FW Friends & Family
Stephen (Steve) Walley passed into the presence of the Lord March 16 after a long battle with ALS. He served the college as a piano instructor and as arranger for Benediction (1975) and Sounds Together (late 1980s). He also did many other recording sessions. Here is an example of his arrangement for Benediction: https://fwalumnicenter.org/celebrate/archives/archives-details.shtml?id=ad4372e0-4fe2-4cd9-8acd-d49ebfbeb278.
A memorial service for Steve will be held in the Fort Wayne area. Details will be announced at a later date.
Judy Martin (Hakes)
Leticia Starks-Underwood (Starks)
Dr. Leticia Starks-Underwood g13 published You Can Make It: A Kingdom Book of Encouragement Part I, the first in a series of books featuring testimonies from around the world that seek to encourage, empower, and inspire readers in their faith. She has also published a companion guided journal, I Know Who I Am in Christ, that prompts reflections on our identity in Christ. Leticia lives in Fort Wayne with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Jayelle.
Lindsay Stump (Thompson)
Lindsay (Thompson) Stump g09, owner of Organized to Save on YouTube, was featured in the March 2020 issue of Glo Magazine. The issue featured “mompreneurs” who have found a way to balance their family life while running successful businesses.
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Pam Dykehouse fs09, 60, passed away after fighting pancreatic cancer, on Thursday, July 18, 2019. Pam served at TUFW as the bookstore manager and later as bookkeeper until May 2009. Survivors include her husband, Tim, daughter, Jill (Dykehouse) Brosman fs06, son, Zach, and multiple grandchildren. Her memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 3 at Harvester Missionary Church.
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Angelo Mante g08 has returned to Fort Wayne to head Alive Community Outreach, an organization whose goal is "to cultivate a community of non-violence through relationship and education." Here is a PDF of the brochure regarding this organization.
Rick Schwartz g07 was named senior pastor of First Missionary Church in Berne in February 2019. He and his wife, Jamie (Knuth g07) had previously been at CrossPoint Community Church in Lima, OH for eight years. Rick grew up at First Missionary, where his dad, Jim g79 served as the youth pastor, Rick was a Pastoral Ministries major and held with great respect by his department chair, Dr. David Biberstein.
John Emenhiser g2005 passed away after a long battle with painful brain tumors. In recent years John helped as he was able with pastoral visits to hospitals and homes as a volunteer with the Pathway Church. He is survived by his wife, Danielle, and his three daughters. Those interested in contributing to the outstanding medical bills can send a donation to New Creation in care of Pathway Church.
Heather Burgette (Neilson)
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Alumna Overcomes Debt, Publishes First Book
After Heather (Neilson) Burgette g04 graduated from Taylor University Fort Wayne (TUFW), she ended up accumulating a lot more debt than she could handle. She moved to California for a few years, and when she returned to her home state of Indiana, she was a “hot mess.”
“I went bonkers financially,” she said. “I didn’t have any close friends or family to say, ‘What’s wrong with Heather?’ As I was adjusting to adult life, I made a lot of bad choices with my money. Some of them were actual emergencies, but I spent frivolously.”
To read her story, click on Heather's story
Heather’s book is available on Amazon.com as a Kindle eBook and as a paperback.
Tauna Batiste (Herrell)
It is my pleasure to announce that Tauna Batiste g03 will be joining our Batten Disease Support and Research Association team as Executive Director on May 20, 2019.
Daniel “Bo” Holden
Daniel “Bo” Holden g02 was recently named partner at Rothberg Logan & Warsco LLP in Fort Wayne. Bo has served with the law firm since October 2017.
Kelley Sewell (Wayne)
Kelley Wayne g01 and Kelly Lyn Sewell welcomed Lilliana “Lillie” Joy on April 10, 2019. Lillie weighed 7 lb. 6.9 oz. and was 19 ¾ in. long. Kelley serves as the adult ministries pastor at Grabill Missionary Church in Indiana.
Sarah McCown (Burke)
Sarah (Burke) g98 married Chris McCown on June 15, 2019
Joe Boway g95 continues his service with The Liberian Children’s Ministry. The ministry’s goal for 2020 is to reach 2020 new students and families with the gospel. They ask for your prayers as they work toward this goal and as he travels back and forth between Liberia and his home in Fort Wayne.
