OBITUARY: Howard Owen Hershberger

Howard Owen Hershberger was born on Nov. 27, 1926, in Tofield, Alberta, Canada, to Owen and Clara (Brenneman) Hershberger and passed away Jan. 8, 2021. His family moved to Hesston, where he attended high school.

He received his A.A. from Hesston College and his B.A. degree from Bethel College in North Newton.

Although Howard had planned on a career in medicine, he was forced to withdraw from medical school because of financial need. He had an aptitude for math, so accepted a job as an accountant at Hesston Manufacturing Company (which later became Hesston Corporation) and took accounting classes by correspondence. He eventually became vice president and controller. By the time he left 25 years later, in 1976, the company had grown from 33 to 3,500 employees worldwide.

After five years working as Director of Finance for Hesston College, he accepted the position of President of DewEze Manufacturing (now Harper Industries), Harper, where he worked for 15 years. Upon his retirement in1996, he moved to Hesston where he resided until his death.

Throughout his career, Howard served on many civic and business boards, including those of Hesston Schools, Greensburg Hospital, Prairie View Hospital and Great Bend Manufacturing. Following his retirement, he also served on the Harper Industries Board of Directors until 2017. He was an ardent supporter of the Mennonite Church and served on the Mennonite Mission Board, the Mennonite Board of Education and the Hesston College Board of Directors. In addition, he was active in leadership positions in his local church, first at Whitestone Mennonite in Hesston and then Pleasant Valley Mennonite in Harper.

He is survived by his much-loved wife, Martha (Buckwalter) Hershberger; three sons, John (Chris) Hershberger, Windom, Dan (Marla) Hershberger, Great Falls, Mont., and Philip (Diana) Hershberger, Topeka; two daughters, Faith (Tim) Penner, Harper, and Beth (Mark) Goertz, Inman; 10 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Howard was preceded in death by his parents; infant daughter, Gwendolyn Hershberger; three brothers and a brother, who died in infancy; one sister; one sister-in-law and one brother-in-law.

Private family services will be at Eastlawn Cemetery, Hesston. Memorial services will be announced and held at a later date at Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston. Friends may pay their respects to Howard on Friday, Jan. 15, from 3-6 p.m., at Miller-Ott Funeral Home, Hesston. The family will not be present. Memorial contributions may be made to Hesston College, in care of Miller-Ott Funeral Home, P.O. Box 32, Hesston, Kan., 67062.


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