Spring/Summer 2017 Mileposts

May 31st, 2017

Faculty & Staff

Daryl Byler ’79, executive director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, participated in a 40-day “Healing Justice Fast” in March and April. He published a daily reflection, based on the Presbyterian lectionary – the faith tradition of President Donald J. Trump – to call attention to justice issues. Read more at healingjusticefast.wordpress.com.

Penny Driediger ’85, SEM ’08, supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and adjunct faculty at the seminary, was confirmed in March as a fully certified supervisor by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. This is an “uncommon and distinct achievement and the result of years of hard and fruitful work,” says Professor Kenton Derstine, director of the CPE program.

Ryan Keebaugh, assistant professor of music, was awarded honorable mention in the 2017 Raabe Prize for Excellence in Sacred Composition for the a cappella composition “The Suffering Servant,” a meditative tableau on the text of Isaiah 53. Seventy-eight entrants competed for the prize, offered every two years by The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

Steve Kriss ’94, associate director of pastoral studies at EMU Lancaster, was named executive minister for Franconia Mennonite Conference. His most current role was director of leadership cultivation and congregational resourcing for Franconia Mennonite Conference.

Irma Mahone ’80, RN to BS program location coordinator, was honored as co-founder by the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatric Nurses in April. An annual award will be presented in her name.

J.D. McCurdy, head softball coach, notched 300 wins in April, a record for the athletics program. He is his 14th season with the program and holds a career mark of 301-213-1.

Zeljko Mirkovic, professor of digital media, has won numerous prizes for his documentary The Promise, about French winemakers who move to Rogljevo, Serbia, to revive the ancient tradition of Serbian winemaking. The embassies of France and Serbia co-hosted a screening as part of the D.C. Francophonie Festival. Among six other awards, it was recently an official selection of the Belgrade Documentary Film Festival and awarded Exceptional Merit in the Depth of Field International Film Festival, Delaware.

Travis Pettit ’08 joined the enrollment division in a newly created role of director of admissions and marketing for graduate, seminary and professional studies. He previously served as program representative for the adult degree completion program and is an adjunct professor in the business department.

Tim Seidel, professor of applied social sciences and Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, successfully defended his dissertation entitled Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?: Power and Resistance in Late Modernity. He earned his doctorate at American University in December.

Jonathan Swartz, SEM ’14, MA ’14 (conflict transformation), transitioned from his role as restorative justice coordinator to director of residence life, restorative justice and student accountability. Jon is responsible for developing and maintaining residential learning communities that provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment, centered around a campus culture sustained by restorative justice practices.


Luke Drescher ’57, Harrisonburg, Va., was honored at Messiah College’s Athletics Hall of Honor Banquet in February. He worked as an administrator at Messiah from 1961-70 and served as their first athletics director.

Calvin Kaufman ’59, Goshen, Ind., is retired from full-time pastoring, but he and wife Loretta are pastoring Goshen House Church which they started in November 2003.


Lee M. Yoder ’63, Harrisonburg, Va., has served since January as interim head of school at Narmer American College in Cairo, Egypt. He helped to found the school in 2000 with 20 students in grades 9 and 10. It now has more than 1,500 students and 200 faculty. Spouse Laverne Zehr ’63 Yoder is an instructional coach in the early childhood education program.

Ken Yoder Reed ’66, San Jose, Calif., presented a Writers Read event about Both My Sons (Masthof Press, 2016), his third historical novel.

Dick Benner ’69, Waterloo, Ontario, retired March 31 as editor and publisher of the Canadian Mennonite after an eight-year tenure. He has moved to Charlottesville, Va., to be closer to family and his wife, Marlene K. Benner ’63, who suffers from dementia, having been diagnosed in April 2014. Benner wrote about his encounter with this disease in an editorial titled “A Living Death.”


Daniel Longenecker ’70 and Catherine Martin Longenecker, Lititz, Pa., celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in their home at Landis Homes. They served for 20 years as chaplains at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. Daniel was one of the founders of Haverim, the alumni advocate group for the Bible and religion department.

Norma Shantz ’71, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, continues her genealogy work. Visit her website Norma Shantz’s Genealogy for information regarding Mennonite names in Waterloo County.

M. Kate Hess ’72 Kooker and husband Dr. Harley Kooker ’73, Christiana, Pa., appeared in a Washington Post article about the East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church’s sponsorship of Syrian refugee families.

