They attended Whitestone Mennonite Church. It was there she was baptized in 1970. During high school she developed an interest in world hunger issues and how our lifestyle choices affect people in developing countries. This led her to become a longtime member of Bread for the World. She took international trips to learn and experience other cultures. She graduated from Hesston College in 1976.
Taking a few classes at Bethel College, she met Dana Neff of Iowa. They began dating, which continued when she went to finish her degree at Kansas State University focused on international nutrition. She and Dana were married Aug. 18, 1978. After completing their degrees, they left for an assignment in Haiti with Mennonite Central Committee, where they served for five years. Then they worked with Haitian refugees in South Florida. When Dana took a position with MCC Central States they moved to North Newton.
She and Dana were blessed with two children, son Darnell and daughter Sheralynn. They became members of First Mennonite Church of Newton. She enjoyed fellowship with other mothers, helped with music, the library and children’s classes. When the children were young she became a self-employed seamstress, which was flexible to work with the children’s schedules. She established her own business sewing products for massage therapists and doctors, doing this for more than 20 years.
She enjoyed quilting projects with her mother, comforters for MCC and other creative projects. She was involved in the children’s school activities. She sewed costumes for their book reports, History Day competitions, and for the dramas at church. She occasionally took week service trips with church family with Mennonite Disaster Service. She and her daughter Sheralynn went with the FMC work team to Brazil in 2006.
When her father died in 2003, she began caring for her mother, who developed dementia and increasingly needed assistance. This continued until her mother’s death in 2018.
Survivors include her husband of 43 years, Dana Neff; a son, Darnell Neff; two sisters, Lynette (Andy) Stoeppler and Kristine (Joe) Griffioen; a brother, Mervin (Cathy) Bitikofer; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by a daughter, Sheralynn, on July 24, 2016; and by an infant brother, Eugene Ray Bitikofer.
Services are pending and will be announced by Broadway Colonial Funeral Home, Newton, KS.