Summer 2011 Mileposts

August 8th, 2011

Faculty and Staff

Ed Martin of Akron, Pa., has been named director of EMU’s Center for Interfaith Engagement, previously known as “Abraham’s Tent.” It provides a place for people from a variety of faith traditions to dialogue on areas of common understanding. Ed most recently served with the American Friends Service Committee as the Quaker international affairs representative for Iran, building connections between Iranian institutions and the United State, and providing resources for public education and advocacy regarding Iran and the United States. Earlier, Ed worked 18 years with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) as director for Central and Southern Asia and the Middle East. He holds a PhD in agricultural economic development from Cornell University.

Laura A. (Glick) Yoder, an assistant professor of nursing at EMU, was awarded the “excellence in nursing instruction” by the Virginia Student Nurses Association. Laura was nominated by her students for the award. She is a 1997 nursing graduate of a sister school of EMU’s, Goshen College in Indiana. Laura holds a master’s degree in nursing from the University of South Florida. An EMU faculty member since 2003, she has been accepted into a doctoral program in nursing at the University of Virginia. Laura has clinical experience in medical-surgical nursing and progressive care-telemetry nursing and is a primary care adult nurse practitioner.


Paul Kniss ’49 and G. Edwin (Ed) Bontrager ’63, Bachelor of Divinity ’66, both of Harrisonburg, Va., led a group of 30 persons from eight states to India, Feb. 7-22, 2011, to visit Mennonite missionary sites, including the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC)  office in Kolkata, as well as tourist attractions.


Arthur (Art) Kennel ’53, Rochester, Minn., reports completing his autobiography, Life, Love, Llamas and Laughs, My Story, to be published by Masthof Press of Morgantown, Pa.


David D. Yoder ’62, Auburn, Pa., began his role as an advancement associate with Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMM) on April 1, 2011. David was president of VMM from 1991 to 2002.  For an additional year, he worked in development. In earlier years, David and his wife, Shirley, class of’ 62, served several terms as missionaries in Mexico.

Martha Ann Burgard, class of ’66, Gadsden, Ala., earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo and became a certified instructor in this Korean-style martial art three years ago. In 2006, she was named Ms. Senior Etowah County. More recently, Burgard became a certified master gardener through Auburn University’s County Extension Program. In 1985, Burgard was instrumental in setting up an endowed scholarship fund in the name of her deceased father, Michael Burgard. Since then, 39 full-time undergraduates who met the selection criteria of the endowment have benefited from the annual earnings provided by it.

David (Dave) J. Miller ’64, Goshen, Ind., has retired from Goshen College. He served Goshen as a biology professor from 1988 to 2011 (chairing the biology department for the last four years) and as program director at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center from 1988 to 2008. He helped establish the environmental science major, helped plan the master’s in environmental education, and conducted field research at Merry Lea by developing significant insect and plant collections. He established an official bird-banding program with The Institute for Bird Populations. Dave holds a doctorate from Michigan State University.

Calvin L. Miller ’66, Abingdon, Va., an ophthalmologist with the Johnson City (Tenn.) Eye Clinic, has devoted more than a dozen years to short-term volunteer service in Mexico with Medical Ministry International, usually doing cataract surgery. Calvin also serves with Remote Area Medical – doing health screenings over three-day weekends – in Wise, Va., and Bristol, Tenn. Calvin earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia and did his residency in ophthalmology at the University of Kentucky, where he was chief resident. He founded Eye Physicans of Southwest Virginia in the early 1980s, where he worked for decades. He joined the Johnson City practice in 2010.

Lowell E. Bender ’67, Bittinger, Md., reported in the  March 2011 issue of the Brotherhood Beacon of the Conservative Mennonite Conference about his two-year experience (1961-63) as a Pax volunteer with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), constructing new houses for families whose homes were destroyed in Germany, Austria and Greece during WWII. Lowell has been dean of continuing education at Garrett College, a community college in McHenry, Md., chair of the Garrett County Community Action Board, vice president of the Small Business Development Center, and a member of Western Maryland Workforce Investment Board and the Economic Development Corporation. He holds an MBA from Frostburg State University in western Maryland.

Milford Lyndaker ’68, MA ’87 (church ministries), Wardensville, W.Va., and his wife, Carolyn Zehr Lyndaker, are co-pastors of Crest Hill Community Church in Wardensville. Milford and Carolyn were invited to Wardensville in 2001 in a revitalization/church planting effort at Crest Hill. They have focused on learning to know and work with other church leaders in the community and to encourage and collaborate with them in their ministries. As an affirmation of their influence in the community, Milford and Carolyn were chosen by the fire department as the king and queen of the Fall Festival in Wardensville. They are the parents of two graduates from EMU:  Keith Lyndaker Schlabach ’91 and Cheryl Lyndaker Martin ’94.


Shirley Baer ’71 Kurtz, Keyser W.Va., saw her novel, Sticking Points, released in February 2011 by DreamSeeker Books, an imprint of Cascadia Publishing House. It concerns wayward Anna Schlonneger. At church, the protagonist can’t join the redeemed-by-the-blood hymns with her former aplomb. An article she’s written for Gospel Truth magazine had been rejected by the editor. Did he think he could duck the thorny truth, not publishing “A Two-faced God?!” Was he worried that her soul-baring would ruffle the readership? If your curiosity is piqued, read Sticking Points. Shirley is also the author of four books aimed at youthful readers: Birthday Chickens (1969), Growing Up Plain (1969), Applesauce (1992), and The Boy and the Quilt (2001).

