John Arthur Bertsche

John Arthur Bertsche, 91, of Normal, Ill., died Aug. 8, 2020. He was born May 28, 1929, to Arthur and Emma Eymann Bertsche in Pontiac.

He graduated from Pontiac High School in 1947 and worked on the family farm until February 1952, when he began a community development service assignment in Gulfport, Miss., through Mennonite Central Committee, which fulfilled his alternative military service requirement.

He graduated from Bethel College in North Newton, Kan., on May 26, 1958. That evening he married his classmate, Evelyn Dyck, at Bethel College Mennonite Church.

He attended medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago and completed his internship at Cook County Hospital. From 1964 to 1966 they lived in Haiti, where he served as medical director of a rural health facility operated jointly by MCC and Haiti’s Public Health Service. Upon their return to the U.S. and after a three-year medical residency at Northwestern University, they moved to Bloomington-Normal, where he practiced internal medicine until his retirement in May 1998.

He and Evelyn served as a host family for nearly 40 overseas visitors. An avid runner and cyclist, he ran 13 marathons. Each June from 1996 through 2013, he participated in Biking Across Kansas. During retirement, he was a frequent volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and served as a mediator at the McLean County small claims court. In recent years he cared for his wife as her health declined and helped several immigrant Congolese families adapt to life in Bloomington-Normal.

He was an active member of Mennonite Church of Normal, a fan of the Chicago Cubs, a loyal driver and maintainer of Dodge cars, an enthusiastic supporter of Bethel College and a committed environmentalist who collected and recycled tons of aluminum cans.

Survivors include his wife, Evelyn; their children, Cynthia (Chuck) Regier and Daniel (Lynette) Bertsche; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Paul Bertsche; and a sister, Adele Reichert.

A memorial service will be planned in the future. Memorial gifts may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, Bethel College or Habitat for Humanity.

Sign up to our newsletter for important updates and news!