Archive | Obituaries


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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Susan Viola Thiessen, ’49

Posted on 12 December 2014 by editor

Susan Viola Thiessen, 92, died Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. She was born April 15, 1922, to John and Helene (Harder) Thiessen. A tornado that destroyed the family farm on June 8, 1941, left Susan paralyzed at the waist. She was a 1949graduate of Grace Bible Institute.


Survivors include: sister, Lydia Klaassen; brother, Bernard (Ruby) Thiessen; sister-in-law, Mary Ann Thimmes; brother-in-law, John Pratt; and nieces, nephews and friends.

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William P. Schroeder, ’45

William P. Schroeder, ’45

Posted on 12 December 2014 by editor

William P. Schroeder was born to Peter W. and Susie (Becker)

Schroeder on January 16, 1914 near Chinook, Montana. The family moved

from Montana to Dolton, South Dakota when Will was eight years old.


Will gave his life to the Lord at an early age.  He attended country

schools in rural South Dakota until he completed the eighth grade. Then

he worked with his family on the farm and as a hired hand for area

farmers until he moved, with his brothers, Jake and Pete, to Mountain

Lake, Minnesota, in 1935.


William and Hulda Nickel were married on May 26, 1938, at the EMB country

church near Mountain Lake. They resided near Mountain Lake for several

years where three precious children, Jule Willis, in 1939, Mavis Ann, in

1942 and Ethel Fay, in 1944, were stillborn to them.


They moved on to Omaha, Neb., where they attended Grace Bible Institute.

Two years later, they moved to Liberty, Missouri, where Will worked with

his brother, Pete, as an electrician. During that time, Judy Ann became

their daughter.


A short time was spent in Freeman, S.D.,when Will worked with his brother,

Jake, doing electrical work also. From there, they moved back to

Mountain Lake, where Will began his 25 years of employment with the Toro

Company and in 1952, Janice Wanett joined the family.


Hulda passed away on March 24, 1988, just two months prior to their 50th

wedding anniversary. Will and Margaret (Classen) Klassen were married

on January 7, 1989 at the EMB Church in Mountain Lake. They enjoyed 25

years of marriage that included spending 13 winters in Edinburg, Texas.


William will be remembered for his love of music. Coming from a musical

family, he spent many hours singing with his family and in many

quartets, men¹s choruses, choirs and the Mt. Lake Choral Society. He

also enjoyed playing the guitar and listening to Southern Gospel Quartet



Cherishing his memory are: his wife, Margaret, currently in Butterfield,

daughters Judy Fawbush (Tracy), Polson, Montana and Janice Klassen

(David), Mountain Lake; grandchildren, Jeffre Klassen, Jaime Banks

(Matthew) and  Justin (Jennifer), all of Mountain Lake; four

great-grandchildren, Abigal Dahl, Galena, Ill., Ryan Klassen, Mountain

Lake, Peyton and Jackson Banks, Mountain Lake; two sisters, Alvina

Schroeder, Butterfield and Leona Nickel, Anoka, MN; one brother, Dennis

(Margaret) Mound, Minn.; two sisters-in-law Bernice Schroeder, Goshen, In.,

and Marilyn Schroeder, Maple Grove, Minn., and many nieces and nephews.


Welcoming him to heaven are: his wife, Hulda and their three children,

Jule, Mavis and Ethel; his parents; brothers: Jacob, Peter, David,

Leander, Sylvester, Cifford and Harley; sisters:  Linda Nickel, Delphe

Derksen and Elsa Peters; brothers-in-law, Peter Nickel, Edwin Derksen,

Elvin Peters and Gerhard Nickel; sisters-in-law, Luella Schroeder,

Claudette Schroeder, Fern Schroeder Unruh and Shirley Schroeder.


Blessed be the memory of William P. Schroeder.

