Archive | Obituaries

Wilbur E. Goertz, ’64

Posted on 01 July 2015 by editor

Wilbur E. Goertz ’64, age 93, died June 21, 2015, in Hesston, Kansas. He was married to Berniece Stucky who preceded him in death. He is survived by his children, Bonnie, John, Ruth and Daniel; nine grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; sisters, Marieanna Siemens and Loretta Zehr; and brother, Ronald. 

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Ella Reddig Berg, ’54

Posted on 02 June 2015 by editor

Ella Reddig Berg ’54 passed away January 29, 2015, at age 84 in Hillsboro, Kansas.  She was born to Karl and Bertha (Funk) Reddig in Luster, Montana. Survivors include: husband, Elton Berg of Hillsboro; sons, Steven (Sandra) of Wichita, Samuel (Lisa) of Ozark, Missouri, David of Yale, South Dakota; daughter, Deborah (Todd) Reynolds of Woodinville, Washington; 14 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

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Willie C. “Bill” Wiebe, ’54

Posted on 15 May 2015 by editor

bill-wiebe515Willie (Bill) C. Wiebe, 89, of Elbing, Kansas, son of Anna (Epp) and Herman A. Wiebe, died May 12, 2015, in Newton, Kansas.

He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Arlene (Dietz) Wiebe; his daughter, Nancy Holliday and her husband, Patrick; grandchildren Nicole Holliday, Rebecca Holliday, and Abigail Holliday; his daughter-in-law, Arleta Wiebe; and grandchildren, Andrea Wiebe, Stephanie Tester, Warren Wiebe. He also leaves two siblings, Gladys Wiebe and Richard Wiebe, along with his wife, Margaret. He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Dorothy (Dottie) Landis Wiebe, his son, Kevin Wiebe, his parents, and six siblings.

Born on February 20, 1926, he was raised on a farm east of Whitewater, Kansas. His early years were spent working on the farm and attending a country school as well as German school.

World War II interrupted his education and he served in alternate military service. When he was 23, he finally graduated from high school in Hesston, Kansas. He then attended Grace University in Omaha, where he met his sweetheart, Dottie Landis. They were married on August 15, 1952, in Newton, Kansas. They lived on a farm in rural Furley for a few years, where daughter, Nancy, and son, Kevin, were born. They then moved to Winona Lake, Indiana.

In the late 1950s, the family moved to rural Peabody, Kansas, where Willie started farming. He enjoyed carpentry and built the house that they lived in. Bill became active in the Gideons and also filled in as pastor in a small church in Wichita.

In 1982, Bill and Dottie, took a step of faith and Bill became the pastor of a small church in Homestead, Oklahoma. He felt that he had truly found God’s calling for his life. He loved preaching the Word of God and ministering to the small but vibrant congregation. After serving for 16 years, they retired to Elbing, Kansas, to live next door to his son Kevin and his family.

During his retirement, Bill continued to serve the Emmaus Church for another 10 years as an associate pastor, and later as visitation pastor. He visited countless people in hospitals and in their homes and always ministered to their spiritual needs.

Dottie went to meet the Lord in 1997, and Bill adjusted. He knew of Arlene Dietz in Pennsylvania because Dottie had been friends with the Dietz girls. After corresponding for a few months, they discussed marriage and were wed on November 25, 2000. Arlene became indispensable to Bill in this ministry as she also went on visits to the ill and home bound. Bill always said that she kept the conversation going when he ran out of words to say.

Bill Wiebe’s passion was for God’s Word. His insights from the pulpit or in Sunday School were uniquely purposeful, and sometimes, of necessity, pointed. Many people learned from his teaching and preaching. His passion was so great that even in his last hours, he found strength to pray for his wife, his children, his grandchildren, and even his country.

