Dorothy Leora (Wissler) Zehr

Dorothy Leora (Wissler) Zehr, 84, died Feb. 10, 2024, in Goshen, Ind. She was born in 1939 in Rothsville, Pa., the eldest of eight children of Roy H. and Martha (Byer) Wissler.

She graduated from Lancaster Mennonite School in 1957 and Eastern Mennonite College in 1966 with a degree in biblical studies. In 1968, she married Milton J. Zehr, and in 1969 they moved to Lowville, N.Y., where Milton began his pastorate at Lowville Mennonite Church.

Dorothy served as a partner in ministry with Milton at Lowville Mennonite Church for 22 years and then with New York Mennonite Conference until retirement. Later in life, she became a credentialed spiritual director. Many considered her to be a mentor, inspiration and friend. She welcomed into her home adopted children, foster children, international students, immigrants and many seeking a safe place to land. She was sensitive to the needs of others and responded with love and encouragement when needed most, offering a listening ear, prayer, counsel and practical help.

She had a zest for life and always immersed herself fully in her world. Growing up in Lititz, Pa., she loved working with her papa at his car dealership and was an expert in the cars of the ’50s and ’60s. When she moved to Lewis County, she learned how to garden, can vegetables, bake and pluck chickens. She drove the tractor in the family sugar bush and marketed maple syrup on the East Coast. At their farmette in Martinsburg, she enjoyed operating the Alger Place Bed and Breakfast. She and Milton traveled to Costa Rica, Vietnam, India, Switzerland and Egypt. She took great joy in her children and grandchildren and will be remembered for her warm hugs, huge heart and genuine care.

She is remembered and celebrated by her husband, Milton J. Zehr; their children Kirkwood (Kristin) Shank Zehr, Lucinda (Eric) Zehr White, Adam Zehr, Yolanda (David) Zehr Omes and Marcus (Robin) Ebright Zehr; and seven grandchildren.

Donations in her honor may be made to Mennonite Central Committee.

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