OBITUARY: Jared Theodore Burkholder

Jared Theodore Burkholder was born on Oct. 18, 1943, and entered into the presence of his dear Jesus on Aug. 26, 2021, at the age of 77. He was a beloved husband, father, brother and friend, and loved by the many who knew him.

Jared was born in Quakertown, Pa., to Harold and Barbara (Basinger) Burkholder, the third of six children. His elementary and junior high years were spent in Omaha and Ralston, Neb. He attended and graduated from Dallas (Oregon) High School.

Jared attended Grace Bible Institute and graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He met the love of his life, Charlene Classen, at Grace, and they married on June 16, 1965.

Jared trusted Christ at a young age and his life trajectory was impacted by his passion to share the gospel. His vocation and location may have varied, but he was always ministry-focused. He was a youth pastor for six years, missionary in the Dominican Republic for seven years, egg truck driver for two and a half years in Bluffton, Ohio, lead pastor for nine years at Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro and college professor and administrator at Grace University for 20 years in Omaha, Neb. He and Charlene retired to Hesston in 2009.

Throughout his years of ministry, Jared earned three master degrees — Master of Arts in education (1969) from Saint Francis College in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Master of Divinity (1972) and Master of Theology (1974) from Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind., and completed a Doctor of Ministry (2003) from Trinity International University, Chicago.

Jared was known for his love of travel, photography, writing and creating. He and friend RJ Tippin developed and produced the board game Generosity that promotes the inner motivation and practice of “giving rather than getting.” Jared also published the book “Closer to the Real Christmas Story,” which provides insight into the geographical, historical and cultural context of the Christmas story and brings this well-known narrative to life in new ways. He also designed “The EDGE” program at Grace University to prepare students for cross-cultural ministry in a variety of contexts, including a six-month study abroad program.

He leaves a legacy that lives on in those who knew him.

Jared is survived by his sons, Brad (Sally) Burkholder of Hesston and Jonathan (Jeanna) Burkholder of Sammamish, Wash.; daughters, Tiffany Burkholder of Omaha, Neb., and Candice (Jeff) Bradford of Gilbert, Ariz.; nine grandchildren, Cassidy (Spencer) Hoyt, Carson Burkholder; Thaddaeus, Elias and Matthias Smith; Graham and Elliot Burkholder; and Tyson and Taylor Bradford; sisters, Fayth (Paul) Boeker, Barb Busenitz and Cynthia (Dennis) Wiens; brother-in-law Gilbert Larsen; sister-in-law Trudy Burkholder; as well as 18 nephews and nieces.

Jared was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Barbara Burkholder; his wife, Charlene Burkholder; one sister, Anne Larsen; one brother, John Burkholder and one brother-in-law, Robert Busenitz.

Cremation is planned.  A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at Hesston Mennonite Brethren Church, with a luncheon to follow. Family will greet friends from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 10, at the church.

The service will be available to view online at

Memorial contributions may be made to Solid Rock International (Christian outreach to the Dominican Republic), in care of Miller-Ott Funeral Home, P.O. Box 32, Hesston, Kan., 67062.


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