OBITUARY: Mary Ellen (Miller) Culp

Mary Ellen (Miller) Culp, 94, died Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at Schowalter Villa in Hesston. She was born on Dec. 30, 1926, to Warren Miller and Viola (Miller) Miller in Elkhart County near Goshen, Ind. She was the second of six children.

Mary Ellen married the love of her life, John Henry Culp, on March 2, 1947, in Millersburg, Ind., and they were married for almost 71 years before his death. They moved to Hesston in 1948. They had four children. Mary was a homemaker until the children were in high school and then was employed outside of the home. She worked for TEC (Travel Equipment Company) as the receptionist and office manager. She then worked for an attorney’s office in Newton as a secretary. Lastly, she worked for Hesston Corporation for 16 years as a shipping clerk and then as an accounting clerk. She and John retired in 1991.

Mary had a lifelong passion for flowers and enjoyed growing, picking and arranging flowers for herself and others. In later years, she loved walking through all four seasons of Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston and when she could no longer walk, the children would take her around the path in her wheelchair. Her last outing was a ride through the Schowalter Villa Cottage flowerbeds, exclaiming over the beautiful colors of the flowers, plants and the butterflies that fluttered around her.

Over the years, Mary and John traveled and camped their way through 47 states, three provinces of Canada and into Mexico. They started their love of travel and hiking at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp near Divide, Colo. They instilled in their children and granddaughters the respect and caring of nature and all living creatures, great and small.

She is survived by son David (Jennifer) Culp of Orange County, Calif.; daughters Sue (Don) Gering of Hesston and Anita Culp of Bel Aire; son Paul (Mary) Culp of Hesston and granddaughters Shannon Gering (Christopher Vine) of Carbondale, Ill., and Alexandrea (Ernie) Mullenax of Tehachapi, Calif. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and all her siblings, Luella Eash, Wilbur Miller, Ronald Miller, Miriam Black and Roy Miller. Before her sisters’ deaths, the sisters collaborated on a memoir of their childhood memories.

A memorial service will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Hesston Mennonite Church at 309 S. Main Street in Hesston. A slide show and recorded piano prelude by Anita Culp will start at 2:30. Visitation will be at 2 p.m. and after the service. Masks are required.  A private burial will be at a later date in East Lawn Cemetery.

A live feed of the service will be through the Hesston Mennonite Church website: and click on Mary Culp. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dyck Arboretum of the Plains and to the Schowalter Villa Good Samaritan Fund.

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