Mary L. Bontrager

Mary L. Bontrager, 89, of Goshen, Ind., died July 24, 2022, at Greencroft Healthcare. She was born Nov. 1, 1932, to Daniel E. and Magdalena Yoder in Honeyville.


On Dec. 23, 1950, she married Alvin Bontrager in Topeka. Together they farmed for many years near Millersburg. He preceded her in death on April 6, 2015.

She was a 1950 graduate of Topeka High School and of Goshen College in 1973. She taught elementary school for 20 years at Millersburg and in the Westview School Corporation. She was active in church activities at Maple Grove and Topeka Mennonite, and later at College Mennonite Church, where she served as a Stephen Minister.

Always curious, she was knowledgeable about birds, trees and wildflowers and became a longtime volunteer for children’s groups at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center. She loved to cook and hosted countless meals in her home for family, friends and strangers alike, most of which ended with her fine homemade pies. An avid gardener, she nurtured long rows of vegetables and berries, as well as beautiful perennial flower gardens.

Survivors include five daughters, Debra (Robert) Kauffman, Rebecca (Kenneth) Horst, Patricia (Dale) Shenk, all of Goshen, Joyce (Jon) Yoder of Salem, Ore., and Ginny (Ray) Miller of Chambersburg, Pa.; a son, Thomas Bontrager of Bremen; a sister, Lucille Blue of Goshen; 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Alvin; two brothers, John and Orva Yoder; six sisters, Catherine Miller, Ida Yoder, Maggie Yoder, Ruby Wyse, Elma Eichorn and Alta Yoder; and a great-granddaughter, Alice Rose Hanby. 

Memorial services were held at College Mennonite Church. Memorial gifts may be directed to Merry Lea or the Bontrager Music Together Endowment at Goshen College.


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