Eldon Stoltzfus

Eldon Roy Stoltzfus, 72, of Goshen, Ind., died Jan. 24, 2021. He was born Aug. 25, 1948, to Roy Mast Stoltzfus and Lois Ehst Stoltzfus in Pottstown, Pa. 

Eldon Stoltzfus

He grew up on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and graduated from Lancaster Mennonite School in 1966. There he met his life partner, Rachel Elaine Lehman. They were married in 1971.

He studied at Eastern Mennonite University and graduated from Salisbury State University in 1974. He interrupted his college years to serve in Congo in the Pax program as alternative service to the Vietnam War. In 1974 he and Rachel went to Haiti, where for two years he traveled as leader of International Child Care’s Crusade Against Tuberculosis immunization program. He was invited to lead Integrated Rural Development in south Haiti, so from 1977 to 1980 he developed a team of specialists and their Haitian counterparts so they would be equipped to continue without him.

He studied at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, graduating in 1982 with a master of arts in peace studies. He and Rachel returned to Haiti in 1982 as country representatives for Mennonite Central Committee for five years. The family moved to Sarasota in 1987.

From 1988 to 2001, he worked with Mennonite Mutual Aid, now Everence, and similar agencies to provide congregations with mutual aid resources.

In 2002 he began a year’s residency with Lutheran Hospital’s Clinical Pastoral Education, followed by two years as interim pastor at Bonneyville Mennonite Church and six years at Forks Mennonite Church. He volunteered as chaplain at Goshen Hospital and eventually worked as chaplain with Goshen Hospice for 10 years. He believed walking with those on the end-of-life journey was holy work, and he was known as the singing chaplain. He retired in 2018, but Anabaptist Disabilities Network’s need for an executive director felt like a calling, and that last year of work brought him joy and satisfaction.

Survivors include his wife, Rachel Lehman Stoltzfus; two sons, Daniel (Angela Link) Stoltzfus and Philippe (Rosa Oseguera) Stoltzfus; a daughter, Belinda Bradford; four siblings, Lowell Stoltzfus, Carol Vickory, Jay Stoltzfus and Mary Beth Bozman; and 12 grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Mervin; and a grandson, JaQuan.

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