Archive | 1956


Elmer Reimer, ’56

Posted on 28 March 2017 by editor

4169379Elmer Isaac Reimer, our much loved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, pastor, and friend, passed away peacefully in his son’s home March 19, 2017. He was born in Drake, Saskatchewan, Canada, on May 18, 1922, the third of seven sons and one daughter born to Frank and Gertrude (Boese) Reimer. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Catharina, and brothers Alfred, Harry, Arlie, and Leslie. He is survived by brothers Johnny and Albert, sister Betty, son David (Marilyn), grandchildren Kristen (Sean) Fender and son Nathan; Gregory (Amber) and children Adrianna, Bree, and Cate; and Jeffrey (Jessica) and children Charlie, Lillian, Anna, and Elanor.

He came to faith in Christ during a revival in their church in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, and was baptized at the age of 14.

The extreme drought of the thirties forced the family to move to Steinbach, Manitoba, to find work when Elmer was a teenager. He worked in a body shop, lumber camp, and as a mechanic in a John Deere dealership.

He met Catharina (Tina) Peters at the Evangelical Mennonite Brethren church in Steinbach. They were married September 26, 1943. Their son, David, was born April 2, 1945.

Elmer felt called to the ministry and the family moved to Omaha, NE, where he enrolled at Grace Bible Institute. Within a few years, he had served as a summer pastor in Michigan and then left school to become the pastor of the EMB church in Jansen, NE. He served there for several years before returning to school in Omaha. In 1957 he moved to South Dakota to pastor the Kingsburg Community Church for several years before accepting the pastorate of the Carter Gospel Fellowship, a rural church near Winner, SD.

After 28 years at Carter, he and Tina moved to Newton in 1991, and Elmer pastored the First Mennonite Church of Burns, KS, for 12 ½ years.

Elmer was heavily involved in evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Midwest and Canada, and in youth work primarily through Bible camps. Thousands of young people knew and loved him as ‘Uncle Elmer.’

In 2004, at the age of 82, he resigned the pastorate and took on the project of raising missionary support for the task of translating and recording into Low German the entire collection of J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible radio teaching series, a five-year daily broadcast consisting of 1,297 individual half-hour programs of study from Genesis to Revelation. He became the world-wide Low German voice of the Thru the Bible series, one of more than a hundred languages into which the program has been translated and recorded. The Low German programs are currently being broadcast regularly to thousands of Low German-speaking Mennonites in Mexico, South America, Northern Germany, and Canada. He also translated the New Testament and portions of the Old Testament into Low German. His ministry impact will continue long into the future.

After completing the translation projects in 2010, he taught Sunday School at Grace Community Church until December of 2015, completing 75 years of continuous ministry. His godly spirit and faithful ministry will be greatly missed by his family and a host of people who have known and loved him.

Visitation for Elmer will be held on Friday, March 24th, 2017 in the Fireside Room at Grace Community Church, from 2:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M. The family will greet guests from 6:30 P.M.-8:00 P.M.

Burial will be held on Saturday, March 25th at 9:00 A.M. at the Burns Countryside Cemetery in Burns, Kansas.

The Memorial Service honoring Elmer will follow at 11: 00 A.M. on Saturday, at Grace Community Church.

Memorials have been established with Grace Community Church.

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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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Irwin J. Eleson, ’56

Posted on 11 July 2016 by editor


Irwin James Eleson ’56 died on February 27 in Helena, Montana. He was 93 years old.

He was born on December 5, 1921, to Loyd and Maude Violet Eleson in Elk Point, South Dakota. He was the youngest of four brothers (Clarence, Ernest and Floyd) and grew up on the family ranch near Crawford, Nebraska.

In 1944, Irwin met Marie Soester and they married in 1946. Irwin and Marie had a marriage that was a testament to love. They were devoted to each other and to the Christian faith that became a significant part of their lives beginning in 1948 when they got involved with Bethel Bible Church. So important was their belief in God and practice of Christianity that in 1952, they decided to leave the family ranch so that Irwin could attend seminary at the Grace Bible Institute. He graduated in 1956 and was ordained as a minister the same year. His first and only church was the Oaks Community Church, a non-denominational church located between Henderson and Emerson, Iowa, where he and his family lived for 4 years. After that, he worked briefly as a field representative at the Ozark Bible Institute and was a traveling minister for a short time, preaching in churches around the country, with his family providing the musical program for each service. In 1964, Irwin took a job with what was then the Yellowstone Boys Ranch (Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch) in Billings, Montana, where he worked until his first “retirement” in 1993 and then until his final retirement in 2011. For most of his years at YBGR, he was a field representative and worked tirelessly with ranchers in the Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota region obtaining donations of calves, horses, land, mineral rights and cash contributions that helped YBGR expand and improve its services to children. He loved his job and traveled thousands of miles each year to work with hundreds of ranching families in the region. It was his knowledge of their work that made ranchers respect him, but it was his passion for the mission of the YGBR that made him so successful at his job. He believed that children were better off after being cared for by the YGBR.