Eldon Miller ’73, Lederach, Pa., retired from Christopher Dock Mennonite High School after teaching Spanish for 43 years, and also serving as audio visual coordinator. “I find that I have no problem filling up my time with woodworking, gardening, cooking, grandkids, volunteering, and general ‘fiddling,’” he says, but adds that he misses the high school students and his faculty friends.

Cathy Spory ’73, Boswell, Pa., elementary school principal and kindergarten teacher at Johnstown Christian School, was named the 2015 Education Honoree in the YWCA of Greater Johnstown “Tribute to Women.” The honorees are women of vision, conviction and dedication. Additionally she was awarded Elementary Administrator of the Year by the Pennsylvania Affiliate of the Council of American Private Education.

D. Michael Hostetler ’75, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and friend Will Winterfeld, created a documentary “Hope Was Not On the Ballot,” about their travels in Washington D.C. around election time. Among others, they interviewed Lawrence Ressler ’76 and Sharon Martin ’78 Ressler, hosts of The International Guest House. The documentary explored the question of Christian witness in divisive times. It can be viewed on the Canadian Mennonite magazine website, where Michael is advertising director.

Virginia Schwartzentruber ’77 Hostetler, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, was named executive director of Canadian Mennonite magazine, expanding the position she has held as web editor since 2013. She will be responsible for content of the magazine and its digital products. She is married to D. Michael Hostetler ’75, the magazine’s advertising director. They are members of Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church.

Richard Moyer ’78, Green Lane, Pa., wrote booklets entitled My Old Farmstead and My Old Neighborhood with memories, stories and history from his childhood home along the Branch Creek in Montgomery County, Pa. The homestead was a half-mile from ancestor Hans Meyer’s farm, settled in the early 1700s.

Helen Stoltzfus ’78, Oakland, Calif., and her husband/artistic partner, Albert Greenberg, have revived their original performance work on immigration entitled “Heart of America: Stories from the New Ellis Island,” which depicts oral histories of local immigrants through aerial arts, dance, music, puppetry and video effects. Black Swan Arts & Media, Helen and Albert’s company, also recently produced a multimedia performance event on the 9/11 wars that includes a feast for 100 guests called “The Prepared Table: A Feast of Foods, Live Performance, and Stories from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the FOB (Forward Operating Base of the US Military).”

Kaye Brubaker ’79, Washington D.C., is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her current research focus is on future precipitation frequency for the state of Maryland. She also works with students on water quality modeling, such as anticipating algal blooms and river erosion and sediment. She visited campus for a colloquium lecture in March.

Alden Hostetter ’79, Harrisonburg, Va., presented a Suter Science Seminar on “Case Studies on Human Dis-Ease: Reflections on Health and Wellness through the Lens of a Microscope.” Alden is a pathologist and director of Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital’s medical technology and histotechnology training program. He is also a fellow and laboratory inspection team leader in the College of American Pathologists.


Edward A. Sandy II ’81, Port Republic, Va., was named president of the Sentara RMH Medical Group in the fall. A native of Timberville, he graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School and the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn University. He completed post-graduate studies in obstetrics and gynecology at the Ohio State University Hospitals and Clinics in Columbus, Ohio. He was previously associate professor and vice chair of community practices in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Magee-Women’s Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Carl Geissinger ’82, Reedsville, Pa., was featured in a Lancaster Farming article about his two vocations as sheep-shearer and part-time pastor at Barrville Mennonite Church. He began shearing while a student at EMC to make extra money.

Sharon R. López ’83, Lancaster, Pa., became the first Latina president of the 27,000-member Pennsylvania Bar Association in May. She is a partner in Triquetra Law. In her former role as president-elect of the organization, López created the Membership Enhancement Blue Ribbon Panel on Millennials, Mothers and Minorities in the Profession, an appointed group of PBA members who are identifying new approaches to increase association membership through outreach, marketing and mentorship.

J. David Shenk ’83, Telford, Pa., was named president and chief executive officer at Tel Hai Retirement Community. He had been executive director of Souderton Mennonite Homes and Dock Meadows.

Phil C. Kanagy ’84, Harrisonburg, Va., completed his Master of Divinity degree at Eastern Mennonite Seminary in April. He is lead pastor at Weavers Mennonite Church.

Marie Schuessler ’84 Morris, Anderson, Ind., delivered the nursing pinning and commencement addresses during Hesston College’s Commencement. Marie formerly served as Hesston College’s vice president and academic dean as well as the nursing department chair. She currently is the provost at Anderson (Ind.) University.