Kenton Derstine ’72, Harrisonburg, Va. co-led a workshop at  the March 10-13, 2011, meeting of the Mennonite Health assembly in San Antonio, Tex., on the steps necessary to become a board certified chaplain and a clinical pastoral education (CPE) supervisor. He also addressed the Mennonite Chaplains Association. Kenton is director of CPE and field education at EMU. He holds an MDiv from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

Dorothy Jean Weaver ’72, Harrisonburg, Va., departed from Cairo, Egypt, before the end of her 2010-11 sabbatical due to the unrest there in early 2011. She completed the final weeks of her sabbatical at Associated Mennonite Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Ind. Dorothy Jean was on the AMBS campus Feb. 24-April 2, 2011, writing a paper entitled “Jesus as Political Leader within Matthew’s Narrative.” Dorothy Jean is professor of New Testament at EMU.  Her PhD is from Union Theological Seminary.

Roger J. Kauffman ’73, Bellefontaine, Ohio, was named 2010 Ohio Family Physician of the Year by the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians. Roger earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., and completed his family medicine residency program at University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. Roger has been practicing  family medicine for 30 years at Oakhill Medical Associates in West Liberty, Ohio. He has an extensive list of volunteer activities and community involvement, including starting Habitat for Humanity of Logan County with his wife; tutoring anatomy students in preparation for the Science Olympiad; engaging in mission trips to Haiti and Honduras; and serving as resident doctor for Green Hills Community Care Center. He is also active in Jubilee Mennonite Church, and received the Mary Rutan Hospital Physician of the Year Award in 2009. Roger practices medicine with his son, Ryan Dale Kauffman ’99, who earned his MD at Ohio State University.

Joan   L. Miller ’73 Steininger, St. Catharines, Ontario, Can., and her spouse, Phillip, have worked for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) since 2009. They are co-managers of Christian Benefit Thrift Shop in St Catharines. After staying at home with their children for a number of years, Joan worked as an elementary school librarian in Palmer Lake, Colo., for 20 years. During that time, she returned to school to get her teaching license and assisted with reading instruction in addition to her librarian work. Joan and Phillip are members of Mountain Community Mennonite Church in Palmer Lake, Colo., their permanent home.

Timothy R. Detweiler ’76, Washington, Iowa, who had earlier served as the conference minister in one region of the Central Plains Mennonite Conference, for the entire conference, working with David Boshart 86, MA ’87 (religion), the new executive conference minister.

Diana Hooley ‘76, Hammet, Idaho, has completed a PhD in literacy in 2011 at Boise State University and is now an assistant professor of education at Idaho State University.

Linda Gehman Peachey ’76 and her husband, Titus Peachey, class of ’72, of Lancaster, Pa., returned to Laos in November 2010 for an international meeting of about 1,000 government officials and nongovernmental organizations opposed to the use of cluster munitions. They began working for MCC in Laos in 1981, six years after the Vietnam War ended. At the time, the fields were strewn with bomlets – tennis-ball-sized bombs originally held inside U.S. cluster bombs. During their five-year term, the Peacheys developed what has proved to be a life-long passion to help the people of Laos deal with 80 million unexploded bomblets.


Thomas (Tom) Garlitz ’82, Joliet, Ill., was recognized by Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., with the De La Salle Award during a ceremony on March 27, 2011. This award is presented each year to individuals who provide extraordinary service and leadership for the benefit of the community and region. In 1988, Tom earned a degree in pastoral ministry from St. Francis University, Loretto, Pa.  In 1987, he founded the People of God’s Glory, an ecumenical community in Hollidaysburg, Pa., and served as its pastoral leader. He also assisted in beginning Altoona New Day, a Christian ministry for at-risk children, youth and families. Tom has served as director of the peace and social justice ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Joliet in Illinois since 1992, helping facilitate a growing network of persons, faith-based groups and parishes that advocate for social justice and peace, both locally and globally. He co-founded and directs Partnership in Mission, sending medical, construction and education teams to Bolivia, Ecuador, Kenya, the Philippines and the Navajo Nation.

Gary Nafziger-Meiser ’85, Boise, Idaho, single-handedly took it upon himself several years ago to start a small development project in Zambia in an effort to make an impoverished community  self-sustaining. With limited outside resources, he began with a tree nursery in one village. He makes annual trips to the project to monitor its impact. The Hyde Park Mennonite Fellowship congregation, where his spouse, Linda Nafziger-Meiser ’74, is pastor, sponsored five additional village nurseries. By the end of this season, they hope to have planted approximately 38,000 trees in the badly deforested Mapangazya District. Gary is also planning to introduce rocket stoves, which can burn twigs and field rubbish for cooking and boiling water instead of the large chunks of wood and charcoal, which generate unhealthy smoke.

Michael (Mick) K. Sommers ’85, Lancaster, Pa., was installed as lead pastor at Ridgeview Mennonite Church in Gordonville, Pa., on Jan. 30, 2011. Mick’s previous ministerial experience includes pastor of Hively Avenue Mennonite Church, Elkhart, Ind.; pastor of Miami Mennonite Church, Kokomo, Ind.; and chaplain of Harbor Light Hospice of Indiana.