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Charlene Burkholder, ’65

Posted on 05 November 2014 by vunruh

Charlene Marie (Classen) Burkholder was born Aug 2, 1944. She died Oct 22, 2014. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Jared Burkholder of Hesston, KS; children: Brad Burkholder (Sally) of Hesston, KS; Tiffany Smith (Michael) of Omaha, NE; Jonathan Burkholder (Jeanna) of Seattle, WA; Candice Bradford (Jeff) of Phoenix, AZ; and nine grandchildren, Cassidy and Carson Burkholder, Thaddaeus, Elias, and Matthias Smith, Graham and Elliott Burkholder, Tyson and Taylor Bradford.

She is also survived by a sister, Yvonne Fenimore (Terry) of Urbandale, IA; sister-in-law, Dori Classen of Holdrege, NE; and many nieces and nephews.

Charlene was preceded in death by her parents, Curt & Lena Classen; her step-mother, Mary Classen; and her brother, Jerry Classen.

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Marilyn Amstutz

Marilyn Amstutz, ’09

Posted on 05 November 2014 by vunruh

Marilyn Florence (Horne) Amstutz was born February 5, 1957 to Olive and Gordon Horne in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. After graduating from Simcoe Composite School, she moved to the United States for college. It wasn’t New York City or Los Angeles that lured her away from her homeland, but the small city of Cedarville, Ohio where she felt called to attend Cedarville University. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1978 and moved back to Simcoe to teach grades 5-6 at Bethel Baptist Academy.

During this time, she became reacquainted with a friend from Cedarville, Kent Amstutz. They began dating long-distance and married in 1981, and again she moved to the states—this time to Des Moines, Iowa where Kent was in medical school. While in Des Moines, Marilyn taught Middle School English at Grandview Park Baptist School.

Kent had joined the Air Force before entering medical school, so upon his graduation they were sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for his residency. In 1983, their first child was born, Jenee Christina. 1986 brought another move—Omaha, NE—and another baby, Melissa Lynn. Shortly after, they moved to Papillion, NE, and with the Air Force being the Air Force, they moved shortly after that to Puyallup, WA.

Marilyn was able to home school the girls during their time in Washington and they all enjoyed the beautiful forests, mountains, and ocean as their classroom. Kent’s liver disease unfortunately progressed while in Washington, and while they were set to make their next move to England, instead they returned to Nebraska in order for Kent to receive care at UNMC, which housed one of the best transplant teams in the country. After Kent’s liver transplant, Marilyn and her family settled into life in Nebraska. She became a substitute teacher for Papillion-La Vista Schools until 2002.

Marilyn was gifted in many ways. She played the flute, piano, and sang; which she was able to do all over the world through her trips to Brazil (1978) all ten provinces in Canada (1980), and Australia (1977 and 2008). She delighted in serving and participating in ministry at Christ Community Church, where she wrote curriculum, taught bible studies, sponsored youth trips, and was a student leader trainer in the youth group.

Marilyn always valued education. She loved learning and she loved to teach others. She went back to school and graduated from Grace University with her Master of Arts in Biblical Studies in 2009. In 2008, she became the Dean of Women at Grace University and continued until 2013. She cultivated many long, lasting relationships with her students.

In addition to being a devoted wife and mother, she was a beloved Grammie to her grandchildren, Sam and Lucia. She was a friend to anyone who came into contact with her and she cared for all living things. Her battle with cancer was fought courageously, passionately, and with a smile until the very end.

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Martha Baerg

Martha (Classen) Baerg, ’51

Posted on 05 November 2014 by vunruh

Martha (Classen) Baerg was born on February 3, 1926 to Abe L. and Agnes (Bartel) Classen in Meade, KS. She was the oldest of 9 children. She passed into the arms of her loving Heavenly Father on September 10, 2014 at the Good Samaritan Village in Mountain Lake, MN at the age of 88.

She attended McNulty School in Meade County for her elementary education.  Martha and sister Ann both graduated from Meade Bible Academy in 1948. This was the first graduating class of MBA. Martha graduated from Grace University with her BA degree in 1951. In 1985 she earned her Master’s Degree in Human Resources and Leadership from Azusa Pacific in California.

