The Bahia Vista Memorial Service

This is the second memorial service for Rhoda held at the Bahia Vista Mennonite Church, Sarasota, Florida.  It was different from the first memorial service held at College Mennonite Church, Goshen,  Indiana. This service brought together my few relatives who live in Florida and the many friends Rhoda had made during her 53 years in Florida.

Rhoda’s daughter, Rachel, her husband Eldon Stoltzfus, and Martin accompanied Rhoda’s cremains in the journey from Goshen, Indiana to Sarasota. Larry Diener, Minister of Worship at BVMC, helped Rachel and me plan the service and presided throughout.

The first segment of the service is Larry’s introductory thoughts and congregational singing of “It is Well with my Soul” and “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee.”

In a well worn Bible of Rhoda’s, Rachel found inside the back cover a list of songs based on verses of the Bible.  From this information Rachel compiled a list of Rhoda’s favorite verses.  Robert and Mary Bew are long-time friends and co-workers of Rhoda and me, and now lead the Sunday School class that we attended for the last ten years of life in Florida.  The family asked Robert and Mary to read these favorite verses recorded in the following segment.

As a youth Jean Stanley attended the 1950 Summer Bible School at the Ida St. Mennonite Church.  She became a member of the Mennonite Church and accepted an invitation conveyed by J. Paul Sauder to go to ennsylvania and attend Kraybills Mennonite School.  In subsequent years she graduated from Lancaster Mennonite School and Eastern Mennonite College (University) and received advanced degrees in childhood education.  Her husband, John Pfeiffer, died in an industrial accident. As a widow she raised a son and two daughters.  She is a member of the Bayshore Mennonite Church, and is about to retire from teaching in the public school system.  The family  asked Jean to read Rhoda’s obituary and make personal comments:

Rachel Stoltzfus, daughter of Rhoda and Martin pays tribute to her mother.

Rachel introduced Martin’s older brother John.  Next, Elizabeth, a birth sister of Conrad, Martin and Rhoda’s adopted son, gave tribute to Rhoda:

Walter Crawford, Rachel’s childood friend, and now an associate pastor at College Hill Mennonite Church gives tribute to Rhoda. (The technology failed here and the visual reproduction is not perfect, but the words are clear. We are attempting to correct this defect.)

Kathy Helmuth pays tribute to Rhoda.

David Brenneman pays tribute to Rhoda.

Last song, “Rain Down” and recessional.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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