OBITUARY: Elizabeth Ann Raid

Elizabeth Ann Raid, 79, of Newton, Kansas passed away on February 21, 2024, in her home. She was born on June 19, 1944, in central Missouri to Howard and Pauline Krehbiel Raid.

Elizabeth was an only child, blessed by a loving family, deeply involved in church life, service and acts of compassion. She spent her growing up years in Bluffton, Ohio.

After college graduation, Elizabeth and her husband Steven Pankratz, spent three years in voluntary service in rural Colombia, South America. This experience broadened her understanding of what it meant to follow Christ. Her oldest daughter, Rachel Anita Pankratz was born there. Two more children, Lisa Christine Pankratz and Matthew Steven Pankratz were born in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. Here Elizabeth spent twenty years as a farm wife and mother.

A move to Kansas in 1989 brought new vitality and opportunities. Elizabeth found meaningful work in the development of children’s education materials. Familiar scripture passages took on new and deeper meanings as God’s presence became more real.

With the shifting sands of denominational changes in the Mennonite Church in 1999, Elizabeth felt called to seminary. She loaded her sky-blue Chevy Caprice and headed east. Three years on her own in another religious community broadened and deepened Elizabeth’s faith. The Quaker Seminary: Earlham School of Religion provided a rich environment to complete a Master of Divinity degree in 2002.

On May 17, 2003, Eizabeth married Lou Gomez, Jr. enlarging her understanding of culture, family, and the blessings we give and receive regardless of our differences. His two children, Jocelyn Kisha Slay and Christopher Philip Gomez along with his extended family became part of their new family. Together they welcomed 13 grandchildren during their 15 plus years of marriage, before his unexpected death in October 2018. She remained grateful for their opportunities of shared ministry.

In the fall of 2019, Elizabeth attended a grief support group at Bethel College Mennonite Church. Also attending was Gary Franz. Over the months of meetings and into early 2020, they talked and shared their grief journeys. At the end of March 2020, Elizabeth and Gary were married in the Bethel College Mennonite Church chapel. Gary’s daughters, Amy Schmidt and Audrey Blacklock, and their beautiful families, became an integral part of their marriage.

Elizabeth is survived by: her husband, Gary Franz of Newton, Kansas, two daughters, Rachel and husband Tim Hallacy of Wichita, Kansas, Lisa and husband Scott Dooley of Springfield, Ohio, one son, Matthew and wife Michelle Pankratz of Wichita, Kansas; grandchildren, Ronan and Tynan Hallacy, Abraham, Leo, Otto, and Hugh Pankratz, all of Wichita, and Katrina, Owen, and Miles Dooley of Springfield. Elizabeth was preceded in death by her mother and father.

Elizabeth Raid’s Celebration of Life will be held 11 a.m., Saturday, March 23, 2024, at the Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton. Memorials in Elizabeth’s name may be made to Christian Peacemaker Teams or Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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