Elinor Katherine Goertz ’46 was born on September 24, 1925, in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada, to John and Anna Barkman. She had an older brother, Paul, and a younger sister, Verda. After a number of moves, the family settled in Henderson, Neb., where Elinor graduated from high school. She attended Grace Bible Institute, graduating with the second graduation class in 1946. She met her first husband, Charles Boehr, at Grace and they were married on June 1, 1947. Their child, Charles, was born in 1950, in Winona Lake, Indiana. Her husband, Charles, was tragically killed in a car accident shortly after the birth of Charles. Elinor subsequently moved with infant Charles to Upland, Indiana, to obtain her B.A. degree from Taylor University. At Taylor she was reacquainted with a former Grace student, Reuben Goertz, who also was attending Taylor. Elinor and Reuben were married in Henderson on January 31, 1954. A daughter, Cornelia, was born in 1955, in Haxtun, Colorado, where Elinor and Reuben were involved in planting a church. Having felt God’s call to the mission field, Elinor and Reuben, along with Charles and Cornelia, set sail for Germany in 1956. Elinor and Reuben served as missionaries with Greater Europe Mission in Germany and Canada for more than 30 years. While serving in Germany, the twins, Samuel and Susan, in 1958, in Heidelberg. After retiring in 1998, Elinor and Reuben moved to Colorado Springs to be close to family. They settled into Go Ye Village in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in 2007. Reuben passed away on December 24, 2009.
Elinor was a gifted teacher, musician, counselor, and inspirational speaker. She had a deep abiding faith in God. She trusted the Lord to sustain and provide no matter the situation or difficulty of the task. She was an amazing prayer warrior – someone who truly prayed without ceasing. Her home was open to everyone and there was always room for one more plate at the table. She loved to entertain making everyone who entered her home feel special. She especially delighted in cooking favorite foods for her children and grandchildren – Sunday roasts, verenika, zwieback and her heavenly strawberry jam. Her hands were always busy, knitting, sewing or cross-stitching. She delighted in knitting beautiful and creative sweaters for her grandchildren. She loved to play games and work with puzzles. She lovingly reminded her grandchildren to read their Bible. She treasured spending time with her grandchildren. She loved to gather them around her for a game of Skip bo or to work a puzzle. Their accomplishments were her pride and joy in life. In her eyes, they were perfect! Elinor was technologically savvy and kept in daily contact with those she loved on her iPhone, texting or sending selfies or photos. She was a loving, encouraging, faithful friend to a countless number of people. At the time of her death she was still in regular contact with friends in Germany. Even with the death of Reuben in 2009, she kept on serving the God she loved, encouraging others to join her in the work of the Lord. The Lord called this good and faithful servant home on January 28, 2017, in Tahlequah, OK, at the age of 91. A blessed sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, that can never be replaced.
Elinor is preceded in death by her mother, father, husband Charles Boehr and second husband Reuben Goertz, her brother, Dr. Paul Barkman, and her sister, Verda Prieb. Those left to carry on her legacy include her sons and daughters, Rev. Charles Goertz and wife Beverly of Denver; Connie Sturm and husband Rev. Jon Sturm of Portland, Oregon; Susan Holm and husband Rev. Jason Holm of Cologne, Germany; and Dr. Samuel Goertz and wife Andrea Goertz of Montvale, N.J. There are eleven grandchildren and five great grandchildren. She also leaves her very special friend and sister, Maryann Andres, and three sisters-in-law, Frieda Barkman, Bette Friesen and Liz Hanes, as well as many cousins and a host of friends.