David W. Boshart ’86, MA ’87 (religion), Parnell, Iowa, is the new executive conference minister of Central Plains Mennonite Conference. He said: “In order to understand the nature of our conference, I, along with Tim [Timothy R. Detweiler ’76, Washington, Iowa] and Shana [Shana Peachey ’85 Boshart, David’s spouse], will visit with leaders and members of each of our conference congregations by mid-November. I hope this time of listening will lay the foundation for discerning the direction of mission and vision for our conference.” Shana has been the conference youth minister since the inception of Central Plains Mennonite Conference in 2000.

Bonnie Zehr ’86, Lancaster, Pa., a pediatrician with Roseville Pediatrics, has been the lead phyisican for six years in a home-health project directed at children and youth with special health care needs. Zehr writes: “In early March, Roseville applied to NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) for national recognition for our Medical Home Project and learned recently of receiving our Level 3 status, which is the highest level for Medical Home Recognition. The application was tedious and complex so we were excited to hear of our recognition.” Bonnie’s medical degree is from Temple University.

Joy L. Lapp ’87, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, has earned a PhD in biblical literature from the University of Denver/Illiff School of Theology. She is an assistant professor of religion at Iowa Wesleyan College. She was introduced to Israel and Palestine on EMU’s “Jerusalem Term” in 1981, led by Ray Gingerich ’60, SEM ’61, who is now professor emeritus of theology and ethics and director of the Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society. She is on the National Steering Committee of Friends of Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian organization based in Jerusalem. She leads an annual study-trip to Jerusalem to help participants learn more about the conflict and how to advocate for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

Douglas (Doug) Hertzler ’88, Mt. Rainier, Md., associate professor of anthropology and associate director of EMU’s Washington Community Scholars’ Center was a panelist on May 16, 2011, during a meeting of the United Nations (UN) Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN headquarters in New York City. Doug’s presentation was entitled “What Integrity? The Legacy of Racism in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.” In a blog posted Feb. 10, 2011, on the American Anthropological Association website, Doug explained that “numerous studies by anthropologists have shown coca chewing or acullico to be a benign practice with nutritional and medicinal benefits that is central to the religion and cultural identities of indigenous peoples.” He also said that banning coca chewing by indigenous peoples conflicts with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Doug lived in Bolivia for six years, four years as a community development worker with Mennonite Central Committee and two years conducting research on Bolivian social movements and land reform. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in anthroplogy from the University of Iowa.

Larry Guengerich ’89 became the director of communications for Landis Homes, a continuing care retirement community in Lititz, Pa., on April 25, 2011. Larry is working with the CEO and leadership team to develop communications strategies that support and achieve Landis Homes’ strategic plan, extend the vision and mission consistent with its guiding values, and assist with planning and communication with stakeholders. Landis Homes is an agency of Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Larry served as MCC’s media and education coordinator 2000 to 2007. From  2007 to 2011, he served as communications coordinator for MCC East Coast. Larry holds a post-bachelor’s diploma in corporate communications from Elizabethtown College.

Patricia Grace King ’89, Chicago, Ill., is an English professor at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. One of her short stories, “The Death of Carrie Bradshaw,” won the 2011 Kore Press Award for Short Fiction and will be published as a chapbook in the fall of 2011 by Kore. This short story also received an honorable mention for the 2010 Dana Award, which recognizes excellent fiction and poetry. Her “Dogs in Guatemala” was a finalist in the Ohio State University’s 2009 short story contest and won Honorable Mention for the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. It was published in Nimrod International Literary Journal. Patricia earned a PhD in English at Emory University in Georgia and is now pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. She majored in English and Spanish at EMU.

Kurtis (Kurt) Sauder ’89, Lyndhurst, Va., a pediatrician with Blue Ridge Pediatrics in Staunton, Va., has been volunteering his medical services to a community originally known as Grippis Farm outside of Lusaka, Zambia. On two separate two-week trips, he has done health screenings for elementary school children and HIV screenings. Kurt volunteers under the auspices of a new nonprofit, Grassroots Heroes International (, formed in February 2008 by a small group of Christians from Staunton, Va., and vicinity. The group supports the development of Grippis Farm, a former squatter’s settlement, on all fronts: health, education, and training for income-generation. Kurt received his MD from the University of Virginia medical school in 1993, where he also completed his pediatrics training. He served as chief pediatrics resident at UVa in 1996-97.


Michelle Witmer ’91 Dula, Lancaster, Pa., began her role as associate pastor of congregational life at Akron Mennonite Church in Akron, Pa., on Feb. 20, 2011. Previously, she was associate pastor of Christian formation at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa.
Douglas (Doug) King ’92, MA ’01 (church leadership), Wauseon, Ohio, was installed as the lead pastor on September 26, 2010, at Tedrow Mennonite Church, just north of Wauseon, Ohio.

Philip (Phil) ’94 and Therese (Terry) Phipps ’94 Witmer, formerly of  Dayton, Va., are  serving under Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMM) in La Mesa, Colombia. Phil works with agriculture and Terry works at Colegio Americano Menno. They serve in partnership with Mennonite Mission Network.

Allen Umble ’95 of Atglen, Pa., has been a missionary under VMM in Tirana, Albania, since 2008. Working in Lushnje, Albania, Allen teaches discipleship formation and English. Allen also provides oversight to the YES team serving in the agricultural villages near Lushnje. His home congregation is Maple Grove Mennonite Church in Atglen.

