Mennonite World Review - March 2019
Obituaries are emailed to MennObits before MWR is printed. Wording may vary in printed version.
Mennonite World Review - March 4, 2019 - 97th Year, No. 5 - p. 15
Arthur Busenitz, 91, of Whitewater, Kan., died Feb. 5, 2019, at Wheat State Manor. He was born Aug. 11, 1927, to John A. and Justine (Wiebe) Busenitz in Newton.
He grew up on the family farm southeast of Elbing. He attended six weeks of German Bible school every spring and completed two years of high school at Hesston Academy.
He accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior as a 12-year-old and became a lifelong member of Emmaus Mennonite Church, where he served on the church board and as a Sunday school teacher.
Farming was his passion. In 1952, he served in alternative service in the 1-W program at Grace Children’s Home in Henderson, Neb., for two years. He then returned to farming south of Whitewater.
He married Carolyn Claassen on June 10, 1954.
Serving with Gideons International brought opportunities to attend conventions as a family, and as a couple they served in numerous offices. Once he went to the Philippines to hand out Bibles with 25 other men. Carolyn and he went with Operation Mobilization to Holland and Germany to help with the rebuilding of Logos II, a mission ship. He was a generous giver to missions and an encourager of missionaries around the world.
Pastimes included listening to opera and classical music, reading Christian biographies and singing. He loved singing with the Emmaus Men’s Chorus and the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Carolyn; seven children, Jerome (Mary Anne) Busenitz of Southhaven, Miss., Steve (Julie) Krahn of Derby, Cathy (Chuck) DeForest of Florence, Dwight (Diane) Busenitz of Whitewater, Susan (David) Carp of Wichita, Jeanette (Todd) Marcy of Holdrege, Neb., and Tom Busenitz of Benton; 22 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a daughter, Marcia Krahn; and all 10 siblings, John, Herman, Justina, Willie, Albert, Edgar, Margaret, Hedwig, Ben and Elizabeth.
Funeral services were held at Emmaus Mennonite Church. Memorials may be given to Gideons International and Wheat State Manor.
Ortman, Arlan Wayne
Arlan Wayne Ortman, 84, of Freeman, S.D., died Jan. 26, 2019, at Oakview Terrace. He was born Aug. 9, 1934, to William J. and Anna (Goering) Ortman near Marion.
He attended Freeman Academy and Freeman Junior College and graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., in 1958. As a conscientious objector, he served his country through alternative service at Kingsview Homes in Reedley, Calif., from 1954 to 1956.
On Aug. 18, 1954, he married Ellen Marie Graber at Salem Mennonite Church of rural Freeman.
They established their home on the farm in Turner County, where he resided until he moved to Oakview Terrace on Dec. 21, 2018.
He taught industrial arts at Freeman Academy and Freeman Junior College for six years prior to farming full time. In addition to agriculture, he had interests in construction, electrical wiring, mechanics and woodworking.
On Sept. 24, 1950, he was baptized at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church of rural Freeman. He remained a faithful member all his life, serving as a Sunday school teacher and deacon.
He was active on boards in the broader community, including Mennonite Aid Society and Mutual Aid eXchange, Freeman Junior College, Tieszen Memorial Home and Mennonite Central Committee Central States. He and Ellen did volunteer work with MCC, Mennonite Disaster Service, Service Opportunities for Older People and Habitat for Humanity. He enjoyed history, genealogy, reading and traveling. He will be especially remembered for his deep love for and devotion to his family.
Survivors include his wife, Ellen; two sons, Stan (Gwen) Ortman and William (Sherilyn) Ortman; two daughters, Shella (Duane) Franz and Marnette (Todd) Hofer; two brothers, Marlo (Mavis) and Orville (Janelle) Ortman, with whom he farmed for many years; a brother-in-law, Gene Kaufman; 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Virginia.
A celebration of life service was held Feb. 10. Memorial gifts may be designated for Freeman Academy and MCC.
Thomas, Robert Paul
Robert Paul Thomas, 87, of Stratton, Neb., died Feb. 5, 2019, at Sarah Ann Hester Memorial Home in Benkelman. He born April 16, 1931, to Levi Thomas and Maggie (Sala) Thomas at Hollsopple, Pa.
He grew up in a Mennonite community with his parents and four sisters. His first language was German. He had dreams of going west as he watched Westerns on TV. His plans were put on hold when his father died in 1951, leaving his mother and three younger sisters without a provider. He stayed, helping the family for another 10 years.
He then left to start his own life in Denver in 1961 and worked as a carpenter for 11 years. His plans to move to Montana changed when he met Norma Brown on a blind date. They married Jan. 29, 1971.
His focus then shifted to building a home on Norma’s parents’ farm northwest of Stratton. It took five years to complete. He designed and built most of the home himself. He then enjoyed working the land and raising cattle.
He was a member of United Methodist Church of Stratton. He sang and played guitar with Paul Erdman’s Country Band and most recently with the Old Time Pickers. He sang in a barbershop choral group in McCook. He was an avid reader, and his favorite author was Louis L’Amour.
Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Norma Thomas of Stratton; stepdaughter Rita Crose of Benkelman; stepson Mike (Teresa) Brown of Stratton; sisters Norma Thomas of Davidsville, Pa., Arlene Moser of Hollsopple, Pa., Bernadine (Ed) Alderfer of Hamilton, Ohio, and Rhoda Dillon of Alexandria, Va.; nine step-grandchildren and 11 step-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by brothers-in-law Paul Thomas, Clayton Moser and Jim Dillon.
Funeral services were held at United Methodist Church of Stratton. Burial was in Rose Hill Cemetery of Stratton. Memorial gifts may be given to the Sarah Ann Hester Memorial Home of Benkelman.
