Paul A. Friesen

Paul A. Friesen, 98, of Hesston, Kan., died May 30, 2022, at Schowalter Villa. He was born Sept. 10, 1923, to Peter Abram Friesen and Florence Cooprider Friesen in Newton.


At age 3 months, he traveled with his family to Central India, where his parents served as missionaries with the Mennonite Church. Education in India was at Woodstock school in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. The family returned to the United States in 1941 prior to the entry of the U.S. into World War II.

Once back in the U.S., he attended Hesston Academy and College, where he met Wilma Wenger of Wellman, Iowa. They were married after he graduated from Goshen College with a degree in theology.

After working in church planting, he answered a call from Hesston College to develop an art program. His teaching career included work at both Bethel and Hesston colleges with a focus on three-dimensional work. He saw himself first as a pastor, and his art often embodied elements of his faith. After retirement he worked in his studio in clay, stone and wood. He finished his final work in his 98th year and continued with a creative mind till the time of his death.

While his legacy includes a wealth of art, both publicly and privately held, his greatest legacy lives in the lives of his family and in the students he taught and mentored over a long and productive life. This world is a better place because of him.

Survivors include six children, Kelvin (Karen) Friesen of Archbold, Ohio, Janice Roth (Tom) West of Wichita, Eric (Wanda) Friesen of Cimarron, Gregg (Joanna) Friesen of Newton, Jon (Kristeen) Friesen of North Newton and Jennifer (Dennis) LeFevre of Woodland Park, Colo.; 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Wilma Wenger Friesen; nine siblings; a son-in-law and two daughters-in-law.

Burial will be at Eastlawn Cemetery in rural Harvey County. Services at Hesston Mennonite Church are pending.

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