Martha accepted the Lord as her personal savior at age 16. She was later baptized, upon the confession of her faith, by Rev. Orlando Wiebe on August 6, 1944 and joined the EMB church at Meade, KA. She transferred her membership to the Cornerstone Bible Church in Mountain Lake on April 27, 1997.

Martha’s heart was for missions and to serve others which was indicated by her spending 5 summers working for the Go Ye Mission in the Ozarks. She also served and additional year at InFaith Mission in South Dakota. She answered her call to missions and went to Japan to assist in pioneer church planting. She faithfully served in Japan from 1951-1996 as a career missionary with SEND Int’l.  Along with her sister Ann, she assisted in planting 7 churches.

On May 5, 1989 she married Henry Baerg at the Christian Academy Chapel in Higashi Kurume, Japan. They served together as missionaries with SEND Int’l for 7 1/2 years and were married for 24 years. Upon retirement, they made their home in Mountain Lake and opened their doors to many friends and students from Japan who were traveling through. Martha volunteered with hospice, at Good Samaritan Village, Elizabeth House, and was active leading Bible Study, teaching Sunday school, and attending prayer meetings.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Henry in 2013; and sisters- Lisbeth (stillborn), and Esther Ratzlaff. Martha is survived by 4 sisters- Ann Classen, Lone Tree in Meade, KS, Alma Regier of Meade, KS, Arlene (D Junior) Stoesz of Mountain Lake, and Leona (Harold) Buller of Hillsdale, OK; 2 brothers- John (Rose) Classen of Topeka, KA, and Menno (Susanna) Classen of Aurora, NE; and many nieces, nephews, and Baerg extended family.

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Dan Dalke

Dan U. Dalke, ’53

Posted on 10 October 2014 by vunruh

Former Bluffton pastor, Rev. Dan U. Dalke, 93, died in his home in Inman, Kansas on Sept. 29, 2014. He was born June 27, 1921 in Inman to John and Sara Dalke. He married Edna Franz on Jan. 22, 1943 and together they had seven children.

After graduating from Grace Bible Institute, Omaha, Neb. in 1951, he was ordained to the ministry and for 63 years conducted numerous pastoral assignments including seven years as pastor of the Swiss Church in Whitewater, Kan. and 18 years as senior pastor of Ebenezer Mennonite Church in Bluffton, Kan. The last 12 years he served as chaplain for Pleasant View Retirement Home where he resided.

Seventy-one years of marriage and many travels took Dan and his wife, Edna, to 48 of the 50 states and 46 countries of the world. He also conducted several tours of the Holy Land.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Edna, of 71 years; a daughter, Marilyn; a son Warren; and a great-grandson, Bradley.

He is survived by daughters Cheryl Epp of Colorado, Arline Clark (Larry) of Ohio, Vonda McEachern of Colorado; daughter-in-law, Brenda Dalke of Washington; sons Dale Dalke (Diane) of Washington and Verle Dalke (Linda) of Oregon; son-in-law, Laverne Busenitz of Kansas; 22 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct., 18, at the Grace Bible Church in McPherson, Kan.

Memorial gifts may be donated to the Pleasant View Home in care of Buhler Mortuary, 120 North Main, Buhler, Kan. 67522

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Lenita J. Vetter, ’51

Posted on 24 September 2014 by vunruh

Honoring Miss Lenita Vetter, born October 10, 1924 in Perryville, MO to Clarence William and Mina (Jacobs) Vetter and ushered into the presence of her Lord at Flagstaff Medical Center on August 1, 2014. She had one sister, the late Marie Vetter. She was preceded in death by her sister in Christ and fellow-missionary, Mary Nemire.

She graduated from Holton High School in 1942, Holton, KS. She attended Capitol City Commercial College and then graduated from Grace Bible Institute, Omaha, NE in 1951. Lenita became a missionary and devoted her life as a Bible teacher to the many children, teens & adults throughout northern Arizona, including Window Rock Mission, Indian Bible Church, Flagstaff Mission to the Navajos & ANAM.

She was a spiritual mother and grandmother to those she ministered to for 63 years. She will be truly missed by those whose lives she touched.

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