OBITUARY: Walter S. Friesen

Walter S. Friesen, 91, died peacefully on Aug. 26, 2023, at Schowalter Villa in Hesston.

He was born Nov. 14, 1931, near Garden City to Henry R. and “Minnie” (Schmidt) Friesen. He graduated from Meade Bible Academy (’49), and Tabor College (’53), where he met Carol Heinrichs. They married Sept. 5, 1953. His career in higher education and later in the ministry relocated them many times. He served as administrator/counselor at Kansas State, Pima Community College, Wichita State and Bethel College. He pastored at First Mennonite Church (Denver), Eden Mennonite (Moundridge), Hope Mennonite (Ft. Worth), semi-retiring to interim pastorates, chaplaincy, teaching, and volunteer pastoral counseling in central Kansas. He served on many mental health and advisory boards.

Walter delighted in singing, designing programs and gardens, travel and nature, art, humor and much conversation. He sought to deepen his Biblical understandings and apply them authentically in daily living.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Carol of 68 years; siblings ,Ruth, Harry, Alfred and Benjamin; and many siblings-in-law.

He is survived by his children, Randal and Mary Helen Friesen (Denver), Nancy Friesen and Stewart Gehring (Chicago), and Jenny and John Fast (Goessel); grandchildren, Peter Friesen and Katrina Eyster, Stephanie Friesen, Dorian Gehring and Sima Cunningham, Karlyn Gehring, Evan and Kelli Fast, and Isaac Fast; three great-grandchildren; several sisters-in-law; and many nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, at Whitestone Mennonite Church, Hesston, and it will be live-streamed. Family visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at Whitestone. Information:

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