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Janzen, Bernard Henry (1896-2004) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Janzen, Bernard Henry (1896-2004)

Historical Note:

<em>Mennonite Weekly Review</em> obituary:

Bernard H. Janzen, who may have been the oldest retired Mennonite pastor, died Jan. 23, two days before his 108th birthday.

He served pastorates for 58 years, beginning in 1916 at Menno Mennonite Church in Watova, Okla., and ending in 1974 at Bethel Mennonite Church in Hydro, Okla.

"All the young people had a good education that I did not have, and it was time for the young and old to switch over," he told MWR in 1999 after his 103rd birthday, speaking of his retirement from pastoral ministry.

Janzen also served congregations in Polk Station, Ore.; Shafter, Calif.; Turpin, Okla.; Kingman; Lehigh; Cuauhtemoc, Mexico; and Madrid, Neb. He also was chaplain at Bethesda Nursing Home in Goessel. In all, his ministry service spanned more than 80 years.

He was the first conference minister in the Western District Conference.

At Turpin Mennonite Church he led morning services in English and evening services in German.

He was born Jan. 25, 1896, to Henry W. and Mary Goertz Janzen in Newton. He attended Hillsboro Bible Academy and Torrey Bible Institute in Los Angeles. After graduating from Hillsboro Bible Academy, he taught in the German school northeast of Hillsboro. He also taught Bible in Lehigh High School.

His parents moved to Oklahoma in 1914, so he went to help them. There he began serving his first congregation.

Besides his preaching and ministry, he worked as a farmer, carpenter, thresher, courier, crop insurance agent, store clerk and a cream and egg station operator. He also sharpened tools.

He played the organ, piano and violin, and played them by ear, as he had no formal education in music. On his 100th birthday, he played the piano at Bethesda Home.

On June 3, 1917, he married Cathryn Janzen in Oklahoma. She died Aug. 10, 1974. On Oct. 1, 1976, he married Marie Regier Franz at Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton. She died Dec. 12, 1994. Survivors include 11 grandchildren and numerous great-granchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

In addition to his wives, he was preceded in death by a son, Elmer; a daughter, Beulah Deckert; a niece, Irene Hill, whom he raised from age 4; four sisters and three brothers.

A memorial service was held at Bethel College Mennonite Church. Burial was in Halstead Cemetery.

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