Jeanne Zimmerly ’86 Jantzi, Kidron, Ohio, begins as superintendent of Central Christian School Board of Trustees in August. Jeanne is a 1982 Central Christian alumnus, originally from Orrville, Ohio. She earned a degree in early childhood education at EMU and a master’s in international economic development from Eastern University. She spent 24 of the last 28 years serving with Mennonite Central Committee in Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia and Thailand.


J. Mark Zook ’90, Orrville, Ohio, was named 2016 Paul L Powell Citizen of the Year. He has been involved in youth sports, the Orrville Rotary Club, Orrville Area United Way, Heartland Education Community, Orrville Athletic Booster Club, the chamber of commerce and Orrville Area Development Foundation, among others. He is vice president of underwriting at Mennonite Mutual Insurance Company.

Timothy Shenk ’92, Lancaster, Pa., is program director for Lancaster Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13’s Community Education Program, serving Lancaster and Lebanon counties. His program is the lead agency for a refugee center and community school at Reynolds Middle School in Lancaster City. He and Christine Kaufman ’92 Shenk have two children.

Kris Short ’93, Berryville, Va., is a child and adolescent case manager at the new Northwestern Community Services Board Children’s Center in Winchester.

Allen Umble ’95, Christiana, Pa., has returned to the United States after eight years of service with Virginia Mennonite Missions in Albania.

Rose Stoltzfus Huyard MA ’96 (counseling), Harrisonburg, Va., published a memoir Children of the River: Growing up with 18 brothers and sisters along the Susquehanna (Little Big Bay, 2016). A licensed professional counselor, Rose works at Newman Avenue Associates.

Emily Buller ’97 Bollman, Maumee, Ohio, works for Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Rick Jasnoch ’97, Hermitage, Tenn., is team leader for a 90-day mission trip to Slovenia through nonprofit Christian Light Ministries, a missionary sending organization based in Jacksonville, Fla.

Anna Creech ’98, Henrico, Va., is head of resource acquisition and delivery at Boatwright Memorial Library, University of Richmond. She serves as president of NASIG (formerly the North American Serials Interest Group, Inc.), an independent organization that promotes communication, information and continuing education about serials, electronic resources and the broader issues of scholarly communication.


Wendell Nofziger ’00, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is principal of Los Pinares Academy, a bilingual Christian school founded by Eastern Mennonite Missions.

Alexandra Nunez ’00, Santo Domingo, DR, is the executive director of Esperanza, a program that helps families overcome poverty. She served as vice president of public affairs and Caribbean investment before moving into the executive director position. She earned an MBA at Belhaven University.

Brad Fair ’02, Lancaster, Pa., is director of development for Mennonite Disaster Service in Lititz, Pa.

Hans Harman ’02, Harrisonburg, Va., earned the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. He is president of Momentum Earthworks.

Devin Yoder ’02, Green Bay, Wis., works for the Brown County Planning Commission as a transportation/GIS planner. He previously worked in Aurora, Colo., for the last two years in the City Planning and Development Services Department.

Phouthone Liambounheuang ’04 Wilson, Warrenton, Va., is clinical coordinator at Easterseals UCP North Carolina and Virginia.

Rebekah Hoffer ’04 Miller, Ephrata, Pa., blogs about parenting, frugality, food and green living at SimplyRebekah.com. She’s released an e-book about excess lipase activity, a rare breastfeeding problem, to help educate families.

Kimberley Clark ’05, Mount Sidney, Va., is assistant to the vice president for advancement at EMU. She was previously a purchasing/inventory coordinator for AGS Manufacturing and an office manager for two health organizations.

Misty Ward ’05, Harrisonburg, Va., a midwife, has assisted at more than 500 births. She founded Brookhaven Women’s Health and Natural Birth Center in 2010.

Caleb Yoder ’06, North Newton, Kansas, is pastor at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church in Goessel, Kansas.

Emily Derstine Friesen ’07, Sellersville, Pa., an attorney with Console Mattiacci Law LLC, and her co-counsel secured the largest verdict ever obtained by an individual plaintiff in an age discrimination suit.

Brenna Steury Graber ’07, Goshen, Ind., recently finished a 3.5-year service term with Mennonite Mission Network as youth pastor in Paris, France, with spouse Bradley Graber.

Aaron Trimble ’07, Chapel Hill, N.C., is a research fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at University of North Carolina. He presented a Suter Science Seminar in February about mucus clearance in cystic fibrosis.

