Leland Voth

Leland W. Voth

Leland W. Voth, 94, of Harrisonburg, Va., died Dec. 1, 2023. He was born Jan. 27, 1929, to Rev. William C. and Matilda (Kliewer) Voth.

He attended Bluffton College and graduated from Ohio State University in agricultural education. His master’s degree was from Cornell University.

On Sept. 2, 1950, he married Joanne Buhler, daughter of Gerhard G. and Leucile G. (Steiner) Buhler, at First Mennonite Church, Bluffton, Ohio.

Leland grew up for nine years in China, where his parents were missionaries with the General Conference Mennonite Church. He graduated in 1947 from Lorraine High School in Kansas.

Leland’s goal was to live for Jesus, and he was in church leadership wherever he lived. He taught agriculture at Freeman Junior College in South Dakota for four years, and then he and Joanne went to South Korea with Mennonite Central Committee to work at the Mennonite Vocational School for orphan boys after the Korean War. He supervised the MVS farm and became director of the orphanage and the school principal. In his 10 years there, Leland brought in improved rice, wheat, trees and animals for 10 area villages, about 5,000 farmers.  

After turning the MVS work over to Korean leadership, Leland joined the U.S. State Department’s Agency for International Development in Korea, and the family remained in Korea for five more years. He served as agricultural adviser to governors in three provinces. He then transferred for four years each to Laos, Zaire (now DR Congo), Jamaica and twice in the Washington, D.C., area at the U.S. State Department, providing leadership on USAID projects in Jordon and Morocco and improving agricultural programs in Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza. He was the principal agricultural coordinator of the research and cooperative development programs between Israel and its Arab neighbors, an outgrowth of President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David Accords.

He and Joanne retired to Bluffton, Ohio, in 1993. They moved in 2000 to Harrisonburg and joined Harrisonburg Mennonite Church.  After Joanne’s death in 2021, Leland also worshiped at Horizon Fellowship in Harrisonburg.

Surviving are four children, Nancy (Jerry) Suter, David (Laura) Voth, Pamela (Merlin) Shank and Kevin (Sandra) Voth; nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.


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