Archive | Obituaries


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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Bathke, Warren

Dr. Warren Edwin Bathke, former Grace University President

Posted on 19 March 2015 by editor

Bathke, WarrenDr. Warren Edwin Bathke has always had “big vision”.  During the decades of ministry and various entrepreneurial moves, Dr. Bathke built a great legacy.  He had achieved great things because of his underlying dedication to long-term goals and visions for his life.

Warren was born in 1927 in Waseca, Minnesota.  As he grew, he believed that Waseca was “the center of the universe!”  He was ‘left for dead’ at birth because his mother was very ill.  His father pleaded with the doctor to “do something” to save the baby.  His father prayed that if his baby was spared, he would dedicate Warren to God’s service.  And so, by the grace of God, the doctor attended to him and both his mother and Warren were spared.  Both Dr. Bathke’s father and brother died at a young age, leaving him to care for the farm, his mother, and seven sisters.  It was that foundation that motivated his work-ethic and original dreams.  

He went on to college, without any world possessions, and met the love-of-his life, Gladys Ramsland.  They were married and began their lifetime of ministry together.   Dr. Bathke’s family has grown.  He is survived by one sister, Hazel Bathke from New Mexico,  two children-Brian Bathke and his wife Margaret and Ann Standley and her husband Harry; four grandchildren-Megan, Tyler, Evan and Veronica and each of their spouses; eight great-grandchildren; and one granddog, who is Brian and Margaret’s fur baby-Nemo.  Dr. Bathke was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Gladys Bathke, one brother and six sisters.    

Dr. Bathke spent 20 years in the church and 20 years in education.  A majority of his time in education was spent at Calvary Bible College, in Kansas City, Missouri.  He served as their Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1977 and later as the Interim President for 7 years upon his retirement.  He also spent 9 years at Grace College of the Bible, in Omaha Nebraska, as the President. 

During the time that Dr. Bathke was in the educational settings, Warren and Gladys also bought and managed several residential apartment complexes and commercial properties.  Consequently, they moved into the first apartment complex they bought, so they could effectively learn to manage and maintain the building along the way.  They did everything themselves: Gladys cleaned the apartments when tenants moved out and kept records; Warren, with the help of his son, Brian, took care of all maintenance needs and renovations.  

It was during his work within the property setting, that Bathkes’ dream, of facilitating a community for “the greatest generation”, took root.  Decades later, their dream came to fruition through, The Meadows.  

Warren’s hobbies and activities have included: hunting, fishing, and instructing Dale Carnage courses.  Three words that well described Warren were: positive, enthusiastic, and hard-working.  This is evident by the advice he gives of, “never give up”, as well as his personal motto, “make it happen”.  

Dr. Bathke has touched so many lives in so many ways. He was a blessing to those around him with his unconditional love, sweet and gentle nature.  Who knows how many tens of thousands of lives he has affected, and will affect, by making a difference in the lives of many and those, in turn, going out and affecting others?  He has created a strong legacy that will carry on long after his physical presence is gone.

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Gilbert P. Busenitz, ’62

Posted on 10 March 2015 by editor

Gilbert Paul Busenitz, 75, of Madison passed away on March 2, 2015, at his home.

Gil was born to the late William L. And Emma Wiebe Busenitz in Newton, Kansas, on August 17, 1939. Gil graduated from high school at Berean Academy in Elbing, Kansas, in 1957.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Grace Bible Institute in 1962. He married Frances Louise Stucky on July 20, 1962. Together, they served with RHMA for 16 years in Washington, Illinois, and Arizona.

In 1978, they moved to Madison to work with Source of Light Ministries, where he served until his death.  They attended Trinity Baptist Church in Madison. He enjoyed gardening, yardwork, and woodworking.

Gil is survived by his wife of 52 years, Fran Busenitz; a daughter, Janice (John) Connelly of Sierra Leone, Africa; sons, Paul (Stacy) Busenitz of Watkinsville, Pete (Suz) Busenitz of Bostwick, Phil (Tori) Busenitz of Centreville, VA; brothers, William (Grace) Busenitz, Arnold (Velma) Busenitz, and David (Isabelle) Busenitz; sisters, Helen Busenitz, Emma (Arlowe) Becker, Chris Busenitz, and Kady (Jan) Schubert; 12 grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a sister, Theresa Ortmann, and brothers Robert Busenitz and Herbert Busenitz.

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Hildegard M. Goossen, ’52

Posted on 09 March 2015 by editor

Hildegard M. Goossen, age 87, of Rhinelander, passed away on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at home surrounded by family. She was born on March 1, 1928, in Newton, Kansas, the daughter of John and Marie (nee Harder) Epp, Jr. Hildegard taught children’s Sunday School in many churches and taught Bible School in the Black Hills. She enjoyed playing the piano and organ, while singing along. Hildegard was involved in the Women’s Missionary Society and would write many letters to the missionaries. She was a devoted wife to Paul Goossen, whom she married on June 27, 1952, in Whitewater, Kansas. Hildegard was an active member at Faith Evangelical Free Church in Woodruff. She is survived by her loving husband, Paul; son, Dwight Paul Goossen; daughters, Mary Lynelle Fohner (Grace University Class of 1978), Sara (Walker) Scholten, Lois Eulalia Lowry and Marilyn (Molly) Kay Roman; brothers, Albert H., John E. and Melvin D.; sister, Phebe Ann Cressman; 14 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents and sisters, Frieda Elnora Epp, Martha Epp and Justina Helen Martin.