Irwin and Marie had five children: Linda Marie (Fjelstad); Cindy Anne (Christensen); William James; Thomas Lee; and Charity Joy. They had nine grand-children: Kim, Michelle, Lisa, Melinda, Shelly, Scott, Katyana, Celia and Tevis. They had thirteen great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his mother, father, three brothers, wife, Marie, and eldest daughter, Linda.

We will remember this man as a force of nature who had a thousand stories to tell. He was a committed and devoted husband and a man who was honest and generous with those he met. He taught us the value of work and honesty and a love of the earth. He loved his life and lived it with strength, joy and integrity.

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Betty (Harder) Loewen, ’56

Betty (Harder) Loewen, ’56

Posted on 12 January 2016 by editor

OI1312949726_LoewenBettyBetty (Harder) Loewen ’56 was born in a farm house in rural Meade County, Kansas, March 9, 1935, to John H. and Elizabeth Harder. Betty received Jesus Christ as her Savior as a young girl. Betty attended her church, grade school and graduated from a parochial high school, as Salutatorian, all within a few miles from her family home. She graduated from Grace University with a degree in Biblical Studies.

She married Merle Loewen in her EMB home Church in rural Meade County, Kansas, in 1956. They moved to Topeka where they both were employed at Menninger Foundation. Michelle Renae was born May 24, 1958, while Steven James joined the family on October 15, 1960.

After Merle graduated from Washburn university in Topeka, they moved to Gardner in Johnson Co. where he began his educational career. Betty was employed for many years as a Medial Receptionist, retiring in 2000 from Central Kansas Medical Center in Great Bend to spend more time with grandchildren.

Betty enjoyed Scrapbooking with ladies who joined her at First Baptist Church. Betty also made quilts for all of her married granddaughters, along with several baby quilts for great grandchildren. She also hosted a Moms in Prayer Group for a number of FBC woman.

She taught third  grade AWANA girls for 24 years at First Baptist Church. The girls were a joy for her as she also baked Christmas cookies with them in our home annually.

She is survived by her husband, Merle, of almost 60 years, Michelle and Greg Bennett of Tulsa, Okla., Steve and Lisa Loewen or Emporia, Kansas, plus 14 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Betty departed her earthly life after a six-month battle with cancer on December 21, 2015, peacefully to join Jesus as her Savior.

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Myrtle Loy Busenitz, ’56

Myrtle Loy Busenitz, ’56

Posted on 17 December 2015 by editor

7cf468cb-133a-4ddc-ab16-61c95625c285Myrtle Loy Busenitz ’56, age 77, passed away December 16, 2015, at Kidron Bethel of North Newton, surrounded by the love of her family.

She was born October 31, 1938, at Newton, Kansas, the daughter of Milburn and Erma (Klaassen) Harder. On September 16, 1960, she was united in marriage to Eugene M. Busenitz. She was a Registered Nurse, working for 23 years at Axtell Clinic in Newton.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene; an infant son, Stanley; and her parents.

She is lovingly survived by her daughters, Terry Rickel of Weatherford, Oklahoma; Kathy Penner and husband, Leon of Wichita; and Yvonne Dakwar and husband, Elias of Crowley, Texas; a son, Brent Busenitz of Newton; her siblings: Elwin Harder of Newton; Sharon Harder of Edinburg, Texas; and Rosie Rothhaar of Burlington, Kentucky; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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Gilbert Reiland, ’56

