Obituary: Matilda Mueller Jantzen

Matilda (Tillie) Mueller Jantzen, 99, died on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, at Schowalter Villa in Hesston.

She was born April 18, 1918, in Deer Creek, Okla.

Tillie graduated from Dalhart, Texas, high school in May 1935. She went on to Bible studies at Biola in Los Angeles, graduating in spring 1942. She married Lubin Jantzen on Aug. 6, 1943, at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Los Angeles. Together, they both worked at Oklahoma Bible Academy in Meno, Okla.

Feeling God’s call to mission work, they went to India in April of 1947 under the auspices of the General Conference Mennonite Church. They experienced India’s independence from the British Raj and the partition that led to the creation of modern India and Pakistan. For 35 years, they served as missionaries, first in evangelism, then in leadership of mission schools at two mission stations.

Tillie was founder and principal of Beacon English School, a school for the children of industrial workers. They ended their many years in India on the staff at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune.

After their years in India, they relocated to Newton, where Tillie clerked at Faith & Life Bookstore, and supported Lubin in pastoring churches in Newton and the surrounding area. In December 1997, they moved from their Newton home to a duplex at Schowalter Villa. In 2004, they published their joint autobiography Guided Lives: Memoirs of a Mennonite Missionary Couple to India. In 2006, they found they needed more care and moved to Schowalter Villa’s main building. Wherever they lived, they were devoted to the growth and well-being of their church community.

Tillie had a large range of interests. She loved to read and make things. She was an excellent seamstress, keeping her children well-clothed through their school years in India. She had a creative imagination that showed in her pottery-making and home decorating, in solving organization problems in the wide variety of work she was called on to perform in India, and in maintaining a busy schedule of hosting friends, family and mission co-workers. Tillie was an excellent cook and loved to furnish a beautiful table.

She is survived by one brother, Harold (Romy) Mueller of Modesto, Calif.; one daughter, Esther of Los Angeles; three sons, Dan (Betty) of Arvada, Colo., Jim (Susan) of Hillsboro and Jon (Mary Beth) of Tucson, Ariz.; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lubin; three brothers, Alfred Mueller, Herbert Mueller and Edgar Mueller; and two sisters, Linda Kaufman and Olga Franey.

There will be a private family burial. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 6, at First Mennonite Church, Newton, followed be a meal at the church.

Memorials may be directed to Mennonite Mission Network, 718 N. Main St, Newton, KS 67114.

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