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Doris B. Ewert, ’46

Posted on 09 March 2015 by editor

Doris B. Ewert passed away in Omaha on February 25, 2015, at the age of  86. She was preceded in death by husband, Rev. Leonard B. Ewert; brother, Wilber Pekrul; sister, LaVonne Young; son-in-law, Danko Paziak. Survived by children and spouses, Stan and Karen Ewert of Bailey, CO, Reg and Linda Ewert of Omaha, Kathy Paziak of Omaha; grandchildren, Lisa (Bryce), Christopher (Carla), Sara (Igor), Melissa (Jacob), Doug (Katie), Lauren (Dylan); 8 great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.

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Martha M. Harmon, ’58

Posted on 30 January 2015 by editor

Martha M. Harmon, who began her education at Grace University in 1953, died on January 24, 2015 in Council Buffs, Iowa. She is survived by her husband, Charles W.; children, Richard C. and friend Mary Dishman, and Carolyn Cahill (James); grandchildren, William R.F. Harmon (Amanda), Melissa Montgomery (Christopher), and Catlin Cahill; 5 great grandchildren; siblings, Ruth Roth (Lynn), and Heinrich Ortmann; brother-in-law, Walter Busenitz; sister-in-law, Kathleen Gray (Lee); and many family and friends. Martha worked for Mutual of Omaha, State of Nebraska, and UNMC. Following her retirement, she worked for the Stephen Center, and volunteered at General Dodge House and Lauritzen Gardens. Martha was very active with Charles in the Mayflower Society.

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Walter Kleinsasser, ’54

Posted on 20 January 2015 by editor

Walter Kleinsasser, Grace University class of 1954,  died January 15, 2015, at the age of 92, at Salem Home in Hillsboro, Kansas.  He was born November 9, 1922, to John and Katharina (Glanzer) Kleinsasser at Carpenter, South Dakota.  He married Esther Mendel May 23, 1946, at Yale, South Dakota.  Survivors include: son, Joe (Michelle) Kleinsasser of Hillsboro; daughter, Faith (Ron) Klaassen of Newark, New Jersey; 3 grandchilden, Ryan and Nathan Kleinsasser of Hillsboro, Jonathan Klaassen of Newark, New Jersey; brother, Harold Kleinsasser of Reedley, California; sister, Edna Espenson of Windom, Minnesota.

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Lois J. Voran, ’49

Posted on 17 December 2014 by editor

Lois June (Geiger) Voran, second child of Monroe and Anna Geiger, was born on June 23, 1926, on a farm near Pandora, Ohio. She attended Pandora public school and graduated in 1944. Upon her confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, she was baptized at St. John Mennonite Church, Pandora. In 1949 she graduated from Grace Bible Institute, Omaha, NE.

She married Peter Voran on August 5, 1949. Following two years of ministry at the Hopefield Mennonite Church in Moundridge, KS, they went to Japan as missionaries with the Commission on Overseas Missions of the General Conference Mennonite Church. They served 30 years with that work. They served at the First Mennonite Church in Pretty Prairie for 6 years and also had several interim pastorates since their retirement (for the Hillsboro paper add: including Hillsboro First Mennonite Church). They have resided at Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton, Kansas since July 1991. Lois and Peter were members of the Shalom Mennonite Church.

Lois peacefully passed into the presence of the Lord, Monday, December 15, 2014 with her family at her side.

Surviving are her husband, Peter W. Voran, of North Newton, children Dave (Linda), Leawood, KS, Debra Graber (Allen), Newton, KS, Dan (Darryl), Bow, Washington, grandchildren Brandon Voran, Kansas City MO, Joshua Graber (Staci), Fayetteville, Ark, Jill Utecht (Adam), Hillsboro, KS, Mandy Graber, Wichita, KS, Nichole Voran, Pittsburg, PA, Chelsea Funk, Pittsburgh, PA, seven great-grandchildren, Hannah, Sophia and Claire Utecht, Emeri and Elijah Graber, AJ and Natty Prinkey. Also surviving are two brothers, Wallace Geiger (Wanda) and Mahlon Geiger (Anne) of Pandora, OH, brother-and sister-in-law, Bill and Betty Engle, Pineville, MO and a number of nieces and nephews.

Her parents of Pandora, Ohio, one son, Douglas, Youngwood, PA, parents-in-law, Carl and Martha Voran, Pretty Prairie, KS, sisters Treva Geiger, Bluffton, Ohio, Wava (Harry) Wiens, Mt. Lake, MN, in-laws Mildred Austermiller (John), Topeka, KS, Helen Mitchell (Doc), Hutchinson, KS Mary Hayes (Lee), Castleton, KS preceded her in death.

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