Archive | Obituaries

Alvin De Wane Brandt, ’61

Alvin De Wane Brandt, ’61

Posted on 31 October 2016 by editor

alvindewanebrandtAlvin De Wane Brandt was born on March 24, 1937, in Meade, Kansas. It was during the Dust Bowl days and he referred to himself as a “dustbowl-depression baby”. He says, “Dust was so heavy you could trace tracks on the windowsill five minutes after cleaning. When you would plant seeds in Kansas, the soil and the seed would blow to Oklahoma and the soil would be blown back to Kansas without the seed.”

When he was 9 months old his parents caravanned with his paternal grandfather’s family, the Isaac Brandts, to the west coast, eventually ending up in Dallas, Oregon. Stories of $1 motels where you provided your own towels and bedding were reminiscent of “Grapes of Wrath”. After about a year and a half, the whole extended family moved to Dallas, Oregon.

According to Al, he remembers his entire family bathing in a 15-gallon tub of water starting with the youngest. His father changed that with a rather ingenious procedure. He attached a hose with a shower head to the bottom of the tub, mounting the tub overhead and pouring a bucket of hot water into the tub. This necessitated a quick shower.

The one room cabin where they originally lived in Dallas became a “chicken house” where a very young Alvin experimented with smashing eggs by throwing them against the wall. He recounts, “Dad apparently shared my ‘love’ for chickens as I was only verbally advised that my experiment was unwise. However, the time dad caught me pretending to drive a truck in the wheat bin resulted in more disciplined punishment with a handy rope. In my childish wisdom I opted to show him how I’d been playing rather than returning to my chores.”

His father worked for a farmer, Mr. Minty and eventually purchased the whole farm from him. The dairy herd grew, milking upwards of 90 cows in elevated stalls beginning at 5 a.m. and then again every evening. They also raised grains and feed. He reminisces about “tromping” silage in the silo and learning to drive tractor and truck at 6-8 years old but always looking forward to what they fondly called “10 o’clock and 3 o’clock” in which his mother would bring out homemade goodies and snacks and drinks to the fields. During planting season, he and his brother Virgil would take turns going to school and planting in the fields every other day and were the envy of their classmates. When equipment would break down, you didn’t just going running to town for the part, you had to make do with whatever you could jury-rig. He referred to this as “baling wire repairs”. This is where his keen mechanical and engineering gifts were fostered.

At the age of 14 he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, and gladly followed him until his meeting with him in heaven.

After graduating from Dallas High School in 1955, he enrolled in Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, where he met a certain Dolores Wiebe. Dolores recalled: After a year of friendship, he asked me out on a date. And then another one the next night and another one the next. It was on date number three that he asked me to marry him to which I responded, “Don’t you think this is a little sudden?” but I didn’t say no and the rest is history. During our engagement he moved to Alaska to take charge of a boy’s dorm at Minfield Children’s Home in Auke Bay for 8 months. Two weeks after he returned we were married on August 2, 1958.

On December 13, 1959, they celebrated the arrival of our first daughter, Cynthia Michelle, who was born with a heart defect and lived only 8 months. She was a beautiful baby and Al just loved her dearly. That was the first of some difficult times they were to walk through together. A bright spot was the birth of Kimberley Denise on January 6, 1961. She brought so much joy. Al graduated from Grace in 1961 and worked at a company called Meisner’s where they built motorized go carts. Being infatuated with all things mechanical, he obtained spare parts and used their equipment to build his own motor scooter which he was riding to work the spring of 1962 when he was in a near fatal accident. The doctors told me he probably wouldn’t live and if he did, he would undoubtedly be in a vegetative state the rest of his life. After being in a coma for 3 days though, he regained consciousness, albeit with large portions of his memory gone. It was after this time that he committed to memorizing Scripture which continued to be such an integral part of his life to the day he died. Miraculously, he was restored to almost full brain function within a very short period of time and none too soon as our next Alaska adventure was about to launch. We moved to Palmer, Alaska, to be house parents of 10 indigenous foster children at Lazy Mountain Children’s Home where Lori was born on November 26, 1965. It was a wild time, hunting moose for meat, working on the small farm that was part of the Children’s home. He also gladly repaired the equipment as needed, while Dolores was busy with cooking for a family of 12, keeping up the house and occasionally sewing for the girls with two little ones of her own, but they survived. After 4 years, they headed back to Dallas, Oregon, where Al pursued his BS in Electrical Engineering while Dolores earned her RN. We took turns studying and working nights and caring for their two precious little girls. That was a challenging time but soon they were off to San Jose, California, where Al began his career in the semiconductor industry working for Intel, National Semiconductor and ending up at DuPont Photo Mask.