Christine Glick Fairfield ’97, Staunton, Va.,  was a featured soprano during the 19th annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, June 12 to June 19, 2011. After earning a BA in music with a concentration in voice from EMU, Christine earned her MM in vocal performance and pedagogy from Ohio University’s School of Music , where she studied under the late Dr. Ira Zook. She has performed extensively as a chorus member and soloist with a variety of groups including the Operafestival di Roma, the Rockefeller Chapel Choir of Chicago University, Canticum Novum of New York City, the Louisville Bach Society, Schola Cantorum of Waynesboro, Va., the Bloomington Chamber Singers and the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society.  She appears regularly as a soloist with the Rockbridge Choral Society in Lexington, Va.  She teaches voice at Bridgewater College south of Harrisonburg.

David A. Whitten ’97 (certificate of biblical studies), MDiv ’00, Waterloo, Iowa, has been the pastor of South Waterloo Church of the Brethren since May 2009. He served six years as pastor of Moscow Church of the Brethren in Mt. Solon, Va. He also spent two periods of service in Nigeria. From 2006 to 2009, he was the mission coordinator for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. While in Nigeria, David met his future wife, Judith.

Melissa Spory ’98 Beidler, Denver, Pa., has been the director of development for Hinkletown Mennonite School since November 2010. Her husband, Lyle, class of ’98, is the senior mechanical engineer at MGS, Inc., a specialty trailer manufacturer in their hometown.

Joanna Yoder ’98 Heatwole, Pittsford, N.Y, is the co-director/producer of “A Song for My Sister,” a documentary about a Congolese family that survived genocide and is trying to find its way in the United States. In seeking to raise tuition money for war orphans, the siblings in the family begin to heal through rediscovering traditional practices of music and dance. Joanna is a 2004 graduate of the Visual Studies Workshop under the State College of New York at Brockport. From 2006 through 2010, she was an assistant professor of time-based media at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. She is now fully occupied with twins born on June 3, 2011.

Anje Ackerman ’99 and Philip (Phil) Cassel ’02, Raphine, Va., with their children, Everett and John, have been appointed by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to serve three-year assignments in Mache, Zambia. Anje, who earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and nursing degree from EMU, is working as an antiretroviral therapy nurse. Phil also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from EMU. He works with the maintenance department at Mach Hospital. The Cassels attended Staunton Mennonite Church in Staunton, Va.

Ervin R. Stutzman, MA ’99 (religion), Harrisonburg, Va., executive director of Mennonite Church USA, is the author of a new book, From Nonresistance to Justice: The Transformation of Mennonite Church Peace Rhetoric, 1908-2008. The book is available from Mennonite Publishing Network at  Ervin has two master’s degrees – one earned at EMU’s seminary  – and a PhD in communication from Temple University.


Christopher Clymer Kurtz ’00 and his spouse, Maria Clymer ’00 Kurtz, Linville, Va., report that “The Clymer Kurtz Band” has released an all-original, six-song album, “Statements and Clues,” available through iTunes and

Patrick ’00, MDiv ’06, and Christine Lehman Nafiziger ’00, MA ’06 (church leadership), Millersburg, Ohio, were ordained on June 27, 2010, as co-pastors of Millersburg Mennonite Church.

Patience Kamau ’02, Harrisonburg, Va., has moved to being EMU’s assistant director of institutional research & effectiveness. Patience previously worked in EMU’s alumni and parent relations office for eight years as office assistant and computer systems coordinator.

Eloy Rodriguez ’03, New Providence, Pa., teaches grade five at New Danville Mennonite School, part of the Lancaster Mennonite School system. His spouse, Rebecca (Becky) Lengacher ’04, works in human resources at Quality Stone, Quarryville, Pa. Eloy and Becky attend East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa.

Ross Kauffman ’03, GC’ 04, Indianapolis, Ind., joined the faculty at Bluffton University on July 1, 2011. He teaches in the newly formed public health program, which he helped Bluffton develop as a consultant for the past two years. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in public health from Ohio State University.

Eve Aeschliman ’04 Knepp, Bridgewater, Va., and her husband, Rodney, and their children, Maya and Micah, are preparing to move to Jamaica in August 2011 to begin a two-year term with Virginia Mennonite Missons (VMM). Both Eve and Rodney have had extensive overseas mission experience. Rodney has served in Haiti, Nepal and India. Eve has served in Haiti, Mexico, Kenya and Zimbabwe. They will be “teaching and working to meet the needs of those around them ”in the Maranatha School of the Deaf in St. Elizabeth.

Sabrina Strong ’05, Lancaster, Pa., works as an information technician recruiter in the information technology division for engineering and accounting of JFC Global, a professional recruiting placement company in Lancaster, Pa.

Michael Zucconi ’05, Harrisonburg, Va., has  been named EMU’s news bureau director within the department of marketing and communications. Mike joined the department when long-time public information officer Jim Bishop retired after 40 years of continous service in June 2011. Mike was EMU’s sports information director from 2006 to 2009; for 2007-08, he was named Sports Information Director of the Year for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Mike and his wife, Stephanie Roth ’05 Zucconi, moved to Kansas in 2009 for Mike to complete an MEd in sports management at Wichita State University. Mike’s graduate studies also involved coursework in mass communications and in social media. Stephanie worked in admissions at Hesston College during this time.