Sabrina Tusing ’07, Oakland, Calif., completed her Master of Library and Information Science degree from San Jose State University. She is employed with University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Chris Lehman ’08, Chambersburg, Pa., has led the Shalom Christian Flames soccer team to two straight Mason-Dixon Christian Conference titles, with a team record of 17-3 this fall. This earned him Public Opinion coach of the year. He teaches Bible and science at the middle school.

Patrick Monk ‘08, Brooklyn, N.Y., teaches eighth-grade language arts. After graduation, he served with Mennonite Central Committee in Uganda until 2011 and then married his wife, Avery, in 2014.

Justin Walzl ’08, Ephrata, Pa., is a cardiology nurse practitioner at WellSpan Cardiology in Lancaster. With an upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare, he joins the prestigious ranks of the International Nurses Association.

Michael Charles ’09, Lancaster, Pa., has been named principal of Lancaster Mennonite School’s Kraybill Campus in Mount Joy effective this fall. For seven years, he taught in LMS’s history and social studies department. He received his master’s degree in educational leadership with a principal’s certification from the School Leadership Program of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jordan Good ’09, Harrisonburg, Va., was recognized as Volunteer of the Month by the Harrisonburg Rescue Squad, an all-volunteer unit that he joined in October 2013. He is an EMT-B/Attendant-in-Charge (AIC), driver and a preceptor (mentor) for both. He works as a team leader at Gift & Thrift Inc., a retail store that raises funds for the Mennonite Central Committee. It also provides a space for retired persons to use their skills in a meaningful way, and for community members to find low-cost necessities. “Whether it’s at my job-job, or my hobby-job, there’s a lot of volunteers, and a lot of good being done,” Jordan said.

Tammy Stinson ’09 Pereira, Woodstock, Va., works with Valley Health in human resources.

Rachel Mast ’09 Reesor, Stoufville, Ontario, Canada, is a child and family therapist with Blue Hills Child and Family Center. She is married to Justin Reesor ’10.


Amy Histand ’10 Eanes, Harrisonburg, Va., works for Mennonite Central Committee, Colombia, as a specialist in PMER (planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting), advocacy and delegations. She is married to Giles Eanes ’11.

Dan Martin ‘10, Wauseon, Ohio, is associate pastor at North Clinton Church, where he leads youth ministry and discipleship and works with Sunday School teachers. He and Tamara Meyer ’10 Martin have two sons. They moved from Virginia to Ohio in September 2016.

Claudette Monroy ’10, Washington, D.C., made Washington Post front-page news on Feb. 8, sharing her story among the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. She is a graduate student at George Washington University and director of education with a family literacy program.

Sanjay Dick ’11, Harrisonburg, Va., begins studies at the Virginia–Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in August. He graduated from EMU with an MA in Biomedicine in April. He was among 120 selected from an applicant pool of 1,200.

Chris Miller ’11, Harrisonburg, Va., is a mortgage loan officer with Park View Federal Credit Union. He previously specialized in lending and branch leadership.

Maria Yoder ’11 Swartzentruber, Harrisonburg, Va., a fifth-grade teacher at Linville- Edom Elementary School, received the 2017 William C. Lowry Mathematics Educator of the Year Award for the elementary school level. Five teachers from Virginia receive the annual award, presented by the Virginia Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Misty Weekley ’11 Cook, Dayton, Va., is director of finance for Augusta County. Formerly a practice manager at Rockingham Dermatology, she is studying for a master’s in business administration from Liberty University. She was honorably discharged from the Virginia Army National Guard.

Dustin Stutzman ’12, Sarasota, Fla., is a financial representative with Everence Financial Advisors and has successfully completed the Series 7 licensing exam. This qualifies him to offer investment products such as stocks, bonds and fixed-income investments.

Christine Baer ’14, Lancaster, Pa., is congregational resource developer at Church World Service.

Mariah Elliott ’14 Leonard, Goochland, Va., works with survivors of sexual and domestic violence as a crisis hotline specialist for Virginia Action Alliance. She married Kevin Leonard in 2014.

Michelle L. Mitchell ’14, Staunton, Va., a photographer at the Staunton-based News Virginian, won three Virginia Press Association awards this spring. She won first place picture story or essay award for photos of Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence at a Rockingham County rally in October 2016; a second-place general news photo award for her photo of a bomb threat at Waynesboro High School in October 2016; and third place in the breaking news photo category for a photo of the Shenandoah National Park fire in April 2016.

