Lela Evaleen (Evie) Bertsche, 83, of Goshen, Ind., died Feb. 3, 2022, at Greencroft Healthcare in Goshen. She was born Jan. 19, 1939, to Herman and Irma Countryman Bachman near Pulaski, Iowa.
She was baptized at Pulaski Mennonite Church. She attended Bluffton College in Ohio as a business major, and married John David Bertsche on Sept. 6, 1958.
They farmed near Graymont, Ill., for over 40 years. For 17 years, she was bookkeeper and business office manager at Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community. She also served as an organist at Meadows Mennonite Church, in the leadership of Women in Mission of Central District Mennonite Conference, on the board of Camp Friedenswald and as a short-term volunteer at Friedenswald, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Mennonite Central Committee.
After her children finished their education, she completed undergraduate degrees in psychology and women’s studies in 1995 and a master’s degree in psychology in 1997, both at Illinois State University. From 2001 to 2003, she and David served with Brethren Voluntary Service and Mennonite Mission Network as hosts of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, where they hosted 2,000 guests from 47 countries in the guesthouse, taught conversational English classes and engaged in a variety of peace activities.
When they returned to the U.S., they settled in Goshen near their children and joined Eighth Street Mennonite Church. She was diagnosed with dementia in 2017 and entered healthcare in fall 2019.
Survivors include her husband of 63 years, David; three children, John David (Wilma) of Goshen, Janeen (Barry) Bertsche Johnson of Goshen and Brian (Diane) of Mottville, Mich.; a sister, Ermaleen Etter of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; two brothers, Fred Bachmann of Kalona, Iowa, and Ed (Jan) Bachman of Agency, Iowa; five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. April 23 at Eighth Street Mennonite Church in Goshen. Memorial contributions may be given to Bluffton University, AMBS, Camp Friedenswald or the World Friendship Center of Hiroshima.