Archive | Obituaries

Gilbert Reiland, ’56

Posted on 14 April 2014 by vunruh

Gilbert “Gibby” Reiland passed away in his sleep at the age of 86 on April 7.  He was born in Mantador, ND on June 6, 1927.  From 1945-1948 he served in the Merchant Marines. He then worked for Union Pacific Railroad where he met his wife, Elizabeth Sayler. They were married June 4, 1950 and that union lasted nearly 62 years until Elizabeth’s death January 8, 2012.
Soon after they were married he felt led to become a pastor and moved to Omaha, NE to begin his schooling at Grace Bible Institute. Through the years he served as pastor in Mondamon and Malvern, IA, First Baptist of Blair, NE, Sheridan Blvd Baptist in Lincoln, NE, First Baptist of Lemoore, CA and First Baptist of Dinuba, CA. He was always a helper of people, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
One testament of his character and integrity was when his wife was diagnosed with dementia and heart valve issues in 2004.  He took on the role of primary caregiver and never left her side. The first few years were very manageable but as time went on it became more and more difficult and the last two years were often times unbearable to watch. He never turned his back on her and took the anger and rage that dementia patients can so often express with love and patience. Deep inside it was taking a huge toll on his mind and soul which hastened his rapid decline after she passed, but he never quit.
A celebration of his life will be held at Koinonia Christian Fellowship in Hanford, CA Saturday, May 3rd at 1:00 p.m.

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LaVern Gillett, ’56

Posted on 13 March 2014 by vunruh

LaVern Gillett, age 76, passed away March 8, 2014. He was born on February 15, 1938 to Roland and Harriet Gillett in Crawford, NE.

Vern attended Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, NE, graduated from Chadron State College and the College of Educational Administration at University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Vern worked in computer sales for many years. He enjoyed fishing, gardening, spending time with his children and grandchildren and visiting with people.

He is survived by his wife, Eleanor; children; Blaine (Sue), Jonae Meyer (Scott), Janelle Nosal (Mike); 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Eston and Quinten; sister, Willa and father-in-law, Forrest Blauvelt.

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Marvin A. Wall, ’59

Posted on 13 March 2014 by vunruh

Marvin Wall went home to be with his Lord on March 11, 2014  in Omaha, NE. Marv accepted Christ November 6, 1949 and was baptized on his confession of faith.

After graduating from Grace Bible Institute he pastored several churches, worked with Youth for Christ and Christian Business Men Committee.  He was also active in various ministries about which he was passionate.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann; children; Marjorie (Grahame) Alison, Mark (Judy) Wall, Marlen (Kim) Wall, Marcia (Sam) Kroeker, Marcel (Michelle) Wall; 13 grandchildren; 2 great-grandchildren.


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Virgil Smith

Virgil Smith, ’52

Posted on 06 March 2014 by vunruh

Virgil Everett Smith, for 32 years a member of the music faculty at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and a nationally renowned piano technician, died Monday, September 27th,2010, at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois, at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife, Helen Marie Felbinger Smith; his two children, Elizabeth Anne Smith Brown (married to GeneThiele), and Stephen Robert Smith (married to Linda); and his four grandchildren, Samuel Edward Brown, Kristen Ruth Smith, Kathryn Elisabeth Smith and Stephen Charles Smith.

Virgil Smith was born in 1918 in Barnes City, Iowa, and spent most of school years at the Iowa School for the Blind, where he developed his love for and abilities in music, and also learned to tune pianos. He came to Chicago to attend Moody Bible Institute, and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the American Conservatory of Music. Following brief stints on the faculties at Chicago Evangelistic Institute in Chicago and Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, he was invited to join the faculty at Moody Bible Institute by Donald Hustad, the well-known gospel composer, organist and conductor.

While at Moody, Mr. Smith served as choir director at various churches in the Chicago area. It was while conducting the choir at Galilee Baptist Church at Damen and Wellington that he met his wife, Helen, who was singing alto in the choir. In later conducting jobs, Mrs. Smith at times played the piano for choirs her husband conducted. The Smiths and their children attended Galilee for many years, where Virgil taught the adult Sunday School class. In later years, Mr. Smith worshipped at The Moody Church, and then at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Warrenville.

Over the years, Virgil Smith became an increasingly prominent piano technician. For several years he tuned for the Sunday afternoon piano series at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and had the privilege of preparing pianos for masters including Arturo Rubinstein, Rudolf Serkin and Vladimir Ashkenazy. Mr. Smith was a proud and active member of the Piano Technicians Guild, eventually being inducted into the PTG Hall of Fame. Many piano technicians throughout the country spent time studying under Virgil Smith. Throughout recent years, he had greatly enjoyed helping lead a discussion in the PTG as to the value of aural whole note tuning, which he favored, as contrasted to machine-based tuning; his last letter on this topic is expected to be published posthumously.

