OBITUARY: Alice Helena (Kaufman) Suderman

Harvey County Now

Alice Helena (Kaufman) Suderman, 92, of North Newton died on Wednesday, February 14.

She was born on a farm near Marion, S.D., on November 19, 1931, the daughter of Harry and Adeline (Boese) Kaufman.

Alice was a graduate of Freeman (S.D.) Junior College and Academy, Valparaiso University and Mankato (MN) State College.

On June 18, 1953, Alice married John M. Suderman at Salem Mennonite Church, Freeman, SD. She and John had three children: Carole, Mark and Brian.

In addition to caring for her family, Alice was an educator, teaching first in one-room elementary schools in the Freeman, S.D., area, and later on as a high school English and literature teacher in the public school at Mountain Lake, Minn., and at Iowa Mennonite School at Kalona, Iowa. As a person who encouraged reading and learning, she also enjoyed several years as an assistant librarian in the Mountain Lake Public Library.

Alice had a strong Christian faith. She was active in the churches she attended as a Sunday school teacher, catechism instructor, deacon and leader in church women’s activities. As a promoter of Christian education, she served on the Commission on Education of the General Conference Mennonite Church from 1971 to 1983. Following that, she also served on the General Board.

Alice and John loved to travel, both domestically and overseas, but often it was more than just for the joy of travel itself. Alice was a student of Mennonite history and of genealogy, and this led to a visit to Ukraine and Russia. She taught a unit on Greek mythology and theater in a literature class, illustrated with slides from her two trips to the country of Greece. A visit to several South American countries happened because Alice, as one of the United States representatives to Mennonite World Conference, attended a gathering of the General Council in Paraguay in 1987 between the larger assemblies of Strasbourg and Winnipeg.

Alice had many other interests, among which were music and writing. She was an avid singer, regularly sang in John’s church and community choirs, and was his most loyal supporter when in the audience for school choir concerts. She wrote poetry and short stories, some of which were included in “The Home Place,” a book she edited which consisted of writings by members of the Harry Kaufman family.

In 1998, Alice and John retired to North Newton. In her retirement, Alice was very active as a volunteer at Kauffman Museum, a museum first established by her great uncle Charles Kauffman in her home community of Freeman, S.D., and which then was later moved to North Newton.

In 2023, Alice and John celebrated, with their family, their 70th wedding anniversary.

Alice is survived by her husband John; daughter Carole Suderman, Boulder, Colo.; son Mark (Elaine) Suderman, Bluffton, Ohio; son Brian (Jonita) Suderman, Lewistown, MT; brother S. Roy Kaufman, Freeman, S.D.; three grandsons with spouses; and two great grandchildren.

Preceding her in death were her parents, brothers Maynard Kaufman and Lawrence Kaufman, and sisters Lorraine Ortman and Anette Eisenbeis.

Visitation will be at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the chapel of Bethel College Mennonite Church, with a memorial service at 11 a.m. at Bethel College Mennonite Church the same day.

Memorials may be made to Bethel College Mennonite Church or Mennonite Central Committee in care of Bethel College.

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