Eli L. Bontrager

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MILFORD - Eli L. Bontrager, of Milford passed away on Sunday, June 28, 2015, he transitioned from a terrestrial dwelling to a glorious celestial home. He was 96 years, 11 months and 8 days old. Born on July 20, 1918 in Kosciusko County, Indiana, he moved to Delaware with his family in 1933. He gave his allegiance to Jesus Christ at an early age, and lived his life from that perspective. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruth; his parents, Levi and Martha; all of his siblings, Sylvia (Miller), Anna, Sarah (Hershberger), Polly (Miller), and Amos. In 1944 he was drafted and served as a conscientious objector in Civilian Public Service in Grottos, Va., Powellville, Md., and eventually was assigned to a dairy farm near Nashua, N.H. When he was released from service, he returned to Delaware. In 1948 he opened Milford Machine Works in Milford, a general repair and metal fabrication business. In 1960 the business name changed to Eli Bontrager and Sons, and later the business developed into a Volkswagen and Audi auto repair shop and an agricultural parts depot. Eli was instrumental in forming the Laws Mennonite Sunday School in 1953, and the Church in 1954, where he served in various functions. He was ordained to the office of minister on November 22, 1959, and served as assistant pastor and later as pastor in the years 1958 -1994, when he retired. He and his wife donated a year and a half to a Mennonite Voluntary Service unit in Nicaragua in 1978-1980. He is survived by seven children, David of Intercourse, Pa., Leona (Kent) Slavin of Houston, Del., Joe (Gloria) of Musoma, Tanzania, Esther (Sterling) Leese of Freeland Md., James (Karen) of Milford, Del., Lucy Yoder of Baltimore, Md., and Philip (Lori) of Archbold, Ohio; 17 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. Funeral Services will be held Monday, July 6, 2015 at 11 a.m. at the Greenwood Mennonite Church, 12525 Shawnee Rd, Greenwood, DE 19950. Friends may call Sunday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the church. Burial will be at the church cemetery.

Published in NewsZapDE on July 3, 2015