OBITUARY: Ernest Stanley ‘Stan’ Bohn

Ernest Stanley Bohn, “Stan” to most, died on May 19, 2021, at Kidron-Bethel Health Care in North Newton, Kan. He was born on Aug. 23, 1930, to Nora Malinda (Lantz) Bohn and Ernest J. Bohn in Tiskilwa, Ill. Stan married Anita May Pannabecker on Sept. 6, 1952, shortly after they graduated from Bluffton College.

Stan is survived by his wife, Anita, and their four children, Charles Bohn (Stella Dettweiler) of California, Kathryn Kendrick of Arizona, Emily Coyne (Dan Coyne) of Illinois, and Lorraine Bohn (Henry J. Rempel) of Winnipeg. He is also survived by eight grandchildren; two great grandchildren; sister, Eleanor Unruh of Kansas; and brother, John Bohn (Tina Warkentin) of Indiana.

Along with his parents, Stan was preceded in death by sisters Helen Klassen, Esther Groves, Catherine Hartman, brother Alden Bohn, brothers-in-law Daniel Pannabecker, Otto Klassen, Carlyle Groves and Wesley Unruh, son-in-law Kevin Kendrick, nephew Quentin Groves and niece Annette Hartman.

Stan was a pastor of Rainbow Boulevard Mennonite Church in Kansas City, Kan., First Mennonite Church in Bluffton, Ohio, Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, Kan., and interim pastor at churches in Hillsboro and Wichita, Kan., and New York City. He was Central District Conference Pastor for four years, National Conference Resource for social justice for three years, and Executive Secretary for the Commission on Home Ministries for Mennonite churches in the U.S. and Canada for nine years. He and Anita spent three years in Kingston, Jamaica, with MCC, where Stan taught classes in conflict resolution and philosophy at Jamaica Theological Seminary. In the last two decades of his life in Newton, Stan was involved in numerous volunteer activities, including as a board member and program participant for Peace Connections, a Shalom Mennonite Church volunteer, an active participant in various prison ministries, and as a census worker visiting homes and filling out forms because it reminded him of pastoral visiting (“…I think they trust me as an old person and a retired pastor”).

Stan was raised as one of “seven good children,” according to his mother Nora, in the farming and Mennonite church communities of Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio. He attended a variety of schools, from a two-room schoolhouse with Amish children in Indiana to college in Bluffton. He attended Ohio State, where he received an M.A., and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, where he received an M. Div. He pursued other seminary studies at San Francisco, Iliff, Concordia, Garrett, and Auburn Theological Seminaries. Stan briefly considered becoming a philosophy professor as his father had done but instead felt the call to become a pastor.

In his retirement, Stan enjoyed researching the genealogy of his and Anita’s families. He enjoyed many family vacations that he and Anita took with children and grandchildren, especially Christmas holidays spent with family in Arizona and California.

A Celebration of Life service is planned for 11 a.m. on June 12 at Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, Kan. COVID restrictions are changing, and church capacity may be limited. If you would like to attend, please contact the Shalom Mennonite Church office for updated information. The service will be live streamed by the church. Memorial gifts may be made to Peace Connections, P.O. Box 1147, Newton, KS, 67114, or Bethel College, North Newton, KS, 67117.

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