Virgil Smith’s last years were spent with his wife at Windsor Park Manor in Carol Stream. There he performed classical piano concerts, taught Bible classes, and was a regular exerciser.

Virgil Smith firmly believed that he was part of God’s larger plan. He often noted that it was his visual disability that enabled him to be exposed to the world of music, which formed much of the basis for his rewarding life. Mr. Smith was one of the most positive and optimistic people on the face of the earth – he found joy in most of the aspects of his life. He regularly shared his faith with those whose lives he had the opportunity to touch.

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Roger Wischmeier

Roger Wischmeier ’57

Posted on 17 February 2014 by vunruh

Roger Wayne Wischmeier, college professor, organist, choirmaster, champion of congregational music and authority on the organ chorale prelude as used in worship, has died at age 78. Roger died at 4:00 a.m. on Friday, January 31, 2014. He was under the care of Kansas City Hospice & Foxwood Springs, Raymore, MO, where he had been a resident for the past 4 1/2 years.
During his lifetime, he resided in Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. Roger was born in Sioux City, Iowa to Bernie and Ellen (Zulauf) Wischmeier on August 12, 1935. He was the eldest of three sons, followed by Richard and Paul. He graduated from Wilcox High School in Nebraska. He received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and a doctorate in church music and organ performance from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.
Dr. Wischmeier’s career in music spanned more than 60 years in churches and colleges. He came to Kansas City in October of 1989. Roger was the dean of the KC chapter of American Guild of Organists in 1994-95. He was also an avid supporter of both the Carillon Guild and the Kansas City Theatre Pipe Organ Club.
Roger was married to Wilma L. Augsburger in 1958. She preceded him in death. The quality of his life was greatly deepened by her love. He is survived by daughter Barbara of Midland, TX, and son, David of Elgin, IL, two brothers, Richard and his wife Elaine of Central City, NE, and Paul and his wife Kaye of Hastings, NE, in addition to nine nieces and nephews: Eric, Brian, John and Christine Wischmeier, Ramona Busenitz, Aleda Berry, Lori Flory, Miriam Griffin, and Martha Showalter.

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Richard Tschetter ’49

Posted on 17 February 2014 by vunruh

Richard “Dick” Tschetter, 95 died January 23, 2014 at his residence. He was born to Peter P. and Carra (Dirks) Tschetter on December 17, 1918 in Canton, KS. He grew up at Bridgewater and Freeman, SD and graduated from Freeman High School. He also graduated from Grace Bible Institute (now Grace University) in Omaha, NE and from Bethel College in North Newton, KS.

While at Grace, Dick met and married Ruth Garbers. He pastored St. Paul’s Evangelical Reformed Church of Council Bluffs, IA, Herold Mennonite Church of Bessie, OK, St. John Mennonite Church, Pandora, Mt. Olivet Mennonite Church of Huron, SD and First Mennonite Church of Pretty Prairie, KS. After his retirement he served on the staff of Ebenezer Mennonite Church of Bluffton, OH.

In addition to his love for his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and his wife and family, he loved to read and study God’s Word. His personal library contained over 2, 500 volumes.

He is survived by his wife of sixty-five years, his daughter Rosalyn (Doug) Lehman of Mt. Cory; a son Russell (Mary) Tschetter of North Bend, OR; granddaughters Carra and Amanda Lehman of Portland, OR; step-grandchildren Jessica (Stuart) Smith of Bartow, FL; Bob Little of Seattle, WA; Lindsay Little of Livingston, MT; and Joey Little of North Bend, OR; step-great grandsons Dominic and Dawson of Livingston, MT; a brother Paul Tschetter of Phoenix, AZ; and a sister Caroline (Dalton) Jones of San Antonio, TX. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister Eva Ruth Tschetter Trammel.

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Gifford Cogdill

Gifford Lane Cogdill ’81

Posted on 17 February 2014 by vunruh

Jan 27, 1959 – Jan 30, 2014
Gifford Lane Cogdill passed away in his sleep at the age of 54. He was born in Sioux City, Iowa to Otis and Ada Cogdill. He lived in Dakota City, Nebraska until the age of 5, and then moved to Niobrara, Nebraska. During high school, he lived in Running Water, South Dakota and graduated from Springfield High School.
He married Amy Benson on August 8, 1981 and was married for 21 years before she passed on June 29, 2003. He was employed at West at the time of his death.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Connie Staples. Survivors include his children: son Chris of Arizona and daughter Charis of Omaha; sisters, Anita Minino (Rocky) of Omaha, Sally Hendrickson (Paul) of South Dakota, and Peggy Lopez (Al) of California; brother-in-law, Jerry Staples of South Dakota.