Dana Herman Breeding ’06, Staunton, Va., is a registered nurse at Augusta Health in the Community Wellness Department. After earning her first degree from Virginia Tech, where she majored in exercise science and minored in nutrition, Dana worked as a health educator in both Virginia and Tennessee. In 2005 – after helping her mother survive a heart attack – Dana enrolled in EMU to earn a nursing degree. Dana works in community outreach. “Companies, churches, schools and civic organizations invite us to come out and do screenings and answer questions about preventative health care,” she told a local reporter.

Patricia Hendricks ’06, Harrisonburg, Va., was licensed on Jan. 16, 2011, at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church for chaplaincy ministry at Mercy House in Harrisonburg.

Maria Landis ’06 Rodriguez, MS ’08 (counseling), Keezletown, Va., a teacher at Skyline Middle School in Harrisonburg, has been named “Honored Teacher of the Year,” based on an essay written by one of her students. Maria received this recognition at a ceremony on May 5, 2011, for the Massanutten Regional Library’s 15th annual Robert B. and Gladys Hopkins Strickler Honored Teachers Writing Contest.

Christopher (Chris), MDiv ’06, and Melody Kratz ’94 Riddle, with their three children, Micah, Adam, and Isaiah, have served under VMM, assisting the Centro Koinonia congregation in Bari, Italy, since 2007. Chris and Melody work with family ministries, worship, friendship evangelism and literature distribution. They are members of Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va.

Debra (Debbie) Boese Horst ’07, Harrisonburg, Va., was elected to Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the highest honor accorded to a dental student in the graduating class of 2011 at Virginia Commonwealth University. “A maximum of 12% of the senior class can be selected for this honor,” reports Dr. J. Robert Eshleman, class of 1956, who has been a member of the dental school faculty at this university for more than five decades. The honorees are selected from the top 25% of the class and must be endorsed by three-quarters of the voting faculty members, who themselves are OKU members, explains Eshleman, who was invited into OKU when he graduated from MCV in 1960. Debbie is married to Mark Horst ’05 and is starting her career as an associate in the practice of Douglas Wright, DDS, in Harrisonburg.

Peter Eberly, MDiv ’07, Harrisonburg, Va., initiated Eastside Church in 2010, a church planting venture in Harrisonburg in association with VMM. Peter serves as lead pastor of this new congregation seeking Christ, serving the community, teaching others and joining in worship. Eastside Church’s primary focus is ministering to young people and persons who are not active in the Christian faith community.

Cynthia (Cindy) Voth, MDiv ’07, Harrisonburg, Va., was ordained as associate pastor of youth and family life at Lindale Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg on Jan. 23, 2011.

Rachael Penman ’08, Washington, D.C., received her master’s degree in museum studies from George Washington University in May 2011. She has been employed as the private events manager at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment since graduating from EMU. On a contractual basis, Rachael has worked on an exhibit for the White House Historical Association and been hired to work on an upcoming exhibit about the War of 1812 for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Matthew Swartley ’08, Harrisonburg, Va., works for Eastern Bioplastics of Mt. Crawford, Va., a company whose products are making news nationally. An article posted at on May 10, 2011, describes how this small start-up company, with fewer than a dozen employees, is using chicken feathers to make biodegradable plastic products. As the Fox article explains, most of the plastic on the market is made from petroleum. Feathers are an environmentally lighter alternative, and they possess keratin, a protein fiber that forms a hard bond. At full production, the article said Eastern Bioplastics can take the equivalent of 7,500 barrels of crude oil out of the market each year.

Paul Fike Stutzman, MA ‘09 (religion), recently published an expanded version of his MA thesis, entitled “Recovering the Love Feast: Broadening our Eucharistic Celebrations,” with Wipf and Stock publishers, Paul is a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren. He lives with his wife, Karen, and their two children, Kaylee and Joshua, in Rocky Mount, Va.

Rodney, MDiv ’09, and Lindsey Yancey ’04 of Stuarts Draft, Va., have served under VMM, teaching vocational classes at Maranatha School for the Deaf, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, since 2009. Rodney and Lindsey relate to Ridge Mennonite Fellowship, a congregation of Jamaica Mennonite Church.


Grace Hercyk ’10, Bath, N.Y., was appointed by Mennonite Central Committee to a three-year assignment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as a peace advisor. Grace majored in justice, peace and conflict studies. She previously attended Pleasant Valley Mennonite Church in Hammondsport, N.Y.

Grace Schrock-Hurst ’10, Harrisonburg, Va., is serving in Indonesia for three years with Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor, an evangelical ministry begun 25 years ago in the slums of Manila. It is approved by Virginia Mennonite Missions (VMM). Grace majored in culture, religion and missions at EMU.

Marsha Kanagy ’10, Timberville, Va., is serving under VMM in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She works with a church planting team, Bible studies, children, and immigrant ministries in partnership with Eastern Mennonite Missions. Marsha is a member of Zion Mennonite Church, Broadway, Va.

Byron Pellecer ’10 (certificate of ministry studies), Harrisonburg, Va., is the pastor of Iglesia Discipular Anabautista, an emerging Hispanic congregation that meets at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church. Byron is planning to pursue a master’s degree.


Karen Hertzler ’95 to Brady Crist, July 4, 2009.