Mennonite World Review - March 18, 2019 - 97th Year, No. 6 - p. 15
Preheim, Norma Jean Voran
Norma Jean (Voran) Preheim, 87, of North Newton, Kan., died Feb. 3, 2019, at Kidron Bethel Village. She was born Jan. 18, 1932, to Paul J and Hulda (Graber) Voran in Pretty Prairie.
She attended Bethel College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in music and met the fellow music student who would become her husband and partner. On June 26, 1955, she married Marles Preheim.
Family and music were at the center of her life. These were always in focus even as experiences took the couple to numerous locations, including Nebraska, South Dakota, Ohio, Indiana and Kansas. Nurture and hospitality defined her home life as mother, wife and friend. Relationship, encouragement, musicality and attention to detail defined her teaching style.
Her public school teaching career began in Buhler, continued in Cincinnati, Ohio, and culminated in 16 years as an elementary school music teacher at Sunset, Cooper and Northridge schools in Newton. She led church children’s choirs, taught piano students, mentored college student teachers and in 1990 fulfilled a dream in founding and directing the Newton Community Children’s Choir. She brought the joy of music to countless children, emphasizing the communal aspects of creating music together and sharing it with others. The effects of her nurture and teaching will continue to be felt and passed on by all who knew her.
Survivors include her husband, Marles; three children, Kay (Bradley) Siebert, Terri (Greg) Gaeddert and Brian (Cynthia) Preheim; a brother, Myron (Mildred) Voran; a sister, Florine Eitzen; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions are suggested to The Newton Community Children’s Choir (Norma Preheim Endowment), Bethel College Mennonite Church, or Kidron Bethel Village. A memorial service will be held at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton.
Yost, Burton G.
Burton G. Yost, 90, of Bluffton, Ohio, died Jan. 7, 2019, at Mennonite Memorial Home. He was born March 5, 1928, to William F. and Alice (Gross) Yost in Lansdale, Pa.
On Aug. 21, 1949, he married Elnore Rosenberger in Quakertown, Pa.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Bluffton College in 1949, a master of divinity from Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago in 1953 and a master’s and doctorate from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
He was ordained as a Mennonite pastor in 1953 at Upper Milford Mennonite Church, where he pastored from 1953 to 1961. In 1957 he suffered a serious automobile accident, from which it took four years to fully recover. In 1961, he and Elnore and their children moved to Bluffton for a teaching assignment at Bluffton College. They moved to Nashville in 1963, where he continued graduate studies at Vanderbilt University and served as outreach pastor at an inner-city Methodist church. In 1966 he returned to Bluffton and taught in the religion department for 27 years.
Sabbatical leaves included teaching at Taiwan Theological College in Taipei, 1975-76; Union Biblical Seminary, Yavatmal, India, in 1981; and two trips to Korea teaching at Yonsei University and contacting Mennonite Central Committee vocational school graduates to establish a Mennonite ministry in Korea. He participated in an archaeological dig in Israel in 1978.
After retiring from Bluffton in 1993, he taught courses at the Institute for Learning in Retirement. He was a member of First Mennonite Church, serving as interim pastor from January 1994 to May 1995 and as a Sunday school teacher for many years.
Survivors include his wife, Elnore; three children, Elizabeth (Ross) Sheldrake of Calgary, Alta., Anita (Tim) Reimer of Wichita, Kan., and Peter (Deborah Proffitt) Yost of Stillwater, Minn.; a daughter-in-law, Susan (Wimmers) Yost of San Jose, Calif.; a sister, Marion Whitermore of Souderton, Pa.; five grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his eldest son, Philip, in 2014.
Memorial contributions may be made to Bluffton University or First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, Deacons Benevolent Fund.
Goering, Verna M. Kaufman
Verna M. (Kaufman) Goering, 103, of Moundridge, Kan., died March 3, 2019, at Pine Village Nursing Home. She was born Nov. 9, 1915, to Joe P. and Maria (Flickner) Kaufman on a farm near Galva.
They attended Eden Mennonite Church in rural Moundridge, where she was baptized at age 16. She graduated from Bethel College in 1937 with a bachlor’s degree in music. A scholarship to Sherwood Music Conservatory took her to Chicago for a year, where she earned a master’s degree in piano. She then taught piano and music theory at Bethel.
She married Erwin C. Goering on Aug. 23, 1940, at Eden Mennonite Church.
They settled in North Newton, where both were employed at Bethel College. During World War II, he registered as a conscientious objector and through Mennonite Central Committee was director of Civilian Public Service camps in Nebraska and California, with her serving as camp matron. After the war they returned to Bethel. In 1957-59 they lived in Germany, where they served with MCC in postwar reconstruction. Then they lived in North Newton until he was appointed director of development at Bloomington (Ill.) Mennonite Hospital. When that project was completed, she moved with him to development projects at a Cleveland hospital, at Settlement Institutions of Appalachia headquarters, Knoxville, Tenn., and to Freeman (S.D.) Junior College. At each location she served as church organist, taught piano lessons and volunteered at local hospitals.
Upon retirement in 1978, they returned to North Newton. When his health began to fail, they moved in 1991 to Pine Village. After he died in 1995, she was a resident until her death.
Survivors include two daughters, Mary Jo (Doyle) Preheim of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and LaDeen (Rodney) Frey of North Newton; a brother, Roland Kaufman of Moundridge; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Erwin; five sisters and two brothers.
Memorial services were held at Eden Mennonite Church. Memorials may be made to Bethel College for the Erwin C. & Verna Kaufman Goering Music Award Fund, MCC, Christian Peacemaker Teams or Pine Village.