Alice Bernita Zahniser

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Alice Zahniser Alice Bernita Zahniser, 96, of Chambersburg, PA., died July 8, 2014. A long-time resident of Menno Haven Retirement Community, she was born in Trucksville, PA in 1918, the youngest child of Rev. Moses Hayden and Annie Esther Peverill. Alice survived her eight siblings, calling herself "the last leaf on the tree." In 1936, she married Howard C. Zahniser (1906-1964). They had four children: Alison Howard Mathias and his wife, Ann Harrington, Greenville, IL; Esther Belle Zahniser and her husband, Duncan Gillies, London, England; Karen Elizabeth Zahniser and her husband, Robert Bettacchi, of Lexington, MA; and Edward DeFrance Zahniser and his wife, Christine Hope Duewel, Shepherdstown, WV. She embraced her nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. A coloratura soprano, Alice Zahniser trained at Peabody Institute, Baltimore, MD, and the University of Maryland, College Park. She performed at many venues, including the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC; London, England; and the Pablo Casals Festival, Puerto Rico. She directed choirs at Riverdale (MD) Presbyterian Church, Shepherdstown (WV) Presbyterian Church, and MennoHaven's MennoLarks, which she founded. After Howard's death, Alice also gave private voice lessons and worked in the Prince Georges County (MD) Memorial Public Library system. Alice was the expert logistician behind her family's many wilderness experiences that buttressed Howard's wilderness preservation work. She was "the Mother Teresa of outdoor cooking over wood fires." Her journal, Ways to the Wilderness, recounts the 1956 saga of the family of six, car camping between five wilderness treks - from Minnesota to Wyoming, Montana, and Washington. It was published in 2008 in honor of her 80th birthday. A memorial service with special music will be held at Menno Haven Chapel, 2075 Scotland Avenue in Chambersburg on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 10:00 A.M., with Chaplains Vernon Isner and Bob Keener officiating. Online condolences may be expressed at
Funeral Home
William F. Sellers Funeral Home
297 Philadelphia Avenue
Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 263-3414
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Published in Public Opinion on July 17, 2014
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