Arlene Ruth Martin Mark, 91, of Goshen, Ind., died Oct. 29, 2022, at Greencroft. She was born July 30, 1931, to Joseph Preston Martin and Mamie Susan Reiff Martin in Hagerstown, Md., and raised in Maugansville.
Her church was conservative, with higher education not only uncommon but frowned on, especially for women. With the support of her father, she attended Eastern Mennonite College for two years. She taught for two years to earn money to attend Goshen College. She graduated in 1955 with a degree in teaching and was immediately hired.
She and George Mark were married in the Goshen College church chapel on Dec. 17, 1955. They moved frequently during George’s medical training and 1-W service before settling in Elkhart, where they lived for over 50 years before moving to Goshen.
They were members of Prairie Street Mennonite Church. She was involved in local, conference and national church leadership. She preached the first sermon by a female in many congregations, advocating for women’s full participation while not being allowed to stand behind the pulpit. A lover of words and worship, she studied at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Notre Dame. She compiled the first Mennonite book of worship liturgy, Words for Worship. She wrote Sunday school and Bible school materials for children.
She appreciated good food, music, poetry and literature and travel. She passed a love of reading to her descendants and students. She believed strongly in giving to others. Her neighbors and church friends knew her as the first to bring a meal in times of turmoil. She served on many nonprofit boards, including the Mennonite Church General Board. She was the first female chair of the Goshen College Board of Overseers.
Survivors include three children, Susan (Dennis Landis), David (Dawn Catalino) and Paul (Kimberley MacDonald); 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, George; a son and daughter-in-law, Scott (Summer Quimby); three brothers, Mervin, Glenn and Dale; and two infant siblings, Warren and Rheta.
A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Dec. 3 at College Mennonite Church. Donations may be given to Church Community Services in Elkhart or the Goshen College scholarship fund for first-generation students.