Posted on 14 April 2014 by vunruh

Gilbert “Gibby” Reiland passed away in his sleep at the age of 86 on April 7.  He was born in Mantador, ND on June 6, 1927.  From 1945-1948 he served in the Merchant Marines. He then worked for Union Pacific Railroad where he met his wife, Elizabeth Sayler. They were married June 4, 1950 and that union lasted nearly 62 years until Elizabeth’s death January 8, 2012.
Soon after they were married he felt led to become a pastor and moved to Omaha, NE to begin his schooling at Grace Bible Institute. Through the years he served as pastor in Mondamon and Malvern, IA, First Baptist of Blair, NE, Sheridan Blvd Baptist in Lincoln, NE, First Baptist of Lemoore, CA and First Baptist of Dinuba, CA. He was always a helper of people, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
One testament of his character and integrity was when his wife was diagnosed with dementia and heart valve issues in 2004.  He took on the role of primary caregiver and never left her side. The first few years were very manageable but as time went on it became more and more difficult and the last two years were often times unbearable to watch. He never turned his back on her and took the anger and rage that dementia patients can so often express with love and patience. Deep inside it was taking a huge toll on his mind and soul which hastened his rapid decline after she passed, but he never quit.
A celebration of his life will be held at Koinonia Christian Fellowship in Hanford, CA Saturday, May 3rd at 1:00 p.m.

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LaVern Gillett, ’56

Posted on 13 March 2014 by vunruh

LaVern Gillett, age 76, passed away March 8, 2014. He was born on February 15, 1938 to Roland and Harriet Gillett in Crawford, NE.

Vern attended Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, NE, graduated from Chadron State College and the College of Educational Administration at University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  Vern worked in computer sales for many years. He enjoyed fishing, gardening, spending time with his children and grandchildren and visiting with people.

He is survived by his wife, Eleanor; children; Blaine (Sue), Jonae Meyer (Scott), Janelle Nosal (Mike); 10 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Eston and Quinten; sister, Willa and father-in-law, Forrest Blauvelt.

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Henry Wayne Siebert

Posted on 25 October 2012 by vunruh

Henry Wayne Siebert ‘56 was taken to his eternal home on Friday, August 24, 2012, at the age of 78.

He was the seventh of ten children born to Henry J. and Maria Siebert, November 25, 1933, near Henderson, Neb.  At age seven, his family relocated to a farm near Luton, Iowa. He had many fond memories of his activities on the farm. He was saved when Theodore Epp had evangelistic meetings at the Central Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa. Some of his favorite scriptures included John 3:16; John 1:12; and John 20:31. He graduated from Luton High School in 1951.

In 1957, he received his Bachelor of Science in Christian Education from Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, Neb. He was married to Leona Ruth Flaming on August 16, 1957, in Medford, Okla. They lived in a number of locations involved in Christian ministry, including a brief pastorate in Avon, S. D. In 1961, they moved to a farm west of York, Neb., pursuing a farming career. They continued in lay ministry throughout their lives.

To their union was born six children: Infant son, Beverly Joy, twins Johnnie and Jeannie, Belinda Kay, and Bethanie. In 1972 they relocated to Colby, Kans., where they continued their farming career till their retirement in 1996. They built a house in Colby where they remained until moving to Hesston in January 2005.

He was preceded in death by his parents, infant son, and daughter, Beverly Joy; three sisters: Esther Rogers, Winnifred Siebert, and Lillian Detweiler; and three infant grandchildren. He is survived by his wife; children John and Darla Siebert of Owosso, Mich.; Jeannie and Randy Nye of Kansas City, Mo.; Belinda Kay and Eric Jacobsen of Eagle, Idaho; Bethanie and Jeff West of Omaha, Neb.; 19 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; three sisters: Tiena Sellers, Mable Eichhorn, and Marion Jensen; three brothers: Johnny, Alan, and Dennis.

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Lawrence Trautman

Posted on 23 July 2012 by Mel Friesen

Sutton resident Lawrence Trautman, 89, died Thursday, July 19, 2012 at the Sutton Community Home in Sutton, Nebraska.

Services will be at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sutton, Nebraska with Rev. Judy Nuss officiating. Interment will follow at the Sutton Cemetery. Visitation will be Monday from 1:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at Sutton Memorial Chapel in Sutton, Nebraska.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the family.

Lawrence Trautman was born Aug. 16, 1922, to William G. and Eva (Weikum) Trautman in Sutton, Neb. He received his early education at District 8 in Fillmore Co. and graduated from Grace Bible Institute of Omaha, Nebraska.

While in Omaha he was involved with street mission work at the Open Door Mission and after graduation he did mission work in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  In later years he was employed by the Sutton parks.  He also spent 11 years with Plettner Feeds and ran his own shoe repair business at his house.  On September 16, 1966 he married Sophia Green and they were married 46 years.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Sophie; his parents; brother, Harold; sister, Linda Berry; niece, Karla Way.

Survivors are sister, Miriam Way of Lincoln, Neb.;  nephew, Leroy and family of Hastings, Neb.;  nephew, Mark Way and family of Chesapeake, VA.; niece, Karna Latham and family of Waco, Neb.

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