Leon and Anne Amstutz
We give thanks that former professor Leon, and his wife, Anne g95 Amstutz, survived an accident en route from their home in Elkhart, IN, to Berne, IN, on December 23, when their vehicle was hit twice in the same accident. While both went to the hospital, they are recovering and now home. Leon serves with SonSet Solutions in Elkhart, IN.
Doug Hood g93 published The Worship Unicorn: Ten Ways to Pursue Authentic and Engaging Worship. Doug currently serves as a musician, composer, and worship pastor at Central Ministries of Fort Wayne. He is also President of CSD Group, Inc., an award-winning design and integration firm that partners with churches to elevate their worship experiences through better audio, video, lighting, and acoustics. Doug and Kim (Butler) g91 live in Fort Wayne and have five children and two grandchildren.
Kathy Lauwers g92, 49, of Haskins, OH passed away on April 5, 2019. She had been a preschool teacher. Her obituary is posted
Patricia Vincent (Teall-Brinkman))
Patricia (Teall-Brinkman) Vincent g88 has started offering life coaching services to those who might be facing difficult choices, new challenges, transitions, or any other difficulty being faced in life. Set up by phoning or requesting an outline of coaching by emailing her at patriciateallvincent@
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Dr. Donovan Coley g86 received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Indiana Wesleyan University in November 2019. Donovan is the Executive Director of Fort Wayne Rescue Ministries.
Rev. Allen Sudmann g83 concluded an interim pastorate at Berne Evangelical Church, where he had served since September 2019.
Terry L. Diller g83, 57, of Elkhart, passed away early Saturday morning, May 18, 2019, at his home. Arrangements are pending at Billings Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 812 Baldwin Street, Elkhart. Arrangements are being made by Billings Funeral Home. See the following link for more details. https://www.billingsfuneralhome.com/notices/Terry-Diller
Ellen Hanson (Springer)
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William “Jung” Wall
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Dr. William “Jung” Wall g76, 65, of Middlebury, IN, went to be his Lord on August 16, 2018. He was a licensed minster with the North Central District of the Missionary Church. Survivors include his wife, Judy (Brinker) Wall g72.
Rebecca Leonard (Duff)
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THOMASTON — Rebecca Joy (Duff) Leonard , 67, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, passed on to her eternal reward on August 21, 2019, at the Sussman House.
Born in the Aroostook County town of Houlton, Maine, she was the daughter of Harold and Evelyn Smith Duff. She graduated from Fort Wayne Bible college with a degree in music education, and from the University of Southern Maine with a master’s degree in school administration.
Becky began teaching music in MSAD 50 on August 27, 1987. She taught vocal and general music K-12 at Lura Libby School, Thomaston Grammar School, and Georges Valley High School (GVHS).
In September 2000, she became fulltime vocal music teacher at Georges Valley High School until MSAD 50 merged with MSAD 5.
She then taught vocal music at Georges Valley High School and Rockland District High School (RDHS) for two years. When the two high schools combined she taught vocal, instrumental, and general music at Oceanside West and finished her career teaching vocal and general music at Oceanside Middle School.
Her motivation to teach music was inspired by her love of music and her love of her students.
In 1994, she developed a vision for providing a broader music experience for her students and began planning for the first GVHS Broadway musical. Over the next 17 years she produced and directed 17 musicals. She never met a challenge too great and when there was no money in the budget for a musical, she donated many long hours producing, directing and raising funds to cover costs.
Her musicals included 1995 Fiddler on the Roof, 1996 Hello Dolly, 1997 Oklahoma, 1998 The King and I, 1999 The Music Man, 2000 My Fair Lady, 2001 Fiddler on the Roof, 2002 Guys and Dolls, 2003 Hello Dolly, 2004 Singin’In The Rain, 2005 Cinderella, 2006 The Music Man, 2007 The Pajama Game, 2008 Crazy for You, 2009 Thoroughly Modern Millie, 2010 Fiddler on the Roof, and 2011 Hello Dolly.
She also raised funds with the assistance of Mrs. Angela Johnson and their students for annual trips to Portland Symphony’s The Magic of Christmas concerts, trips to Boston to see professional musicals, and end of year trips to Funtown. The Funtown trip was an appropriate ending activity each year, because Becky’s goal was to maintain high standards of musical excellence, but to make it fun, as well.
Becky’s love for people and her love for music emanated from her faith in Christ which led her to also pursue sacred music opportunities. She served for several years as choir director at Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church, and as Director of the Thomaston Baptist Church’s Living Christmas Tree choir for ten years.