Rebecca “Becca” Martin ’15, Akron, Pa., works at the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as a protection counselor.

Timothy Smith MBA ’16, Saline, Mich., is vice president of HIBLOW USA, an industrial vacuum equipment supplier.

Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

Pat Hostetter Martin MA ’98, Harrisonburg, Va., is a chaplain at Sentara RMH Medical Center. She has fond memories of her 10 years with the Summer Peacebuilding Institute, “a great gift that opened my heart and mind to the beautiful diversity of the human family.”

Jarem Sawatsky MA ’01, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, published Dancing with Elephants: Mindfulness training for those living with dementia, chronic illness or an aging brain. He’s also published a 5-part video series with five featured teachers, including CJP co-founder John Paul Lederach, on facing disease. More information is available at jaremsawatsky.com.

Jeremy Simons MA ’02, Davao City, Philippines, was accepted to a PhD program at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. He plans to focus his research on restorative justice and leadership in the Philippines context, which will involve some travel back and forth to the Philippines, continuing to engage and build on the relationships developed over the past eight years.

Valerie Helbert MA ’08, Durham, N.C., is program coordinator for the Summer Institute for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.

Marshall Yoder MA ’10, Harrisonburg, Va., was named 2017 Charlottesville Best Lawyers Collaborative Law: Family Law Lawyer of the Year, cited by a peer-review publication Best Lawyers. He is considered a pioneer in the use of collaborative practice in the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia, an approach to resolving disputes in which the parties explicitly agree that their attorneys should assist in resolving the dispute outside of the court system.

Patrick Campbell ’12, MA ’14, Charlottesville, Va., was honored with the Governor’s Fire Services Award for Civilian Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Support. As senior disaster program manager for the American Red Cross Virginia Region, Campbell helped launch a campaign in 2015 to reduce home fire deaths and injuries by 25 percent by the end of 2019.

Dominggas “Donna” Nari MA ’13, Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia, is a lecturer and consultant in education, working with women and children to create a space for peace.

Woré Ndiaye MA ’13, Dakar, Senegal, leads the Senegalese Section of the Women, Youth, Peace and Security Working Group, created in 2009 by the UN Office for West Africa and several other organizations. The working group represents tens of thousands of people through thousands of member organizations.

Aala Ali MA ’14, Kirbil, Iraq, is the social cohesion and community mobilization specialist for UNDP’s Iraq office and has been the driving force behind a project that CJP is involved with there. As a result, five Iraqi universities (Baghdad, Duhok, Kufa, Mosul and Tikrit) are now making plans to form a consortium with the aim of developing a joint peace education curriculum.

Sarah Roth Shank ’10, MA ’14, Harrisonburg, Va., begins a doctoral program in August at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She will study restorative justice with Professor Chris Marshall, the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice in the School of Government. She is currently CJP admissions director.

Fabrice J. Guerrier MA ’15, Coral Springs, Fla., is a management specialist within the Bureau of Western Hemispheric Affairs at the U.S Department of State. He is president of Coming to the Table, a national racial reconciliation organization founded by descendants of slaveholders and enslaved people in partnership with CJP.

Bridget Mullins MA ’15, Pittsburgh, Pa., is currently the senior program coordinator with Amizade, a Pittsburgh-based education nonprofit. Bridget is a liaison to Amizade’s sites in Northern Ireland, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, and Washington D.C. and helps to coordinate 60-plus programs a year.

Jodie Geddes MA ’16, Oakland, Calif., is a community organizer for Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). She was elected vice president of Coming to the Table.


Theda Good SEM ’06, Denver, Colo., was ordained by Mountain States Mennonite Conference in December. She is the pastor of nurture and fellowship at First Mennonite Church of Denver.

Maria Hosler Byler SEM ’16, Telford, Pa., is the associate pastor for youth and family formation at Salford Mennonite Church.

Jeongih Han SEM ’16, Harrisonburg, Va., was licensed at Cross Way Mennonite Church Sunday, April 23.


Galen Wenger ’07 to Tiffany N. Yoder, Lancaster, Pa., May 20, 2016.

Patrick Monk ’08 to Avery Gaskin-Monk, Brooklyn, N.Y., May 29, 2014.

Pat Ressler ‘09 to Isabel Castillo Zaldivar ’07, July 15, 2016.

Brent Beachy ’10 to Kara Tindor, Sept. 3, 2016.

Philip Yoder ’14 to Chaska Yoder ’14, Oct. 1, 2016.

