Joanne Buhler Voth

Joanne Buhler Voth, 91, of Rockingham, Va., died April 6, 2021, at her home. She was born Dec. 6, 1929, to Gerhard Buhler from Mountain Lake, Minn., and Leucile (Steiner) Buhler from Bluffton, Ohio. 


She grew up in Bluffton and attended Bluffton College. While studying as an exchange student from Bluffton to Bethel College in Kansas, she met Leland Voth. They were married on Sept. 2, 1950. She graduated from Bluffton College in 1951 with a degree in elementary education.

Her goal in life was to live for the Lord.  She taught school in Columbus, Ohio, and Freeman, S.D., while Leland taught at Freeman Junior College.  After four years there, they went overseas to work at the Mennonite Vocational School for Orphan Boys in Kyungsan, South Korea, where they served nine and a half years under Mennonite Central Committee.

When Leland joined the Agency for International Development in 1967, they remained in South Korea until being transferred to Laos. She worked in Laos under the Lao church and with UNICEF in producing a manual for teachers of preschool children. After their transfer to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), she was active in leadership of the International Protestant Church and continued working in preschool education with the government until she began working for the U.S. Embassy as the Community Liaison Officer.

Back in the U.S. for five years, she was active in the church and with her husband helped develop small groups in a large growing church where they both served as lay pastors.

In 1985 they moved to Jamaica, where she worked for the U.S. Embassy in visiting American prisoners. After four years they returned to the U.S., where she became a volunteer spiritual counselor for women prisoners in the Fairfax County Jail in Virginia. She and Leland retired in 1993 to Bluffton. In 2000 they moved to Harrisonburg, where they joined Harrisonburg Mennonite Church, Praise Fellowship.

Surviving are four children, Nancy (Jerry) Suter of Pandora, Ohio, David (Laura) Voth of Bluffton, Pamela (Merlin) Shank of Harrisonburg and Kevin (Sandra) Voth of Atlanta; a sister, Ruth Graber of Sierra Vista, Ark.; seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christian Friends of Korea.


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