Becky is survived by her loving husband, William (Bill) Leonard, of Thomaston; five siblings and their spouses: Ruth and Robert Clements of Dayton, Ohio; Timothy and Laura Duff, of Springfield, Mass.; Lois and Richard Chaffee, of Marietta, N.Y.; Eunice and Robert Bragg, of East Longmeadow, Mass.; John and Desiree Duff, of Grand Rapids, Mich.; five children and their spouses/partners, Timothy and Rebecca Couch, Joslyn Couch, Steven and Casey Couch, Jennifer and Jared Burns, Erin Leonard and Aaron Crossman; eight grandchildren, Luisa Couch, Katelyn Couch, Christian Couch, Aubrey Couch; Gavin Burns, Arabelle Burns, Samuel Moody, Lucas Moody; as well as many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff and volunteers at the Sussman House, Rockport, for their loving care and support for Becky and our family during her final days on this earth.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit from 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, August 30, 2019, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, August 31, at Thomaston Baptist Church, 212 Main Street, followed by a reception at Oceanside Middle School, 47 Valley St., Thomaston.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Rebecca Joy Leonard Music Education Scholarship Fund (R J Leonard Scholarship Fund), Camden National Bank, 188 Main Street, Thomaston, Maine 04861. To share a memory or story with Becky’s family, please visit their online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.
Naomi Wiederkehr g68, 87, passed away October 10, 2019. Naomi worked in the FWBC library and served as a Sunday school teacher at West Missionary Church in Berne. She is survived by her brother, Gareth g52. Naomi will be remembered for her deep love of her Savior and for her jovial spirit. For her full obituary, click here.https://www.zwickjahn.com/obituary/naomi-wiederkehr
After battling cancer for multiple years, Jim Welty g66 passed away peacefully on November 14. He is now reunited with his wife, Patricia (Mayo) g67, whom he met at Fort Wayne Bible College. She passed in March 2019. Jim Welty's Celebration of Life service will be Saturday, December 7, in the Chapel at Woodstock First Baptist Church at 11 a.m. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. View his obituary
Larry Eicher g61 has received his eternal welcome. He passed away June 9. Details regarding final arrangements will be posted as we receive them. Michael Mortensen and Bill Gerig commented that Larry was Wes Gerig's 1st cousin. Both passed on the same day. Larry's arrangements are 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11th and 9-10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12th at Jones Crossing, next door to Jones Family Mortuary in Mooresville. Pastor Jim Taylor will officiate Larry's celebration of life service at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12th at Jones Crossing. His obituary is Larry Eicher's obituary.
Please be in prayer for the family.
Rev. John Wommer g59 passed away on January 3, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Wommer g60 and daughter Jenifer Hirschy fs85.
James Sowers g58, 84, passed away on October 29, 2019, after battling Alzheimer’s. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Blanche (Schwarzwalder) Sowers g58, their son Allen Sowers g84 as well as 2 other sons, 14 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren.
Ed Widmark g54 passed away on Thursday night October 31, 2019 around midnight. During his time at FWBC he was an integral part of Crusaders Quartet and the radio ministry of the college.
Visitation and funeral will be at Cable Road Alliance Church - Lima, Ohio. Visitation Friday, November 8th; 4:00pm to 7:00pm and Funeral, November 9th at 11:00 am with 1 hour calling before the Service. Burial will take place at Memorial Park Cemetery of Lima.
Robert Crockett g53, who went home to be with the Lord on December 26, 2019. You can read his full obituary here
Dr. Wes Gerig
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Dr. Wesley Gerig passed into the arms of Jesus today about 6:30 pm today. If you would like to post a tribute, click Dr. Wesley Gerig tribute.
The Celebration of Life Service will be held at First Missionary Church (701 W. Rudisill Blvd., Fort Wayne, 46807) on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. A live stream of the service can be found at (click). https://www.firstmc.org/
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, June 12th at D. O. McComb and Son (Foster Park) at 6301 Fairfield Ave., Fort Wayne, 46807 from 3:00 - 8:00 p.m., as well as one hour before the funeral on Thursday at First Missionary Church. His obituary is posted at (click) https://mccombandsons.