Loren ’87 and Keri Bontrager ’96 Mast, Linville, Va., Brady Dennis, Oct. 28, 2010.

Steven ’91 and Charlotte Gascho ’91 Hunsberger, Souderton, Pa., Lily Chen, Dec. 9, 2010.

Matthew (Matt), class of ’97, and Monica Hochstedler Carlson, Harrisonburg, Va., Jillian Marie, March 23, 2011.

Joanna Yoder ’98 and Chad Heatwole, Pittsford, N.Y., David Samuel and Maria Irene, June 3, 2011.

Melissa Spory ’98 and Lyle Beidler, class of ’98, Denver, Pa., Mae Karalyn, Feb. 25, 2011.

James ’98 and Tahna Evers, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Landon Scott, Aug., 4, 2010.

Ryan ’99 and Angela (Angie) Longenecker ’02 Strite, Harrisonburg, Va., Graham Elliot, March 30, 2010.

Timothy (Tim) ’00 and Amy Neil ’00 Good, MA’03 (counseling),  Weyers Cave, Va., Amelia Rose, April 21, 2011.

Leah Emery ’00 and Jeremy Kratz ’99, Harrisonburg, Va., Anderson John and Nolan Jeremiah, May 5, 2011.

Katherine (Katie) Goins ’01 and Thomas Frewen, West Hartford, Conn., Ciara Elizabeth, Mar. 12, 2011.

Janelle’01, and Jason Myers-Benner ’99, Keezletown, Va., Alida Hazel Sarina Myers, March 26, 2011.

 Amy Sommers ’01 and Mark Shelly, Uniontown, Ohio, Caroline Sarah, March 28, 2011.

Jaclyn (Jackie) Lederman ’02, MA ’08 (counseling), and Joshua (Josh) Suderman ’03, Ann Arbor, Mich., Ava Grace, Jan. 10, 2010.

Bethany (Beth) Bontrager ’02 and Bradley Yoder ’02, Durham, N.C., Evelyn Rose, Mar. 15, 2011.

Brandi Tappy ’03 and Jason Breeden, Shenandoah, Va., Michael Thomas, Feb. 19, 2011.

Matthew (Matt), MA ’03 (counseling), and Heather Brubaker, MA ’05 (counseling), Bridgewater, Va., Joshua Maxwell, Sept. 9, 2010.

Amanda Sanders ’03, ’05 (graduate certificate), Harrisonburg, Va., and Charles Mullen, Aiyana Rose, Nov. 27, 2010.

Eloy ’03 and Rebecca (Becky) Lengacher  Rodriguez ’04, New Providence, Pa., Joel Andrew, Dec. 22, 2010.

Gievanne ’04 and Angel L. Garcia, Grand Prairie, Texas, Angel Luis Garcia III, May 22, 2011.

Kimberly Thomas ’04 and C. William (Bill) Harner ’03, Timberville, Va., Connor Andrew, May 1, 2011.

Laura Helmuth ’04  and Asa Church, York, Pa., Jericho Fay, Jan. 25, 2011.

Daniel, MA ’04 (conflict transformation), and Alys Malec, Washington, D.C., Oscar Timothy, Feb. 26, 2011.

Eve Aeschliman ’04 and Rodney Knepp, Harrisonburg, Va., Micah Reid, Feb. 8, 2011.

Jillian (Jill) Fairweather ’05 and Nathan Enslen, Harrisonburg Va., Autumn Willow, April 26, 2011.

Kathleen Riley Steele ’09 and Matt Kitchen, Gainesville, Va., Roslyn Moran, Dec. 24, 2010.


Hazel E. Bennett ’36 Baer Metzler, Chambersburg, Pa., died at Menno Haven Retirement Community in Chambersburg on Dec. 17, 2010, at the age of 94. Hazel married Amos Baer on April 10, 1939.  Amos died in a vehicle accident near Hagerstown, Md. on June 24, 1976. She then married Isaac (Ike) John Metzler on May 6, 1978. The Metzlers lived in Plant City, Fla., Cumberland, Md., and Harrisonburg, Va., where Ike died on Sept. 23, 2001. After Ike’s death, Hazel moved to Menno Haven Retirement Community in 2005. Hazel was a creative homemaker and hostess. She took great satisfaction in the restoration of “Paradise Manor,” the ancestral home of Amos Bear near Hagerstown, Md. With her son, Franklin, she published a lifetime collection of poetry, memories and essays in 2009, entitled Creative Reflections of a Young Woman. Hazel was a member of Pinto Mennonite Church in Pinto, Md., Cumberland Mennonite Church and North Side Mennonite Church in Hagerstown.

Irvin Buckwalter Horst ’39, died April 23, 2011, at the age of 95 at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Harrisonburg, Va. He was a well-known scholar who devoted his life to the Anabaptist faith, its message of peace, and its history. As a conscientious objector during WWII, Irvin served in Civilian Public Service in Grottoes, Va. Later, he was a war relief worker for Mennonite Central Committee in France and the Netherlands. After completing graduate studies there, he became a dedicated teacher of Anabaptist history and English literature at Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU) from 1955 to 1966. He worked to develop the Menno Simons Historical Library at EMU, including bringing at least 12,000 books, both rare and contemporary, to EMU. In 1966, he was invited to fill a newly created chair in Mennonite history at the University of Amsterdam, a position he held until 1985. He is the author of  numerous scholarly and historical works, including Menno Simons, 500 years, 1496-1996; Joseph Funk: Early Mennonite Printer and Publisher; and The Radical Brethren: Anabaptism and the English Reformation to 1558.

