Kathleen Neff

Kathleen Neff, 65, of North Newton, Kan., died May 11, 2022. She was born Aug. 5, 1956, to Clifford and Elizabeth (Bartel) Bitikofer of Hesston.


She was baptized in 1970 at Whitestone Mennonite Church. During high school she developed an interest in world hunger issues and how our lifestyle choices affect people in developing countries. This led her to become a longtime member of Bread for the World. She took international trips to learn and experience other cultures. She graduated from Hesston College in 1976.

Taking classes at Bethel College, she met Dana Neff of Iowa. They were married Aug. 18, 1978. After completing her degree at Kansas State University, focused on international nutrition, they left for an assignment in Haiti with Mennonite Central Committee, where they served for five years. Then they worked with Haitian refugees in South Florida. When Dana took a position with MCC Central States, they moved to North Newton.

She and Dana were blessed with two children, son Darnell and daughter Sheralynn. They became members of First Mennonite Church in Newton, where she enjoyed fellowship with other mothers, helped with music, the library and children’s classes.

For more than 20 years she was a self-employed seamstress, sewing products for massage therapists and doctors.

She enjoyed quilting with her mother, making comforters for MCC and other creative projects. She was involved in the children’s school activities. She sewed costumes for their book reports, History Day competitions and dramas at church. She occasionally took Mennonite Disaster Service trips with church members. She and Sheralynn went with a First Mennonite work team to Brazil in 2006.

When her father died in 2003, she began caring for her mother, who developed dementia and needed assistance. This continued until her mother’s death in 2018.

Survivors include her husband of 43 years, Dana Neff; a son, Darnell Neff; two sisters, Lynette (Andy) Stoeppler and Kristine (Joe) Griffioen; and a brother, Mervin (Cathy) Bitikofer.

She was preceded in death by daughter Sheralynn on July 24, 2016; and an infant brother, Eugene Ray Bitikofer.

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