Betty Young (Blosser)
Betty (Blosser) Young g50, 89, passed away on October 28, 2019. She is survived by her son Roger and daughter, Linda (Young) Hale g81. Click here to view her obituary. Was a faithful pastor's wife for her husband, Don, who predeceased her.
Julia Ellen Farley (Erdel)
Julia Ellen (Erdel) Farley g49 was born on her parents’ farm in Clinton County, Indiana, on Oct. 25, 1929. She died peacefully at The ACRES, New Carlisle, Indiana, on Feb. 24, 2020, age 90. She was preceded in death by her parents, George W Erdel, Bessie M. (Glick) Erdel, her aunt, Mary D. (Glick) Reed, her husband, Harrison O. (Taylor) Farley, her sister-in-law, Chloetta E. (Egly) Erdel, her step-son, Carlton W. Farley, and her step-grandsons, John L. (Muzquiz) Farley & Charles “Chuck” F. Bowles. She is survived by her elder brother, Paul (Ruth) A. Erdel, by his children, Timothy (Sally) Erdel, David (Lolly) Erdel, John (Lorena) Erdel, & Ruth (Tim) Stuck, and by 12 grand & 9 great-grand nieces & nephews, as well as by the family she gained through marriage, her children, Wanda (Mal) McSwain & Ann (Larry) Wright, her grandchildren, Deborah (Mike) Badger, Mark (Lynn) Farley, Rebecca (Jaycee) Hunter, Jeff (Susan) McSwain, Melissa Gully, Laura (Jeffrey) Kier, & Troy (Janelle) Bowles, and 20 great & 3 great-great-grandchildren. Her name lives on in a great-grandchild, Olivia Ellen Erdel Gully, and in children of former students.
Julia graduated from Stockwell High School and won a Rotary International Scholarship (1947). She attended Fort Wayne Bible Institute, then Greenville College (B.A.,1952) & Purdue University (M.S. Ed., 1955). A career high school business teacher, first in Indiana (1952-1954), then in Arizona (Phoenix Christian, 1954-1963; Coronado High, 1963-1989), she was repeatedly recognized as an outstanding educator (Delta Pi Epsilon, 1967) and citizen (among the “Phoenix One Hundred,” April 1996). Her former students loved her, kept in touch with her, and took her out at least once a month for as long as she lived in Phoenix (2015), among them Jerry & Nancy Simmons.
An excellent musician, Julia faithfully attended First Missionary Church, Central United Methodist Church, and Bethany Bible Church (women’s Bible study teacher) during her years in Phoenix. Vonda Kay Van Dyke was among her Sunday School pupils, the only Miss America pageant winner to also be named Miss Congeniality.
A long-term Treasurer on the Board of Governors of the Palm Lane Gardens Cooperative, Julia forged many close friendships there, including with the late legendary Democratic state politician, Polly Rosenbaum, though Julia remained a staunch Republican. A connoisseur of antique furniture, she was a volunteer docent for over 15 years at Rosson House.
Julia’s greatest legacy was her unswerving loyalty to her family and friends, to whom she repeatedly offered support during troubled times. Many persons were touched by her Christian graciousness, kindness, and charity, including her caretakers during her difficult last years, when her keen mind succumbed to dementia.
The family is thankful for the care she received at Fellowship Square in Phoenix, at The ACRES outside of New Carlisle, especially from Susan Lies, and through the Center for Hospice, Mishawaka.
Julia’s principled life lived for others is captured in a Christian song she loved, “Find Us Faithful,” by Steve Green.
Memorial gifts may be sent to World Partners, PO Box 9333, Fort Wayne, IN 46899-9333. A memorial service will be held at College Park Missionary Church, Mishawaka, Indiana, on March 7, 2020, at 2 pm, with visitation starting at 1 pm.
Lois Dickenson (Vollmar)
Lois (Vollmar) Dickinson g48, 92, went to be with the Lord July 12, 2019. Lois spent her last days at Peabody Retirement Community in North Manchester, IN, where she had previously served as the resident manager for 15 years. She was a member of Wabash Presbyterian Church, the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators, and Church Women United; she also served as the secretary for Habitat for Humanity in Wabash, IN. Lois is survived by two sisters, Connie Vollmar g68 and Ricki Atkinson.
Miriam Escher (Schumacher)
Miriam (Schumacher) Escher g44, 102, passed away June 30, 2019 in Honolulu. She was preceded in death by her husband, George, and is survived by three sons, three daughters, 15 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.