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Richard Wesley Enns, ’48

Posted on 29 April 2015 by editor

richard_wesleyRichard Wesley Enns, age 85, died Saturday, April 25, 2015. He was born and raised on a farm near Meade, KS, the son of Abraham J. and Susie (Warkentine) Enns on February 6, 1930. Richard taught in the Wichita School District for over 30 years, retiring in 1992. In retirement he taught his beloved classical guitar and other stringed instruments to students of all ages. Richard was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Ruth (Watkins) Enns; 4 brothers; and 3 sisters. Survivors include: two sisters, Ruby, Meade, KS, and Jane (John) Thielenhaus, Norton, OH; children, Eric, Topeka, KS, Erin, Wichita; and two grandchildren, Megan and Paul, both of Wichita.

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Ruby Ruth Fast, ’55

Posted on 29 April 2015 by editor

ruby_fastRuby Fast was born Ruby Ruth Warkentin on March 29, 1922, in the plains of western Kansas.

At home with her parents Henry and Sarah and three siblings, she grew up speaking Plautdietsch (Low German), the language of her forebears who came from the Molotschna colony in Ukraine. English was her second language, acquired in a one-room country school.

On the farm, hardships were plenty. She endured the massive dust storms of the 1930s that could turn day as dark as night. She witnessed total ruin of her dad’s ripe wheat fields by violent hail, and she experienced a close encounter with a tornado. In winter, she layered up blankets in the cold of a drafty upstairs bedroom where a little powder snow could even drift onto the covers. Chores included wandering far out over unfenced pasture land to find and bring in the cattle.

After completing high school in the town of Meade, she enrolled at Tabor College where she earned credentials as a school teacher.

From 1945 to 1949, back in Meade County, she taught in a few different schools, again with all the grades in a single room. Teaching Vacation Bible School in the Ozarks and then further studies at the Rio Grande Bible Institute, including Spanish, led to her teaching Vacation Bible School in Monclova, Mexico.

While teaching in Mexico, a German student from Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, came through town on a road trip to see the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators farther south. Her acquaintance with Gerhard Fast was meant to be, and a match for life was made. Ruby now took on the challenge of learning High German.

With a mutual vision to be a couple in missionary work, Ruby went off to California to study at the Biola School of Missionary Medicine, where she earned nursing credentials.

In 1956 Gerhard and Ruby were married. After studies at Norman Summer Institute of Linguistics and survival training at Jungle Camp, they crossed the Atlantic by ship to Germany to meet the in-laws.

In 1958 Gerhard and Ruby arrived in Peru to begin a rich, 38-year chapter of their lives. There they learned the Achuar language, into which they translated the New Testament and many portions of the Old.

Ruby spent the strength of her years backing up Gerhard in the long, meticulous process of Bible translation. She typed and re-typed text on a mechanical typewriter in the day before computer editing. She composed primers for the newly created Achuar schools, literally cutting with scissors and pasting with glue the layout that would go to the printers.

For years, she was the only recourse on the river for medical help. She treated the ever-present intestinal parasites. There was a gunshot wound that led to tetanus and a rare survival. She treated pemphigus, snake bite, sting ray wound, leishmaniasis, tuberculosis and other maladies. She boiled her needles and glass syringes and occasionally re-sharpened the tip of a needle on a rock.

Ruby and Gerhard prayed for the sick and commended them to God. Still, many patients returned later to trusted witch doctors. More was at stake than just the physical body. In the end, many were healed, and many were healed in body and soul. The Achuar Church today can testify to those years when the good seed was planted in their hearts.

Through good times and bad, Ruby lovingly raised her three children, Pablo, Danny and Monika. When appropriate, she applied discipline, but she also wisely allowed ample freedom. Her gift of hospitality and her wonderful cooking leave great memories and inspire emulation.

In 1996 Ruby and Gerhard left Peru and moved to Waxhaw, North Carolina, where they spent eight years on Radin Road in walking distance from the JAARS center.

From there, they moved four miles to live with their daughter Monika and her family. After Gerhard passed away in 2007 Ruby remained in the loving care of her daughter and son Danny, until God took her Home to be with Him where for so many years she had longed to go.