Yooneso Park MA ’16 (conflict transformation), to Abby Long, Dec. 3, 2016.

Births & Adoptions

Tim ’94 and Rachel Smith ’02 Swartley, Telford, Pa., Zachary Allen, Dec. 31, 2016.

Jeremy Good ’03 and Joanna Snyder, Bethesda, Md., Eloise, May 31, 2015.

Nate ’03 and Rebekah Miller ’04 Hoffer, Ephrata, Pa., Isaac, Jan. 25, 2017.

David ’04 and Anna Dintaman ’05 Landis, Harrisonburg, Va., Eleanor Keziah, Jan. 27, 2017.

Brian ’05 and Lauren Spicher, East Petersburg, Pa., Jonathon Brian, June 18, 2016. He joins brothers Josiah Thomas and Jackson Dietrich.

Derrick ’06 and Rebekah Good ’07 Charles, Nicaragua, Miriam Good, Dec. 27, 2016.

Brenna Steury ’07 and Bradley Graber, Goshen, Ind., Caleb Bradley, April 30, 2016.

Krista Johnson MA ’10 (conflict transformation), and Clint Weicksel, Lancaster, Pa., Beatrice Johnson, Feb. 13, 2017.

Ryan MA ’11 (conflict transformation), and Janie Beuthin, Flint, Mich., Goshen Marcus, Dec. 12, 2016.

Ben ’12 and Hannah Beachey ’12 Bailey, Harrisonburg, Va., Otis Theodore, Nov. 22, 2016.

Michael ’12, MA ’14 (counseling) and Simone Sommers ’12 Horst, Harrisonburg, Va., Emerson Frederick, March 31, 2017.

Erica Lehman ’12 and Jamie Weaver, Culpeper, Va., Lyla Grace, Oct. 20, 2016.

Charles MA ’14 and Helen Kwuelum, Harrisonburg, Va., Sophia Chidalu, Feb. 27, 2017.

Joshua, web developer and analyst in marketing and communications, and Katherine Lyons, Chase Edward, Nov. 1, 2016.

Isaac, director of cross country, track and field, and Emily Bryan, adjunct professor of language and literature, Elizabeth Kate, Feb. 2, 2017.


Harold Kuhns, Harrisonburg, Va., died Feb. 26, 2017, at 91. He and his wife, Vera Mae Martin, came to EMC in 1980 for voluntary service. They had previously owned a radio/ television repair business for 30 years. Vera was campus hostess in the guesthouse and Harold worked in the grounds/maintenance department. They were members of Park View Mennonite Church.

Ethel Leaman Mellinger HS ’38, ’59, died March 28, 2017, at 97. She graduated from EMHS and later, at the age of 40, attended EMC and earned a degree in education. She taught at the Sarasota Christian School for 23 years. In 1990, she moved to the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community where she resided until her move to the Mennonite Home. She was a member of the Park View Mennonite Church.

Hubert R. Pellman ’38, Harrisonburg, Va., died March 16, 2017, at 98. He taught English at EMC from 1941-43, and from 1947 until his retirement in 1984, when the university named him a professor emeritus of English. His legacy continues under the Hubert R. Pellman and Mildred Pellman Literature Scholarship fund, established under the Hubert Pellman Endowed Chair. He was also ordained as a minister in 1953 and pastored Mount Vernon Mennonite Church, Grottoes, Va. Hubert authored a number of published histories: Eastern Mennonite College, 1917-1967 (1967); Mennonite Broadcasts (1979); Seventy-five Years of Mutual Aid (1989); and A Pellman History (1996).

Ruth Yothers ’38, Souderton, Pa., died Nov. 16, 2016, at 108. Ruth worked as a nanny for a local attorney and then as a seamstress for Hanson Textile for 35 years. She also volunteered at the Norristown State Hospital, the Care & Share Thrift Shoppes and Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pa. She was a lifetime member of Deep Run Mennonite Church East.

Elwood Weaver ’39, Rockingham, Va., died Sept. 13, 2016, at 94. Elwood and his father, started Weaver Hatchery, which he owned and operated for more than 30 years. He was a charter member of the Chicago Avenue Mennonite Church. As a member of Harrisonburg Mennonite Church, he and his wife served on a visitation team for the elderly. He became a licensed private pilot in the 1940s.

Marie Gingerich ’45 Snider, North Newton, Kan., died Aug. 30, 2016, at 89. A writer throughout her life, Marie inspired and empowered thousands of readers with her syndicated column This Side of 60 for the past 24 years. Husband Howard Mervin Snider ‘52 died Aug. 2015.

