly, who was soliciting gifts for Mennonite Biblical Seminary. She married him on June 28, 1952, at First Mennonite Church, Berne.

They made their first home together at Chicago, where she was a substitute elementary school teacher until giving birth to their two children. After six years in Chicago, the family moved to Elkhart, Ind., with the seminary, then a year later to Newton.

She was active in children's ministries, serving as a Sunday school teacher and in other roles with young children; as a teacher and superintendent for Newton's Released Time Bible School, and as superintendent of vacation Bible school at First Mennonite Church. She collaborated with Andrew in a section of a book titled How to Live Well and Give Liberally, illustrating ideas of stewardship that were a hallmark of her values.

When Andrew took on pastor­ates at other Kansas churches - Hopefield Mennonite of Moundridge and Emmaus Mennonite of Whitewater - she took on roles in children's ministries and accompanied him on thousands of visits to members and nursing homes. In Andrew's later years he became a paraplegic and then bedfast after an automobile accident, and she lovingly cared for him for almost 10 years until his death in 2001.

Survivors include two children, David of Wichita and Linda of Newton.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Andrew; four brothers, Willis, Carl, Dennis and Weldon Lehman; and two sisters, Mary Ann Lehman and Louise Stamm.

Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery, Newton. Memorial services were held at First Mennonite Church, Newton.

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.
May not be mass-produced in any form for commercial purposes.