Evelyn Bertsche

Evelyn Agnes (Dyck) Bertsche, 84, of Normal, Ill., died Oct. 22, 2020, at the McLean County Nursing Home. She was born on July 26, 1936, to Walter and Agnes (Schmidt) Dyck in Newton, Kan. She grew up in Kansas and in Beatrice, Neb., where her father served as a pastor. In 1954 she graduated from Berean Academy in Elbing, Kan., then enrolled at Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., majoring in chemistry. In the summer of 1955 she volunteered as a healthy test subject at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. She graduated on May 26, 1958, and was married that evening to her classmate, John Bertsche.


They moved to Chicago, where John began medical school. She supported the family working in sales until their children’s births. The family served from 1964 to 1966 with Mennonite Central Committee in Haiti, where she homeschooled the children and worked with artisans to produce crafts for sale in MCC Self Help stores.

After three years in Evanston, where John completed his medical residency, the family moved to Normal, where she was a homemaker and volunteered with church and community organizations. She and John were members of Mennonite Church of Normal.

In the 1980s she pursued her interest in pastoral ministry and spiritual direction, attending Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Washington, D.C. She served as associate pastor at Mennonite Church of Normal for 14 years. She served on the board of directors of Bethel College and was active in church conference leadership. In 1996, she retired and helped care for her aging parents.

She enjoyed gardening, cooking and reading. She and John served as host family for nearly 40 international students.

Survivors include two children, Cynthia (Chuck) Regier and Dan (Lynette) Bertsche; a sister, Delores (Marvin) Bartel; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, John; and three brothers, Gordon Dyck, Gerald Dyck and Charles Suderman.

Her remains were interred at Ropp Cemetery, and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made out to Mennonite Central Committee and Bethel College.

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