Mary Kathryn Slagell ’49 Lederach, Lansdale, Pa., died Dec. 17, 2016, at 92. Mary taught school in Scottdale, Pa., for 22 years. She retired to Souderton, Pa., with her husband Paul Lederach in 1988.

Leah Kennel ‘50 Magal, Peaks Island, Maine, died Feb. 6, 2017, at 92. She married Ivan Magal ’48, who worked as a physician and minister. Their lives centered around their four children and Ivan’s occupations. Leah was also a dedicated volunteer at the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. for over 20 years.

Kenneth Schwartzentruber ’55, New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada, died Nov. 17, 2016, at 88. He served in Brazil with the Mennonite church for 32 years, as well as working in publishing, church ministry and hospitality.

Harry Lefever ’55, Atlanta, Ga., died Feb. 3, 2017, at 85. He taught at EMU from 1963-66. He also was professor of sociology at Spelman College from 1966-2003. After working with Mennonite Central Committee in Vietnam in 1955 with his wife Esther, he continued to travel throughout his life. His interest in the Civil Rights Movement and its impact on the city of Atlanta led to writing books about this issue.

Gerald “Jerry” W. Bender ’57, Maytown, Pa., died on March 2, 2017, at 81. He received a master’s degree in sociology from Penn State University, was a driver for UPS, and a fabricator for Armstrong World Industries. Jerry served with the Mennonite Central Committee’s PAX program in Germany. He enjoyed working with the Mennonite Historical Society and was a member of the Lancaster/Franconia Choral Singers.

James “Jim” R. Hertzler ’57, Goshen, Ind., died Nov. 18, 2016, at 82. Jim earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in history from University of Wisconsin. He taught at Goshen College from 1966 until retiring in 1999. He was a member of College Mennonite Church.

Mildred Esther Bender ’59, Sandy Spring, Md., died Dec. 13, 2014, at 80. She helped people through the fields of counseling and teaching English. She completed graduate studies at the American University of Beirut and further graduate studies in pastoral counseling at Loyola College in Baltimore.

Milton Schwartzentruber ’60, Beamsville, Ontario, Canada, died Oct. 11, 2016, at 87. He was ordained at Erb St. Mennonite Church, Waterloo, and served there for six years. He then was managing director of a residential treatment home for recovering alcoholics while earning a master’s degree in education. He later worked as the director of an addictions day treatment program at the Grey Bruce Regional Health Centre until his retirement.

Ruby A. Brenneman ’61, Kalona, Iowa, formerly of Ventura, Calif., died April 15, 2017, at age 81. She taught kindergarten and first grade in Iowa and for 30 years in California, and also volunteered through Mennonite Board of Missions as a teacher from 1961–62 and as hostess for Mennonite Central Committee 1965-67 in Akron, Pa. Ruby attended First United Methodist Church in Ventura, where she taught at the Christian school and generously served in many capacities. She moved to Iowa in 2013 to join family and became a member of Wellman Mennonite Church.

Lois A. Witmer ’62, Lititz, Pa., died Jan. 12, 2017, at 88. She received a master’s degree from Millersville University. She started her teaching career at Locust Grove Mennonite School for 15 years, then at Faith Mennonite High and Linville Hill. Lois spent two years working for Choice Books Caribbean Ministry in St. Croix and Puerto Rico from 1989-91. She was a member of the Willow Street Mennonite Church where she taught Sunday School and Bible School.

J. Roy Breneman ’67, James Creek, Pa., died Jan. 22, 2017, at 73. Roy grew up on his family’s dairy farm and worked in agribusiness as an animal scientist and nutritionist. He served three years in voluntary service in North Africa. He loved to fish, hunt, garden, feed wild birds and raise show pigeons.

Peter Christophel ’67, New Haven, Ind., died Feb. 16, 2017, at 73. He was employed with BF Goodrich for more than 30 years.

Patricia Ann Yoder ’68, Harrisonburg, Va., died Jan. 5, 2017, at 70. She worked many years at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community as the activities director. She was an active member of Park View Mennonite Church.

Robert Wesley Mast ’73, Keezletown, Va., died Nov. 6, 2016, at 64. Robert began his technical career as a senior engineer and built early computers. He then became a systems integrator at Shenandoah Electronic Intelligence and Technology, and later worked as a systems engineer at James Madison University. He was known for volunteering his computer expertise with nonprofit agencies and friends. He valued relationships and especially the five families in a community-farm partnership in Keezletown, Va., for over 30 years.

