Obituary: Ethel Grace (Ewert) Abrahams

Ethel Grace Ewert was born Aug. 3, 1923, in Hillsboro, to Gerhard and Helena Peters Ewert. She passed away on Tuesday, July 5, 2016, surrounded by family.

Ethel was baptized and joined the Hillsboro First Mennonite Church in 1938. She attended Hillsboro Grade School and High School and earned degrees in art from Bethel College with a BA and an MA from Wichita State University.

On Sept. 26, 1944, Ethel married her high school sweetheart, Norman E. Abrahams. They were blessed with four children: Nan, David, Dwayne and Nadine.

Ethel worked as secretary to put Norman through optometry school in Chicago. When they settled back in Hillsboro, she enjoyed being an “at-home mom” during the children’s formative years.

Ethel volunteered for numerous organizations: Mennonite Library and Archives, Kauffman Museum and the Wichita Art Museum.

She and Norman did several short terms with Mennonite Central Committee in Akron, Pa., and North Carolina. Ethel accompanied Norman on a number of international eye projects with VOSH.

She served on the following boards: Hillsboro Public Library, Kansas Women’s Association, Kauffman Museum, Kansas Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale and Bethel College Women’s Association.

In 1990, Norman and Ethel received the Bethel College Outstanding Alumni Award.

In 1980, Ethel researched and published a book on “Frakturmalen and Schoenscreiben: German Mennonite folk art of the 18th and 19th century.”

In 1988, Ethel and Norman moved to North Newton where she began designing and stitching quilts, researching crazy quilts and vintage doll quilts, as well as writing and lecturing on these topics.

In addition to quilting, Ethel enjoyed reading and gardening. She and Norman loved traveling in the U.S. and Europe, as well as participating in many Elderhostel trips with their friends.

Norman and Ethel joined the Bethel College Mennonite Church in 1989.

After Norman died, Ethel moved to Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton, and later to Schowalter Villa in Hesston.

Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were very dear to her.

Surviving her are her children, Nan (Don) Graber of Monument, Colo., Dwayne (Ruth Regier) Abrahams of rural Newton and Nadine (Norm Epp) Abrahams of Lakewood, Colo.; grandchildren Dana Graber (Stephen) Ladek, Nichole Graber (Billy) Simmons, Nathan (Elizabeth Weidner) Abrahams, Kristen Abrahams, Mark (Amanda) Abrahams, and Kaitlin Abrahams; and five great-grandchildren, Kylan, Auden and Eliana Ladek, Jaden Graber Simmons, and Jolene Abrahams.

Ethel was preceded in death by her son, David, and husband Norman.

A visitation took place July 7, in the Chapel at Schowalter Villa, Hesston. Burial followed on July 8, at Haven of Rest Cemetery, east of Hillsboro. The Life Celebration service followed at Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton, with a faspa/light meal following. Memorial gifts can be made to Mennonite Central Committee or Kauffman Museum.

Jost Funeral Home, Hillsboro, was in charge of arrangements.

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