Newton Now Obituaries: Albert John Ensz

Albert John Ensz, 93, died Friday, April 7, 2017, in Hesston.

Albert was born Oct. 16, 1923, near Beatrice, Neb., to Gerhard and Barbara (Jantzen) Ensz. He grew up working on the family farm, instilling a lifelong interest in the weather and concern for how the crops were doing. After World War II, he answered the call to help transport animals to Europe, serving on the USS Morgantown, carrying 700 horses to Poland. Being a “seagoing cowboy” was a significant experience in his life, and he enjoyed many reunions during the years with fellow shipmates. In the early 1950s, he applied for service with Mennonite Central Committee and was sent to Paraguay, South America. He did maintenance work and was a driver for the Mennonites working with the leper colony.

After returning to the states, he was looking for work and left Nebraska to visit a cousin in the Newton area. He landed a job at Claassen Lumberyard, so he moved to Kansas. He married Bertina Schmidt in 1955 at Grace Hill Mennonite Church. In the late 1960s, he changed jobs and spent his remaining work years at Kropf Lumber in Hesston. He was known as the man in the “striped overalls.” Church memberships in Kansas included Grace Hill, Hesston Inter Mennonite and Faith Mennonite in Newton. In his leisure time, he enjoyed family vacations spent camping; woodworking projects; gardening, and watching any Nebraska sports event.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, William, Johanna, Ruth (Schultz) and Dorothy (Claassen); and his wife, Bertina after 60 years of marriage.

He is survived by his daughter, Rhonda (Anthony) Horsch; son, Jonathan (Denise) Ensz; grandchildren, Rachel Horsch Andreas (Jason), Stephan Horsch, Ashley Ensz Chambers (Jason), Nathan Ensz, Michael Dukes, Brian Dukes, Danielle Dukes Janzen (Travis); and great-grandchild Evie Chambers.

Visitation was Wednesday, April 12, at Petersen’s Funeral Home in Newton with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m. to greet friends.

A graveside committal service will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 13, at Grace Hill Mennonite Church Cemetery. A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 13, at Schowalter Villa Chapel in Hesston.

A memorial has been set up for Schowalter Villa, 200 W. Cedar, Hesston, KS, 67062. Petersen Funeral Home in Newton is in charge of arrangements.