Al served in his church for more than 38 years  in many capacities including: Boy’s Brigade, head usher, playing trombone in the orchestra and brass ensemble, singing in the male chorus, mentoring the college and career group and hosting their Bible study as well as participating in a number of committees and service projects. He was also instrumental in starting Bible studies at his places of employment. He was known for his warmth and friendliness and passing out Scripture cards which he would make on the computer using a business card format. This continued to be a hobby and a passion for him. His children and grandchildren have all benefited from his love of Scripture and his many famous quotes and sayings. The girls were raised on such quotes as: “Privilege and opportunity cost responsibility and Mastery is acquired by resolved limitation.”

He loved having the opportunity to challenge the men in his Bible study group with Scripture memorization, handpicking verses for each one of them individually every week. Right up to the end, even the last 6 years after his diagnosis of Parkinsonism and with increasing debilitation and pain, there was hardly a time you were in his presence that he didn’t give you a word of encouragement, often with an accompanying Bible verse, usually from the Living Bible. One that we heard often in recent times was I Peter 4:10, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessing”. He was always so appreciative of the people around him and never failed to let them know it. He never lost his quick ear-to-ear smile, positive attitude and corny sense of humor. Just hours before his passing, I asked him how he was feeling and struggling to get his hand up, he touched his cheek with almost a twinkle in his eye.

He leaves to mourn, Dolores, his loving wife of 57 years; daughters: Kimberley Brandt, Lori (Kurt) Leander; grandsons: Stephen (Frankiluz) Moyer, Andrew Moyer and Kasey Leander; granddaughters: Karlyn and Lola Leander; sister, Dorothy (Jim) Classen; brothers: Merlin (Kimberly) Brandt and Jack Brandt; 10 nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his precious daughter, Cynthia Michelle; father and mother, Peter and Sally (Ediger) Brandt; and brother, Virgil Brandt.

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Thomas Beatty, ’87

Thomas Beatty, ’87

Posted on 31 October 2016 by editor

56829fc7d637e-imageThomas Beatty ’87 died Sept. 5 in Illinois after a battle with cancer. He was the director of the New Life Corrections Ministry, which is a jail and prison outreach and is based in Aurora, Ill. In addition, Beatty founded the Norfolk (Neb.) Rescue Mission in 1997. Shortly thereafter, he also founded a mission in Columbus, Neb. And in 2004 he helped open a mission in Gordon, Neb., because “he felt God calling him to Gordon to help minister to residents there and Native Americans living on a nearby reservation in South Dakota where alcoholism was rampant.”

Among Beatty’s survivors are his wife, Laurie, and a stepson, the Rev. Justin Fisher, who works at the Norfolk Rescue Mission.

“It is hard to sum up everything in a few words,” Fisher said. “If it wasn’t for him, there would be no Norfolk Rescue Mission or the Columbus Rescue Mission. I have been there (Norfolk) now 11 years and none of it would be there. He left quite an impact wherever he went, Nebraska or Illinois.”

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Joseph Constantino, ’76

Posted on 12 September 2016 by editor

Joseph Constantino ’76 died May 12, 2014. He retired from MUD and was preceded in death by brother, Alfred. He is survived by wife, Carolyn S., Bellevue; children, Joe Jr. and wife Carolyn K., Colorado Springs, Colo.; Antoinette and husband Gail Colan, Omaha; Christina and husband Sam Vasta, Omaha; twin sister, Lillian Garcia, Branson, Mo.; sister, Louise Henkins, Omaha; 7 grandchildren, Nikki, Aaron, Gina, Andrew, Gabe, Sarah, Ben; 4 great grandchildren, Adrynn, Rylee, Brisynn, Elena. 

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Orlando Eldon Klassen, ’46

Posted on 12 September 2016 by editor

Orlando Eldon Klassen ’46, 88, died in Jackson, Minn., on December 24, 2015. 

He lived in Mountain Lake, Minn. for most of his life. He was born on Feb. 16, 1927, to Jacob and Elizabeth Klassen in Mountain Lake. He married Joanne Unruh on June 17, 1949, in Newton, Kansas. They farmed together near Mountain Lake and raised four children. Orlando was a member of the Cornerstone Bible Church in Mountain Lake.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years. 

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Joanne Kathleen Klassen, ’48

Posted on 12 September 2016 by editor

Joanne Kathleen Klassen ’48 died November 16, 2015, in Mountain Lake, Minn., where she lived most of her married life. 

