Thursday, March 22, 2018


Featured Picture

It was only two months ago that I posted about Mother Mary's 100th birthday party held on January 1.  Sadly, on March 5th at midnight, mom died peacefully in her sleep.  Even though the inevitable is expected, it is still unexpected.  She developed an infection in her foot, it began to spread and she was put on powerful antibiotics which upset her stomach and her appetite.  She had a bit of congestive heart failure, and developed pneumonia - all in all, it was too much.  Thankfully, she was as sharp as ever until the end, and did not linger.  Mixed blessing.  Here is her obituary:

Mary A. Swartzendruber, 100, passed away peacefully Monday, March 5, at The Gables (Greencroft), after a short illness.

She was born in Cecil, Ohio, to Samuel and Anna (Plank) Aschliman, the fourth child among eleven siblings.

The family moved several times and it was in Pigeon, Michigan, that she met Edward G. Swartzendruber. They were wed April 2, 1939. Daughter Kay was born in Pigeon and the family then moved to a farm southeast of Goshen, where son Douglas was born.

Mary is survived by Kay Montgomery, Palm Springs, California, and Douglas E. (Rhonda Willems) Swartzendruber, Westminster, Colorado; four grandchildren, Anna Montgomery, Douglas, Nick and Rachel Swartzendruber; four great-grandchildren, Silas, Noelle, Elias and Isabelle; brothers, John Aschliman, Goshen, Dale (Pat) Aschliman, Sarasota, Florida; and sisters, Anna Belle Emmert, Goshen, Betty Lambright, Venice, Florida, and Carolyn (Jim) Stephens, Venice, Florida.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; brothers, Ervin and Walter "Archie" Aschliman; and sisters, Ada Heller, Rose Grime and Dorothy Anklam.

As a longtime resident of New Paris and Goshen, Mary and Ed were involved in numerous family and community activities including establishing Edwamar (for Edward and Mary) Farms, south of Goshen. They were generous supporters of individuals, College Mennonite Church, Goshen College, especially the music program and facilities, and a variety of additional charitable organizations.

Mary was a lifelong homemaker. She was a highly-skilled seamstress; a talented cook with a special gift for preparing large meals for many people; an accomplished crocheter, making prayer shawls for College Mennonite Church and baby hats for Goshen Hospital; a community and church volunteer; and a talented singer and a member of Saint John Singers, Middesingers and Lyric Choir.

She was particularly gifted with a keen memory for names, faces and events. She was pleased to earn her GED as an adult since she had to drop out of school at a young age. She loved to travel and visited many places in the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska, the Caribbean, cities in Europe, China and New Zealand.

Friends may call Friday, March 9, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen, where a memorial service will be conducted Saturday at 11 a.m. Pastor Phil Waite will officiate.
Private burial at Violett Cemetery will precede the memorial service.

Memorial contributions may be given to Ed and Mary Swartzendruber Music Scholarship Fund at Goshen College.

I have 100's of photos of Aunt Mary, as she was known to many, but for now, will just add one:

April 1, 1939



Steve Heller said...

I always felt at home being around aunt Mary. Her appearance, graciousness, wisdom, talent, and plain and simple loving kindness and goodness, reminded me so much of her sister, and my mother, Ada. Her passing is reminder of this comforting thought, “Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same, but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.”

Douglas E said...

Thanks cousin for the kind and descriptive words. Precious few have the privilege of having a mother in their lives for over 70 year - Kay and I were indeed most fortunate.

Brenda said...

Aunt Mary was such a delight. I loved her laughter, wisdom and spunk. Her home was always open to us, very generous -- lots of swimming, chicken meals and goodies; fond memories. She was an icon in our family and is truly missed.

Douglas E said...

Thanks Brenda - true words, and many great memories. We all now have a significant hole in our lives, but are also fortunate to have so many great years.

Brett said...

Where to even begin? Aunt Mary was the ever ubiquitous matriarch of the Aschliman clan. I had never actually entertained the thought that she would no longer be a part of our earthly lives. I can still hear her laughter and still see her smile. Aunt Mary had the gravitational pull of the sun, bringing family from all over the country and world right into her kitchen. It was always amazing how that worked. To my very last birthday, I reveled in the birthday cards we sent back and forth, each with a dollar somehow creatively affixed inside. I sent her a Beall's coupon, but I doubt she used it. She gave everyone so much and asked for so little.

Sadly, the world doesn't get Aunt Mary's anymore and the very best memories, food and family times will remain in my soul for eternity. Godspeed, Aunt Mary.

Douglas E said...

Well said, BES, well said. Mary always got a big kick out of sending the dollar back and forth. Thanks so much for your kind words.

Mark R Aschliman said...

Mary was as much a mother to me as my own---sometimes more. She was kind, considerate, firm, and loving. Her Christian faith manifested in her actions. Her children, Kay and Doug, are the siblings I craved. She was a sentinel person in my life. She will always be missed but her humanity lives on.

Douglas E said...