Ruby is lovingly remembered by her son Pablo with his wife Colleen and daughter Natasha; her son Danny; her daughter Monika with her husband Daniel and daughters Katja, Juliana, and Annelie; her sister Viola Friesen with her husband, Jake Z. Friesen; and her brother Albert Warkentin.

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Peter Peters, ’51

Posted on 29 April 2015 by editor

Peters PetePete was born on a farm approximately 10 miles northwest of Aberdeen, Saskatchewan, on January 21, 1921, and passed away on March 13, 2015, at Kelowna General Hospital. 

His childhood and youth were spent on another farm two miles west of town. His elementary schooling was taken in a four room school in Aberdeen. Here too, was his home church where he made a commitment to the Lord, was baptized and joined the Aberdeen Mennonite Church.

After serving in the Medical Corps during WWII, he took his high school in Saskatoon, then went on to Grace Bible Institute (now Grace University) in Omaha, Nebraska. This is where he met his wife, Delores Schoenwald. After hearing her name announced in a class roll call, he felt he needed to meet the girl with this intriguing name. She became his life-long love. They married mid-way through Pete’s years at Grace, and David was born in the summer following his Graduation.

The next three years Dad taught at Swift Current Bible Institute during the winter, while the summers were spent in Delores’s hometown, Glendive, Montana. Milton and Dorothy were born in Swift Current during Dad’s tenure there. From there they moved to Portland, Oregon, where Dad was a representative for the Leprosy Mission and worked in a beam laminating plant. The next move was to Sweet Home, Oregon, where Dad pastored a church for six years. James, Sharon and Ruth were born here while they enjoyed living in the beautiful Willamette Valley. 

In the summer of 1963, Dad took a pastorate at the Salem church in Waldheim, Saskatchewan. In 1969 he began an eight-year season of pastoral service in Rhineland, Saskatchewan. In 1978, while serving a church in Morris, Manitoba, Pete suffered a heart attack, which precipitated his retirement from pastoral ministry. The Peters moved to Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, where he enjoyed serving as maintenance man and gardener at the Dalmeny Care Home until age 65, when he became their part-time chaplain. While in Dalmeny, the Peters attended the Dalmeny Bible Church, where Dad served on the Missions Committee and the Elders Board and taught Sunday School for many years.

They moved to Kelowna, British Columbia, in 2009 where they enjoyed their final years in the Village at Mill Creek. Pete took on a new role as Delores’s caregiver until her death in July of 2012. 

Pete was predeceased by his loving wife Delores, his parents, Jacob and Helena (Buhler) Peters, sister and brother-in-law Margaret and John Boschman, sister and brother-in-law Annie and Barney Thiessen, and brothers Jim (Bertha), John (Elizabeth), Bill, Abe (Tena), Dan and Art; sister and brother-in-law Betty and Johnny Thiessen, two infant brothers and one infant sister. 

Dad is survived by his children, Dave and Tena, Milt and Kathy, Dorothy and Ed Rempel, James and Debbi, Sharon Bodner, Ruth, 22 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren.

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Nancy Safford, ’59

Posted on 22 April 2015 by editor

nancy_saffordNancy Safford, 76, of Winterset, Iowa, died April 19. Nancy Jane Quiring, the daughter of Peter and Annie (Ratzloff) Quiring, was born March 27, 1939, in Mt. Lake, Minn.She graduated from high school in Warsaw, In. in 1956 and went on to attend college at Grace Bible Institute receiving a Bible Diploma. She also attended the University of Nebraska.  Her marriage to John W. Safford took place on August 29, 1959, in Mt. Lake, Minn., and to this union four children were born. Nancy worked at the Nebraska American Legion State Headquarters and for many years she provided daycare out of her home. 

She and John moved their family to Winterset in the summer of 1968 and were active in the community for many years. She was a member of Grace Baptist Church where she was involved with many activities and groups throughout the years and she was also a member of Winterset Music Club.  She will long be remembered for her many years of arranging and planning children’s musicals for Christmas and Easter as well as her puppet ministries which touched the hearts of many.Nancy loved to decorate and was always willing and eager to learn a new craft.  She enjoyed flower gardening and was very proud of ‘her’ flowers.  Nancy loved nature and enjoyed bird watching as well as camping where she could enjoy the beauty of nature and sit by the lake.  All this said, she was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who loved nothing more than spending time with her family.  More than anything, she and John loved Jesus their Savior and their most treasured Bible verse was Proverbs 3:5-6. 