She was born February 24, 1927, to John and Elizabeth Penner in Roaring Springs, Pa. She was adopted in 1929 by Daniel and Hazel Unruh after the deather of her mother. She married Orlando Klassen on June 17, 1949, in Newton, Kansas. They farmed near Mountain Lake and raised four children. She was a member of Cornerstone Bible Church in Mountain Lake.

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Alberta Walter, ’51

Alberta Walter, ’51

Posted on 12 September 2016 by editor

image003Alberta Walter, age 81, formerly of Huron, died Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at Stevens Point, Wisconsin.  Her funeral service was at 2 PM Saturday, March 9, 2013, at the Living Hope Alliance Church with Pastor Josh Jetto and Rick Schryber officiating.  Burial was in the Ideal Cemetery. 

Alberta Alice Decker was born on the family farm northeast of Hitchcock, SD on October 26, 1931.  Alberta attended Bluebell School.  She moved to Huron with her parents and attended Huron High School through her junior year.  She attended Wessington Springs Academy at Wessington Springs, SD for her senior year and then attended Grace Bible College in Omaha, Nebraska. 

She was baptized upon the confession of her faith on August 2, 1952, in the James River.  On January 10, 1953, she married Wayne W. Walter.  They lived in San Antonio, TX and returned to the Huron area after completion of Wayne’s military duty.  She worked for St. John’s Hospital, Ravens and Huron Alignment.

In 1999, Wayne and Alberta moved to Minnesota.  In 2009, Alberta returned to Huron and in 2012 she moved to Stevens Point, WI.  There she lived out the remainder of her days. 

She is survived by five children, Kay (Randy) Bauder of Huron, Wendy (Rick) Schryber of Herndon, VA, Reg (Jill) Walter of Stevens Point, WI, Arlys (Jeff) Moser of Kalispell, MT and Linda (Steve) Hagland of Buffalo, MN; 16 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Reuben (Betty) Decker of Seattle, WA and Albert (Marilyn) Decker of Huron; one sister, Gladys Wedel of Huron; and two sisters-in-law, Ruth Decker of Reedley, CA and Gwendolyn Wipf of Ventura, CA.

Alberta was preceded in death by both parents; husband, Wayne Walter; 6 brothers, John K., Jake T., Sam J., Dave T., Harry and Joe Decker; 6 sisters, Mary Kleinsasser, Kathryn Glanzer, Adena Hofer, Sally Hofer Waldner, Ann Wipf, and Martha Decker; and numerous other relatives.

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Martha M. Toews, ’56

Posted on 27 July 2016 by editor

Martha M. Toews ’56, age 96, of Dallas, Oregon, died June 18, 2014. She was born on March 4, 1918, in Frazer, Montana, the daughter of John H. and Agnes Pankratz Janzen. On April 19, 1944, she married Theodore A. Toews in Dallas, before Ted was shipped overseas during World War II. They moved from Dallas to Nebraska where she attended the Grace Bible Institute for three years in Omaha. She was the director of Child Evangelism, serving eight counties in and around the Fremont, Nebraska, area. They returned to live in Dallas in 2003. She was a member of the Priscella Circle with the Grace Mennonite Church in Dallas and the VFW Auxiliary in Fremont, Nebraska. She is a current member of the Grace Community Church in Dallas. She sewed most of her own clothes and enjoyed embroidery, reading and teaching children for Child Evangelism. She is survived by a brother Edward Janzen of Woodburn and sisters Lena Schmidt of Dallas and Zelma Ridderbush of Salem, along with many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Ted on June 14, 2005, siblings Rudolph “Rudy” Janzen, Anna Margaret Janzen, Henry Janzen, Marie Gossen and Ella McKee.

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Theodore A. Toews, ’56

Posted on 27 July 2016 by editor

Theodore A. Toews ’56 died June 14, 2005, in Dallas, Oregon, at the age of 88. Ted was born August 14, 1916, in Butterfield, Minnesota, to Abraham and Agnes (Fast) Toews. The family moved to Salt Creek, Oregon, in 1924. He married Martha Janzen on April 19, 1944, and five days later was shipped overseas to serve under General Patton. Upon his discharge from the Army he and Martha moved to Dallas, Oregon, where Ted drove a dump truck and hauled logs. They were called to serve the Lord and headed to Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Nebraska, where they worked in child evangelism. He became the district co-director of Child Evangelism in Fremont. He was an active member of the Evangelical Free Church in Fremont. Ted also worked construction, worked at a wholesale warehouse, as a knife sharpener for Campbell Soup, and as a Watkins salesman. He and Martha returned to Dallas, Oregon, in 2003.