Mark, number 2 son and Catholic-Mennonite hybrid - thanks for your kind words. Primo, ahora somos huérfanos. paz

Mark R Aschliman said...

Si. Ahora somos los viejos.

Douglas E said...

Ahem....El Viejo, por favor!!

Jim said...

My condolences on your and your family's loss. How fortunate you have been to have your mother for such a long time.


Art said...

HI Doug,

Thanks for sharing. Our thoughts are with you and your family. Wow!! What a life to celebrate.

Great to see you this past weekend.


Herm said...

Hey Doug, so sorry to hear this news. A mother is a mother, no matter what and that passing is significant. I will surely hold you in the light over these next days. If there is anything at all that I can be helpful with, checking on Little Daisy, helping Rhonda, whatever, you know how to find me. Sending love and goodness your way. Be well.

Tom said...

So sorry to hear of your mothers passing. Her picture that you had posted for her hundredth birthday she looks so good. I’m sorry I won’t be able to come to the viewing because I am leaving for Florida again on Thursday. Please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers

Charlie said... condolences, I second what Herm said about mothers. Hoping the best for you, and that all goes well for you and your family in the coming days.

Carolyn and John said...

Dear Doug,
We are so very sorry to hear about this. What a generation of strong, and wise women have passed.

We always enjoyed visiting Mary. She was so sharp and knew everything that was going on. After Glady passed, she called us twice to offer condolences, which was so sweet, and she seemed very upset.

It was an honor for us to be at her birthday party.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of your family.
Carolyn and John

Phil said...

Doug, I was very sad to hear about your Mother but know that you were very fortunate to have her all of these years. I have plans for Friday but will see if I can get there for the afternoon. If not, you have my sympathy and there really is not a good time but Wow what a ride she had. Thank you for letting me know about her passing. Looking forward to seeing you again in Goshen, hopefully this Friday.

Mike and Evie said...

Thanks for letting us know about your mother. We feel very blessed we visited with her last October. Her mind was so sharp, it was a pleasure. Mary and Ed were so kind to us, and we will remember them with great fondness for the rest of our own journey. Evie and I have you and your family in our thoughts at this time.
Your Friends, Mike and Evie

Steve said...


Sorry to hear about mom. But - no better way to pass than in your sleep. May we all be this fortunate. Plan to stop at the visitation.


Bob said...

Hi Doug

Sorry to hear about your mother's passing but 100 year's old is really achievement. Unfortunately I will not be able to visit.


Dave said...

Sorry to learn of the loss of your mother. I’m reminded of my fathers departure at age 93 after a long bout with Parkinson’s. He got into his bed and declared that he would not eat or drink anymore and should not be moved until dead. We and his retirement community honored his request. He was asleep most of the time and departed peacefully. I was certain that he was proud of his decision. Take care of your family matters. That come first! Will miss you at the CURFA meeting. You are an important part of the community!!

Gene said...

So sorry to hear this, Doug. Even when we sort of expect it, it's still unexpected. May this be a time of special closeness and clarity for you and all those you hold dear.

Ron said...

Really sorry to hear the sad news. I know that she lived a long and bountiful life and was so proud of you and your family but still your loss is great.
I know you hurt is immense. Our sympathy. Ron and Carol.

Jim said...


We are so sorry to hear of Mary's passing, but to a better place! A hundred years is amazing. Losing Mom is tough, at least it was for me, and your mom was certainly special. I still remember her graciousness to all of us college kids. Our prayers are with you all and we wish you journey mercies.

Jim and Marie

DJJ said...

What a shock! As you know the last time we saw Mary was at her 100th, I thought she was headed for 105. Her passing really fells like the end of a generation. What a good long life all of our parents had. I hope this isn’t too sad for you and Kay. I miss Glady ,as I’m sure you will Mary. My hope is that the four old friends are “cutting a rug” together. Best wishes to you and all your family. John

JR said...


Always difficult to lose a parent, no matter how old, but you have the satisfaction of knowing she had a good long life. Take care.

Janet said...

Thank you for sending along this sad news. Aunt Mary was a wonderful lady and will be greatly missed. May she Rest In Peace.


Jim Y said...


I am very sorry for your loss. Mary was an extraordinary woman and will be dearly missed. Let me know what I can do.

God bless,


Bob W said...

Doug what a life and a wonderful way to pass on. Minimum pain and discomfort. My best to all of you.

John S said...

Sorry to hear of your mothers passing.Plan to attend the viewing. Have a safe trip.

Jim B said...

Thanks Doug for letting us know of your Mom's life and passing.
Sending prayers and blessings to you and your family.

Jim B

Arn and Wanda said...

Our sympathies Doug, and to all your Swartzendruber family.

Thanks for letting us know.

Carolyn said...

We can’t say she didn’t have a long, full life, but it’s sad for us that are left behind. She leaves a big void. Love and comfort to you

Steve said...


Sad news, indeed. So sorry for your loss, but what a blessed way for the Lord to take her home. Keep me posted, and I will say a prayer for you and the family.

Cuzzin Steve