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Wiebe, Willard W. (1917-1967) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Wiebe, Willard W. (1917-1967)

Historical Note:

obituary from Mennonite Weekly Review:

Willard W. Wiebe, son of Henry B. and Katie Enz Wiebe, was born in Newton, Kan. on April 24, 1917. He attended elementary school in Kansas, and at the age of 13 moved with his family to Aberdeen, Idaho, where he graduated from high school. He later furthered his education by receiving degrees from the Bible Theological Seminary of Los Angeles, Calif.; Bethel College, North Newton, Kan.; and Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Chicago, Ill.

Upon confession of faith, Willard was baptized in 1933 by John E. Kaufman in the First Mennonite Church, Aberdeen, Idaho. In 1947 he was ordained to eldership in the Menno Mennonite Church, Ritzville, Wash. This marked the beginning of a rich and varied 20-year period of service in the pastoral ministry. After serving the Menno Church in Ritzville from 1947-1955, the First Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, Minn. was served for nine years until 1964. His last pastorate was begun at the Salem Mennonite Church, Freeman, South Dakota in 1964 and continued till his death.

In addition to the ministry in these churches as a pastor he received many opportunities to share his gifts in a wider conference ministry. He completed terms as president of both the Northern and Pacific District Conferences and also held membership on various committees within these conferences. In 1953 he became a member of the General Conference Board of Missions and served as chairman since 1959.

Apart from his intense love for pastoral work, which included a particular interest in children and young people, the work of missions was his special concern. This concern was uniquely enriched in 1960 when, with his wife, he was given the opportunity to visit General Conference mission fields in Europe and Africa as a representative of the Board of Missions.

In 1947 Willard was united in marriage to Lois Mae Regier in the Bethel Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, with Erland Waltner officiating. To this union Ruth Ann, John Mark, Mary Katherine, and Lois Elizabeth were born. Willard's larger concern for parish and world ministries never dulled his enthusiasm for wholesome and creative family life. Knowing him as a husband and father of many interests stimulates a large portion of the fond memories that will remain in the years to come.

Until his final illness, Willard experienced good health and enjoyed stimulating physical activity. The first symptoms of an illness which was an enigma to the medical profession began to appear in the latter part of October. He entered Sioux Valley Hospital, Sioux Falls, S. D. on Nov. 16 where his illness was diagnosed as acute disseminated vasculitis. Apparently making progress toward recovery, he died unexpectedly at the age of fifty on Friday evening, Dec. 15, 1967.

In addition to his wife and children, who are all at home, Willard is survived by his mother, Mrs. Katie Wiebe of Canistota, S. D., Good Samaritan Home; three brothers, Walter, Karl, and Henry, all of Aberdeen, Idaho; and three sisters, Esther, Mrs. Henry Becker of Salem, Oregon, Florence, Mrs. Titus Nickel of Waxhaw, North Carolina, and Elsie, Mrs. Willard Epp of Marion, S. D.

Interment was in the Salem Mennonite Church Cemetery, which overlooks a valley that constantly stimulated and spoke to him as an expression of God's love and handiwork.

On Dec. 6, 1967 Willard made the following entry in his diary: "I am overwhelmed with the volume of mail coming from so many people everywhere expressing their concern and prayer. The meaning of this whole experience is too big to comprehend at once. It will unfold yet in weeks and months to come. God be praised and honored in it! I have wept tears of gratitude to God every day. The future? It is in the Lord's hand. He knows my deep desire to return once again to the ministry of His word. Surely he has had purpose in it all. I cannot thank and praise Him enough!"

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