Rachel Anna Albrecht Varona, 87, of Eureka, Ill., died May 8, 2021, at Maple Lawn Homes Nursing Center. She was born Nov. 3, 1933, to Wilbur and Ruth (Schrock) Albrecht.
She made a public commitment to trust in God’s redeeming love through the Lord Jesus Christ at age 12 and was baptized at Waldo Mennonite Church near Flanagan, Ill., in 1946.
She attended Flanagan High School for three years and then transferred to Hesston Academy in Kansas, followed by two years at Hesston College. She graduated in 1956 from La Junta Mennonite School of Nursing in Colorado and in 1965 from Goshen College in Indiana with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
After graduation, her first job was at Maple Lawn Nursing Home in Eureka. She was the first registered nurse ever hired there. Immediately she transferred to Bethesda Mennonite Mission Church in the inner city of St. Louis. She served there 10 years and supported herself during that time by working at Homer Phillip Hospital in the newborn nursery with the Visiting Nurses Association and as an instructor at Barnes Hospital School of Nursing. Serving at Bethesda was a highlight of her career and her true calling. She was a member of Roanoke Mennonite Church in Eureka.
In 1970 she became director of nursing at Golden Age Nursing Home in Amarillo, Texas. There she met Frank Varona. They were married on Aug. 17, 1973. After marriage she worked in home care and geriatrics. In retirement she continued to show her love for the elderly by volunteering in nursing home.
She treasured her Mennonite heritage along with the many local Christian fellowships she attended, sharing the vision of healing, hope and salvation through Christ alone.
Survivors include two sisters, Doris Zehr of Grand Rapid, Mich., and Shirley Bachman of Godfrey; and a sister-in-law, Linda Albrecht of Gibson City.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank; a brother, Jerry Albrecht; and two brothers-in-law, David Zehr and Wesley Bachman.
Burial will be in Llano Cemetery in Amarillo, Texas. Online condolences may be sent at argoruestmanharris.com.