Dorothy Geil ’41 Miller, Gulfport, Miss., died at the age of 90 on Dec. 28, 2010. Dorothy was a life-long member of  Gulfhaven Mennonite Church, where she led the Ladies Bible Study, taught Sunday school, and participated in the Ladies Sewing and Quilting Group. She retired from teaching after 30 years with the Harrison County School System and Gulfport Schools. Dorothy was also involved with Gideons International Auxiliary.

Ruth Peachey ’50, Florence, Ala., died in the Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence at the age of 86 on May 8, 2011. Ruth was the first woman graduate of EMC to progress to earning a doctor of medicine degree; her initial motivation was to provide health care to women in India who did not wish to be treated by a male physician. She received her MD from Hahnemann Medical School in  Philadelphia, Pa., in 1954 and completed a year of internship. She practiced family medicine in Grantsville, Md., from 1955 to 1958. Ruth then continued her education at Temple University Medical Center and Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, both in Philadelphia, during the following four years. Ruth researched and  produced a thesis entitled “Family Patterns of Illness: A Study in Family Interaction.” Upon completion of her residency, she was granted a MS in psychiatry degree by Temple University in 1962. Ruth was an instructor in psychiatry at Temple University for two years and subsequently worked as a senior research scientist at Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatry Institute until 1966. She was also a consultant in community health programs. In her private practice, she provided individual and family psychotherapy. She was listed in the tenth edition of Who’s Who of American Women.

Sarah Yoder ’52 Scott died March 27, 2011, at Fairmount Homes, Ephrata, Pa., where she had received nursing care for almost two years. Sarah received a BS in elementary education from Eastern Mennonite College (now EMU) and a master’s degree from James Madison University. She taught all eight grades at Maxwell Hill near Morgantown, Pa., junior high at Oley Mennonite School, Mexican migrant kindergarten children in Mathas, Tex., second grade in Churchtown, Pa., Navajo Indian children on the reservation at Ganado, Ariz., and second grade at the American School in Campanis, Brazil. She later taught migrant children in Kennett Square, Pa. While living in Delaware, she was active in the life of Green Hill Presbyterian Church, as well as a neighborhood Bible Study Group. Sarah maintained her congregational membership in Conestoga Mennonite Church.

Paul Melvin Schrock ’58, Harrisonburg, Va., died April 18, 2011, at age 75, at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Va., as a result of head injuries sustained in an April 15 fall. A lifelong lover of the written word, Paul had just finished a shift of volunteer work at the Menno Simons Historical Library at EMC, surrounded by books, where he was most happy. Paul graduated from Western Mennonite School in Salem, Ore., in 1954, from EMU in 1958 and from Syracuse University in 1963 with a master’s in journalism. He taught at Alden (NY) Mennonite School for one year before beginning a 41-year career with Mennonite Publishing House in Scottdale, Pa. His roles included assistant to the editor of Gospel Herald, editor of the children’s magazine Words of Cheer, and founding editor of Purpose magazine. From 1972 to 1988, Paul was Herald Press Trade Books editor. Later, he became vice president of publishing. From 1970 to 1972, on leave from the publishing house, Paul lived in Harrisonburg, where he continued to edit Purpose magazine and worked for Mennonite Broadcasts Inc., as editor of Alive Magazine and producer of “The Mennonite Hour” and “The Way to Life” radio programs. He also taught linguistics, rhetoric and photography classes at EMC during that time. Paul was active in the local community, his congregation and on church-wide boards. He also built a successful stock photography business, developing and circulating images for purchase. After running Inn the Woods Bed & Breakfast with his wife June Bondage ‘57 Schrock in Scottdale for several years, the two retired to Harrisonburg to be closer to the next generation of their family.

Mary J. Miller ’59 Boley, Sarasota, Fla., died Feb. 2, 2010, at the age of 81. Mary graduated from the Conservative Mennonite Bible School in Berlin, Ohio, in 1955. She taught in public and private school for many years in Ohio and Florida. She had been a Shaklee representative since 1980.

Daniel (Dan) C. Miller ’59, Harrisonburg, Va., died April 19, 2011 at  age 79, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, where he had resided for a year. While attending EMC (EMU) he met his wife, Anna Mae (Anne) Miller, class of ’62, who survives. Dan had been employed as a counselor with the public school system. He resided in Alberta, Canada, for several years before settling in Columbus, Ohio, for 41 years. He was a member of the Columbus Mennonite Church prior to moving to Virginia, where he became a member of Shalom Mennonite Church.