She is survived by her best friend, husband and sweetheart of 56 years, John Safford, Sr., of Winterset; her four children, Geoff (Deb) Safford of Indianola, Jodi (Gary) Wabshaw of Winterset, John Jr. (Becky) Safford of Des Moines and Jay (Joan) Safford of Wadena, Minn.; and 16 grandchildren.

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Erma June (Rempel) Prieb, ’50

Posted on 07 April 2015 by editor

erma_priebErma June (Rempel) Prieb, 89, passed away April 3, 2015, in Inman, Kansas. She was born July 12, 1925, in Jefferson County, Neb. the daughter of Henry G. and Helena Dalke Rempel. She was a member of the Zoar Mennonite Brethren Church of Inman where she had played the piano for many years. On June 27, 1954, she married Eldo Prieb at Jansen, Neb. Her survivors include her husband Eldo of Inman, 3 sons, Mike (Beth) of Buhler, Conrad (Rita) of Buhler, Steve (Ruth) of Topeka, 8 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild, 1 brother, Ken (Jenny) Rempel of Plymouth, Neb. She was preceded in death by 2 brothers, George and Richard. 

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Reva Jean (Snook) Hitt, ’48

Posted on 07 April 2015 by editor

reva_hittReva Jean (Snook) Hitt was born Nov. 4, 1926 to Lewis Wesley and Elizabeth Ellen (Barron) Snook in rural Derby, Iowa. She was the tenth of eleven children. She attended country school at High Prairie as well as Derby High School, graduating in 1943. She attended Ellsworth Junior College in Iowa Falls, then returned to the Derby area and taught school for one year at High Prairie. At age 18 she went to New York City and worked as a nanny for three months. From 1946 to 1948 she went to Grace Bible Institute, Omaha, Nebraska. On June 29, 1947, she was united in marriage to her “high school sweetheart”, Noel “Duane” Hitt at First Baptist Church in Chariton, Iowa. In 1948 they returned to Iowa and started farming with Duane’s father. Reva and Duane were blessed with nine children and she faithfully cared for them.

Although Reva was raised in church and lived a good life and even tried to serve the Lord, in 1962 she realized that she had to make a personal commitment to Christ and it was then she received Him as her personal Savior. She always had a deep love for people and her God and readily shared her faith in Christ with everyone. She attended Smyrna Friends Church. Reva loved to garden, bake, write poetry, teach Sunday School, visit on the phone and serve people food when they stopped by for a visit. She also enjoyed a variety of animals through the years. Reva dearly loved her grandchildren and rarely missed an opportunity to send a birthday card.

She leaves to mourn her passing, 9 children: David (Kathy) Hitt of Woodburn, Iowa, Steve (Kathy) Hitt of Weldon, Iowa, Jim Hitt of Woodburn, Iowa, Beth (Joe) Stearns of Lacona, Iowa, Sheryl Powders, Carol (Dan) Jelsma of Osceola, Iowa, Carolyn (Tim) Stroup of Leon, Iowa, Beverly (Norman) Skinner of Osceola, Iowa, Walter (Monica) Hitt of Derby, Iowa; twenty-eight grandchildren, LeaAnn (Larry) Kirscher, Kristi (James) Shelton, Jeff Hitt, Marty (Bobbi) Hitt, Nick (Stephanie) Hitt, Jasan (Suzanne) Hitt, Tom Hitt, Revae Hitt, Joey (Abi) Stearns, Michelle (Bob) Anderson, Rachel (Mark) Costello, Rebekah (Kelsey) Jacob, Tim (Krisdyn) Stearns, Earnie Stearns, Peter Stearns, Adam (Traci) Crabb, Jeremiah Crabb, Angela (Fred) Rothfus, Travis (Heather) Jelsma, Amy Jelsma, Merry Stroup, J.J. Stroup, Jessica Jones, Jim (Sarah) Skinner, Anne (Jerry) Yonker, John Skinner, Braden Hitt and Brooke Hitt; 38 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild. She is also survived by one brother Don (Katherine) Snook of Westport, Conn; one sister-in-law, Marilyn Watts of Chariton, Iowa and many nieces, nephews and a multitude of friends.