Ted was a member of the Teamster’s Union, VFW in Fremont, and Grace Mennonite Church in Dallas. He was a great reader, he enjoyed playing the guitar, and auto mechanics.

Ted was survived by his wife of 61 years, Martha Toews, his sister Freida Fast and brother Abe Toews all of Dallas, Oregon, his sister Agnes Warkentin of Eugene, Oregon, and many nieces and nephews.

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Donald Louis Gregory

Donald Louis Gregory

Posted on 20 July 2016 by editor

dlg072016Don Gregory, cross-cultural mission and Bible faculty member from 1975-1983, passed away June 21 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  He was born in Peoria, Ill., on May 30, 1932, to the late Harold Louis Gregory and Jewel Johnson Gregory. He married Joan Gregory in 1955 and their life was blessed with three children and 12 grandchildren.

Don put his faith in Christ at age 17 after hearing the Gospel on the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles and then spent his life in service to Christ. He sought to win US Marines to Christ on the frontlines of Korea while serving in the Recon Co. of the 1st Marine Division. He then went on to missionary service among the remote Asmat people in West Papua, Indonesia.  Don proclaimed the Gospel to any person God placed in his path, and his roles included mission work with Pioneers and pastoring small Bible churches.

Don graduated from Columbia International University, received a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska. He is survived by his wife of 61 years and children Sharon Olsen, Stephen Gregory and Susan Stephens.

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Hilda Marie Schmidt, ’46

Hilda Marie Schmidt, ’46

Posted on 14 July 2016 by editor

hmschmidt46Hilda Marie Schmidt ’46 was born to Jacob and Maria (Rempel) Regier on February 17, 1924, the eldest of seven children. Ninety-two eventful years later, she passed into the presence of her wonderful Savior on July 3, 2016.

Hilda grew up on a farm near Mountain Lake, Minn., learning the meaning of hard work, close family life, and honest living from godly parents. After graduating from high school, she attended Mountain Lake Bible School, Grace Bible Institute in Omaha,  and Goshen College in Goshen, Ind. At Grace, she first met her future husband, Arthur Schmidt, from Meno, Okla. After graduation, she taught at Oklahoma Bible Academy, close to Arthur’s hometown. They were married in a double ceremony with Hilda’s sister, AnnaMae and her husband, Glen Epp, on June 16, 1950.

A year later, Hilda and Art were on a Norwegian banana boat bound for Ecuador, South America, as missionaries. They disembarked in the harbor at Guayaquil and braved the arduous trip over the Andes Mountains, finally arriving at the village of Shell Mera, known as the gateway to the jungle. There they studied the Spanish language and grew to love the Ecuadorian people. They became heavily involved in teaching at Berean Bible Institute, preparing the Ecuadorian young people for ministry in their local churches. Hilda was very busy teaching students to play the piano and accordion.

Hilda and Art’s focus also became the raising of a family of five children, who remember her well for strict and loving discipline, always ready with a song, never too busy to stop and listen to childhood woes and joys. She was a great letter writer, communicating with each child weekly as they attended boarding school, keeping them abreast of all the goings on at home. As each of them left home and eventually chose their life partners, she rejoiced. She also believed strongly in the power of prayer and would get up early each morning to pray for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Hilda helped her beloved husband through seminary, typing papers and dissertation. When they returned to the field again, and Arthur began a new method of preparing people for ministry called Theological Education by Extension, Hilda typed the textbooks he wrote.

After 32 years of ministry in Ecuador, they retired from the field, but not from ministry. Continuing serving God and loving people have always been their priority, whether on a college campus, with the Mexicans across the border in Juarez, in a Spanish-speaking church or at Golden Oaks Retirement Village in Enid, Okla. Arthur went to be with the Lord in January 2011, and Hilda was moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, to be closer to family. She spent her last years happily in the memory care wing of Luther Park. Here she continued to touch people’s lives through her music, cheerful spirit, and genuine love.

Hilda was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur; parents Jacob and Maria Regier; an infant sister Edna and her brother Melvin. She is survived by her children: son Mervin (Cindy) Schmidt of Ramona, Okla., daughter Betsy (Norman) Olson of Glen Ellyn, Ill., son Fredrick (Desiree) Schmidt of Nampa, Idaho, son Jonathan (Karen) Schmidt of Spokane, Wash., son Ronald (Anne) Schmidt of Ponderay, Idaho; sisters AnnaMae (Glen deceased) Epp, Myrna (Verne) Zielke, Elisabeth (Walt) Heinrichs, brother Norman (Nancy) Regier, sister-in-law Lydia Regier, 16 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

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