Michael D. Augsburger ’80 died April 11, 2017, at age 63. Michael was the son of Myron and Esther Augsburger of Harrisonburg. Michael co-created with his mother the massive sculpture, “Guns Into Plowshares,” which has stood as a symbol of non-violence in front of police headquarters and the evidence control facility in Washington D.C. since 1997. Michael built numerous custom homes and apartment buildings on his own, with Augsburger Construction and S.M. Nichols Builder, Inc. He was an avid pilot. After retirement, Michael spent much of his time in Thailand.

John J. Gallagher ’97, Charlottesville, Va., died March 2, 2017, at 64. He worked as a senior staff professional for IBM Corporation and was an avid musician.

Margaret “Maggie” Lewis Hamblen SEM ’98 Wynne, Black Mountain, N.C., died Jan. 24, 2017, at 77. She traveled widely, often with mission groups. Maggie was a long-time member of Edenton Street United Methodist Church where she taught children’s Sunday school. She was active in the Junior League of Raleigh and served as its president from 1979- 80. In the later part of her life, she devoted herself to writing and had poems and a novel Homeward published.

Jen M. Fuller ’01, Swoope, Va., died Dec. 3, 2016, at 60. She worked in the telecommunications industry for 30 years.

Michael J. Sharp ’05, Hesston, Kan., died March 27, 2017, at 34. He was among those abducted and killed by a militia group while investigating human rights abuses with the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Michael formerly worked with Mennonite Central Committee in the DRC and Mennonite Mission Network in Germany. He was a graduate of Bethany Christian School in Goshen, Ind. (See Life Service Award: Michael J. Sharp.)


Saigon to Singers Glen: One Hundred Moments in the Life of a Mennonite Farm Boy (2017) is a memoir by Jim Bowman ’72, MA ’03 (conflict transformation). He grew up in a conservative Mennonite farm family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, came of age in the war-torn streets of Saigon, and has since lived a life of adventures across the globe, from the farming communities of Indonesia to the cosmopolitan city of Nairobi, Kenya, and back to Virginia.

Luke S. Martin ’62, a missionary in Vietnam from 1962-75, published A Vietnam Presence: Mennonites in Vietnam During the American War (Masthof Press, 2016), a chronicle of the development of the Vietnam Mennonite Church from the 1950s through the end of the war and the involvement of Mennonite Central Committee and Eastern Mennonite Missions in Vietnam.

European Mennonites and the Challenge of Modernity Over Five Centuries: Contributors, Detractors, and Adapters (Bethel College, 2016) is edited by Professor Mary Sprunger, Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen. The book includes new material on Mennonites in Russia, Prussia and Nazi-occupied East Europe.

Messages from Maryam (2016) features writing by ESL teacher Lauren Pichon and illustrations by Kendra Yoder ’14, both Harrisonburg residents. The story of Maryam, a refugee from Iraq, is based on experiences of Lauren’s students.

Wynn Kinder MA ’16 (education) provides mindful awareness programs in a variety of contexts through Pennsylvania-based Kinder Associates LLC. Some of those lessons are shared in Peace Work: Mindful Lessons of Self-Regulation for a Child’s Early Years (Spring House Press, 2017).

Wesley Ngwenya ’03, MBA ’17, Winkler, Manitoba, published Nightlife: Real life stories about women working the streets of Lusaka, Zambia (Kindle) as part of his Collaborative MBA capstone project. The book profiles 25 women and the desperate circumstances that drove them to prostitution.

Correction: Dale Cleo Basinger ‘47, Linville, Va., 93, died May 14, 2016. His name was incorrect in the previous Crossroads magazine.

Degree Key

CLASS OF – attended as part of the class of a given graduation year
HS – high school degree from era when high school and college were one
GC – graduate certificate
MA – master of arts
SEM – attended or graduated from the seminary

Mileposts is compiled by Marci Myers, who may be reached at myersmk@emu.edu or at 540-432-4589.

Editorial Policy

Milepost entries are printed on the basis of submissions from alumni or on the basis of publicly available information. We do not verify the accuracy of information that alumni provide, nor do we make judgment calls on the information that they wish to be published, beyond editing for clarity, conciseness and consistency of style. The information provided to us does not necessarily reflect the official policies of EMU or of its parent church, Mennonite Church USA.