Wayne Edward (Ed) Shank, class of ’65, Tigard, Ore., died April 11, 2011, at the age of 67. He completed high school at Western Mennonite School in Salem, Ore. While at EMC (now EMU), he met his future wife, Fern Nofziger ’64, who survives. After their marriage, they moved to Portland, Ore., for Wayne to complete his 1W Service as a conscientious objector at Good Samaritan Hospital. Wayne was always active in his church. He loved singing and photography. He worked for more than a decade as a systems analyst for the Port of Portland and for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Ivan Jonas Rohrer ’66, Dayton, Va., died April 6, 2011, at the age of 93 in his home. His first wife, Anna Sheeler Rohrer, died in 1979 after 37 years of marriage. Three years later, he married Martha Hartzler ’69, who survives. Ivan was attending EMC when WWII caused him to be called into Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector. He served at Sideling Hill Camp, Bowie Md., and a Massachusetts dairy farm. After the war he went into farming in Royersford, Pa., for three years. He was then ordained to the Christian ministry by Franconia Mennonite Conference, Pa. He served in mission work from 1949 to 1962, establishing a church in Bartonsville, Vt. In 1962, he moved to Harrisonburg to resume earning a bachelor’s degree in religion and history. After graduating, he taught religious studies and history at Eastern Mennonite High School for a couple of years until he bought Rockingham Motel in Harrisonburg, which he owned for 13 years. After marrying Martha in 1982, they lived in Shippensburg where they attended Diller Mennonite Church. They returned to Harrisonburg in 1991, where they joined Park View Mennonite Church and later Dayton Mennonite Church. For many years, Ivan drove a school bus and taxi service for the Old Order Communities in the Shippensburg and  Rockingham County areas.

Henry Paul Yoder ’66, Peoria, Ariz., died March 22, 2010, at Glendale, Ariz., at age 81, from a stroke. He had been pastor of Boyertown Mennonite Church, Boyertown, Pa., Plains Mennonite Church, Lansdale, Pa., and Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Tucson, Ariz. Henry Paul and his wife, Mildred Clemens Yoder, served as missionaries in Cuba and Miami. He also served as mission secretary for Franconia Mennonite Conference and was MCC country representative in Guatemala.

Stanley (Stan) L. Benner ’68, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, died at age 65, of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Mar. 7, 2011, at K-W Health Centre of Grand River Hospital. After graduation from EMC, he was a volunteer with MCC at Warden Woods in Toronto, a low-income housing development. Stan then earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto. He worked as a counselor for several agencies in the greater Toronto area and in Calgary, Alberta. Most recently, he worked at the Mosaic Counseling and Family Services in Kitchener. Stan was a member of Rockway Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ont., Canada. Stan’s wife, Margaret (Meg), survives him.
Millard (Shep) A. Rexrode ’70, York, Pa., died Feb. 27, 2011, at the age of 65. Shep was the founder and pastor of Faith Covenant Christian Fellowship in York Haven, Pa. Previously, he served as an associate pastor of Christ Lutheran Church of Dallastown, Pa., and senior pastor of St. James Lutheran Church of Hallam, Pa. Shep was a 1964 graduate of Turner Ashby High school in Dayton, Va., and 1974 graduate of Lutheran Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C.

Mark Spence Tinsley ’10, Staunton, Va., died May 7, 2011, at the University of Virginia hospital. He was 53. Mark earned a BS in business management at EMU. He was co-owner of McCormick’s restaurant in Staunton and was instrumental in opening other restaurants there, including The Depot Grille in 1990. Since 2000, he had been a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments. Mark was active in many organizations, including the Y, Historic Staunton Foundation, Kiwanis, and the R.R. Smith Center for Art and History. He was active in Memorial Baptist Church, where he served as deacon, a member of the ushers, tellers and financial committees, and when called upon, a member of the “Desperation Singers.” He also served on the finance committee for the Virginia Baptist Board.

Kathryn (Kass) F. Seitz, Harrrisonburg, Va., a former member of the Eastern Mennonite University teaching faculty, died June 5, 2011, at Oak Lea nursing facility. She was 73. Seitz was a member of EMU’s education department faculty from 1979 to 1986. Her teaching specialty was elementary education. Her spouse, Kenneth L. Seitz Jr. ’60, who survives, taught in the department of Bible and religion at EMU while pursuing a doctoral program in Old Testament studies at Notre Dame University. While teaching at EMU, Kass compiled “A Working Bibliography of Peace Books for Children and Youth,” designed to help identify and teach concepts of compassion, justice, forgiveness and love in the classroom and in the home. Kass earned a BA degree in elementary education from Goshen College and an MS in education degree from Indiana University. She was a kindergarten teacher in South Texas in the early 1960s and then taught primary grades in Elkhart (Ind.) schools. She taught or supervised student teachers in several public and private university settings in addition to EMU. She was an English teacher at Bethlehem University, Bethlehem, West Bank, in the late 1970s and 1980s. Before retiring to Harrisonburg in July, 2009, the Seitzes served as country directors for Mennonite Central Committee in Beirut, Lebanon, for five years.


In the spring 2011 issue of Crossroads, a brief entry on page 48 for Jill Marie Eichorst ’96 Foley contained outdated information. Now living in Oregon, Foley was an adjunct instrumental music instructor at Northern Michigan University for eight weeks in early 2009 and played violin for the Marquette Symphony during the 2008-2009 season. Then she and her husband, Kevin, moved West, where she homeschools their two daughters. She blogs about her favorite charity, Compassion International, at

Degree Key

CLASS OF – attended as part of the class of a given graduation year, but did not complete studies here
HS – high school degree from era when high school and college were one
MA – master of arts
MDiv – master of divinity
PhD – doctoral degree
SEM – certificate or other studies at the seminary level

Mileposts is compiled by retired physician Paul T. Yoder ’50, MAL ’92, who may be reached at or at 540-432-4205. Feel free to send news directly to Paul or to the alumni office at