Reva was preceded in death by her parents; Duane, her husband of sixty-seven years; her parents in-law, Walter and Mary Hitt; son-in-law, Ronald Ray Powders; brothers, Laurel (Mildred) Snook, Arden (Maple) Snook, Dean (Francis) Snook and Ivan (Katherine) Snook; sisters, Louise (Clay) Hickie, Letha (Ed) Jones, Faye (Leo) Thompson, Opal (Lewis) Ryan, infant sister, Marilyn Snook and brother-in-law Bob Watts. Memorials may be made to Missionary Flights International, Ft. Pierce, Florida.

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Leslie C. “Les” Larson, ’77

Posted on 24 March 2015 by editor

Lleslie_larsoneslie C. “Les” Larson, age 79, of Council Bluffs, passed away March 19, 2015.

He was born in Council Bluffs on May 11, 1935 to the late David and Helen Larson. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1953. He attended Grace College of the Bible (now Grace University) in Omaha, Neb., and in 1977 he graduated with a pastoral certificate.

Life is not measured by the years that you live but the lifetime you lived and the impact you made in people’s lives. Dad was a farm boy. He grew up with simple things in life. He was born when working hard and valuing what you had was a given.

He owned and operated Auto Glass Service from 1956-2000. He was Pastor of Pierson Christian Church from 2000-2006 and Pastor of Troy Mills Christian Church from 2000-2006. He had served as the Chair of the Open Door Mission in Omaha for 12 years, State Vice President and National Director; state Membership Chair for the Jaycees. He was the past president and board member for the Asphalt Pavement for Christian Business. He had been a member of Kiwanis, Elks and was a tyler in the Masons. He’d been a member of the Shriner’s in position of Patrol and they were ranked National Champions for 5 consecutive years. He was also designated as the youngest President of the Executives Association.

Dad left his legacy in his wife and his children. He left us with his commitment to his marriage of 61 years, to living a life that was true to his God. He left us with morals and values in work and home to pass to our children and his grandchildren. He taught us to work hard and give all that you have to whatever you do, never give up, be proud of what you accomplish and value what you have. He taught us that money doesn’t buy happiness and family is your greatest gift. That children are a gift not given. Never give up on yourself or your children. Find peace and happiness within yourself, but most of all to love your God for he will be your comfort, companion and salvation from this life to eternity. He shared that with everyone. I know there is a beginning and a middle and then a new beginning, but never an ending if you believe. I know dad you are just beginning your new life and are with my children, grandchildren, friends and the rest of your family and we will see you in an instant. But, the one thing he always said and would want all to know, “When I leave this earth I will be at peace and I want you to have peace.” He made sure mom was ready as she could be and he left peacefully surrounded by his family.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Joanne Jensen; brother, Larry Larson; father-in-law, Frank Spring; sons-in-law, Darrell “Lee” Goss and Ron Sailors; granddaughters, Brandy, Breanna and Alivia Lippert; grandson, Justin Lippert; great grandsons, AJ Dewayne Lippert and Sawyer Lippert.

He is survived by his wife and love of his life, Peggy Larson; daughters, Chris Goss and Verne Welch, Terri and Bruce Lippert, Penny and Roy Chism, all of Council Bluffs; sons, Randy and Cheryl Larson, of Council Bluffs, Tracy and Denise Larson, of Florida; sisters, Judy Larson and Janice Burbridge, of Council Bluffs; 97 year old mother-in-law, Dorothy Spring; 39 grandchildren and 37 great grandchildren.

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