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Richard Voran

Richard William Voran ’73

Posted on 17 February 2014 by vunruh

Richard “Rich” William Voran, 68, went to be with the Lord on Jan. 19, 2014, near Deadhorse, Alaska. Richard was born on Sept. 4, 1945, the son of Willie and Amanda Voran in Hesston, KS. He was married to Kathleen Marie Harris on June 9, 1968.

Richard and Kathy came to Alaska and served the Lord with InterAct Ministries (formerly Arctic Missions) in 1973. He worked in maintenance at Arctic Bible Institute. Using his skills in computer programming, he also developed multiple finance management programs for various nonprofit organizations throughout the state.

Serving was his theme in life. He served on the church board and behind the scenes in many ways at Lazy Mountain Bible Church. He also served for a time as the Alaska field finance director for InterAct Ministries. After retiring from the mission, he continued to work for Cruz Construction as a heavy haul truck driver.

He enjoyed investing time in his children and grandchildren, working on projects, building furniture and toys, landscape gardening, and nature.

Richard is survived by his loving wife, Kathy Voran; children, Parrin and Sharon Voran of Fox, Alaska, Carlon and Brandey Voran of Port Alsworth, Alaska, Theron Voran of Boulder, Colo.; and six grandchildren, Keanu, Dakota, Austina, Coleson, Malea and Alianna. He also is survived by his sisters and their spouses, Joyce and Edward Dalke, Carolyn and Howard Wohlgemuth of Hesston, KS, and Betty and Alvin Smucker of Okemos, Mich. Richard was preceded in death by his parents and infant son, Shaylan.

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Chuck Nichols

Charles H. (Chuck) Nichols, ’70

Posted on 15 January 2014 by vunruh

Charles Nichols, Ph D.; Professor Emeritus, Educational Studies

For the past 30 years Chuck Nichols has been an integral part of Providence life. Professor Emeritus of Educational Studies, Dr. Charles (Chuck) Nichols died on January 14, 2014. Providence Theological Seminary and University College will miss him greatly.

Dr. Nichols was born in 1939 and grew up in New Jersey near Philadelphia. His academic career included studies at Philadelphia College of the Bible (B.S. in 1967), Wheaton College (M.A. in 1970), and the University of Nebraska (Ph.D. in 1983). It included also many years as a teacher at Grace College of the Bible in Nebraska (1970 to 1983) and at Providence (1983 to the present). Chuck retired from full-time teaching in 2009 and became Professor Emeritus. He continued teaching regular modules in the seminary program until this past October (October 2013).

Chuck was also an ordained minister in the Evangelical Free Church of America, and served as minister of youth at the First United Methodist Church in his home town, New Jersey from 1963 to 1967, and then as minister of education at the Wheaton Evangelical Free Church from 1968 to 1970. He continued his activities as an ordained minister preaching in many different venues. Chuck had a passion for missions as well—from serving as the chairman of World Team USA to spending time on the OM Ships in West Africa. He expressed this passion within his own congregation, as well in the global church.

In 1963 Chuck married Susan (Elwell), known to all as Sue, who survives him. Chuck and Sue became fully part of Steinbach life, in the church and in the community. In constant demand as a teacher and speaker at churches and Bible camps and colleges from Lithuania to Brazil, Chuck was a great ambassador for Christ, for the church, and for Providence. He had a gift for connecting with students, remembering names and people better than most.

Chuck and I carpooled for many years from Steinbach to Otterburne, as he taught his courses in Christian Education, and I in missions. He was a good partner driving back and forth, and a good man in the various arenas of his life. We remember him as a frequent participant in all forms of sports—playing football and basketball and floor hockey. He enjoyed watching college football (go Cornhuskers!), but enjoyed playing more.

It is hard to say in which place we will miss him most—the classroom, his home church, the many places in which he served (from the OM Ships to teaching abroad in various countries), the basketball court, or any other place. The truth is, we miss him in all of these, and more. Our love and prayers remain with Sue and with those closest to Chuck and Sue. God keep you and comfort you in the days ahead.

Daryl Climenhaga, D. Miss.
Associate Professor, Global Studies, Providence Theological Seminary
January 14, 2014

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Eldora Wiebe

Eldora A. Wiebe, ’66

Posted on 08 January 2014 by vunruh

Eldora Wiebe peacefully went Home to be with the Lord on December 23, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband Henry; son Lyle; infant son Mark; parents, Anna and George Janzen; brother Abe; and sisters, Helena Toews, and Anna Ruth Thesman. Survived by children, Colleen (Steve) Rouse, and Dawn (Patrick) Prusha; grandchildren, Travis, Stephen, Cassandra, Sarah, Samantha, and Dylan; brother, Louis; and many nieces and nephews.

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Tidings 2013