Wilma E. Shank

Wilma Shank
Wilma Shank

Wilma E. Hollopeter Shank, 97, of Goshen, Ind., died March 31, 2022, after a fall in her Greencroft apartment. She was born May 30, 1924, to Ray and Velma Spicher Hollopeter of Boneta, Ohio. 

After 12 years in Sharon Center schools, she graduated as valedictorian in 1942. At Goshen College, she formed close friendships with seven freshman women and one David Shank. After graduation in 1946, she taught home economics in Sharon Center for two years and married David Shank in 1948.

In 1950, Mennonite Board of Missions invited the couple to reestablish, 400 years after its decimation, an Anabaptist community in Belgium, where their team worked for 23 years. Teaching and study took them back to Goshen College and then to the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. For a decade, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, served as their base for relating to African Independent Churches and establishing an AIC Documentation Center. They first retired near Amigo Centre, Sturgis, Mich., immersed in nature, then to Greencroft. Goshen College honored them with its Culture for Service award in 2010.

She wished to be remembered for a life filled with conviction and the joy of exercising her gifts of homemaking, parenting and witnessing with David. A woman of deep Christian faith, she was a caring presence, avid reader, lover of diverse music, exemplar of good taste and an unflinching optimist. Whereas many guests enjoyed her gracious hospitality, her letters gave politicians a “peace” of her mind.

Survivors include four children, Rachel (Jim) Shenk of Goshen, Crissie (Tim) Buckwalter of Goshen, Stephen of Brussels, Belgium, and Mike (Carol) of Madison, Wis.; a former daughter-in-law, Jean Gerber of Singers Glen, Va.; four sisters-in-law; three of the seven college friends in her 76-year circle-letter group; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, David; and four siblings, Sheldon, Carl, Phoebe Yoder and Glenn.

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