Verna Goering

  • "I didn't find out about Verna's death until yesterday..."
    - David Schmidt
  • "I SO loved this woman she was a pure joy to know and when..."
    - Vicki Bailey

Verna M. (Kaufman) Goering, 103, died Sunday (March 3, 2019) at Pine Village Nursing Home, Moundridge. She was born Nov. 9, 1915, to Joe P. and Maria (Flickner) Kaufman on a farm near Galva. Her family attended Eden Mennonite Church in rural Moundridge, where she was baptized at age 16.

Following elementary education in a one-room schoolhouse, Verna graduated from McPherson High School and enrolled at Bethel College, graduating in 1937 with a B.A. in music. A scholarship to Sherwood Music Conservatory took her to Chicago for a year, where she earned a master's degree in piano. She then returned to teach piano and music theory at Bethel College.

Verna married Erwin C. Goering on Aug. 23, 1940, at Eden Mennonite Church, then settled in North Newton where they both were employed at Bethel College, Verna teaching piano and theory and Erwin in administration. When the U.S. entered World War II and Erwin was drafted, he registered as a conscientious objector and through MCC was appointed director of Civilian Public Service camps in Nebraska and California, with Verna serving as camp matron.

When the war ended, they returned to the Bethel College campus and welcomed two daughters, Mary Jo in 1945 and LaDeen in 1946. In 1957-59, the family lived in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where Verna and Erwin served with MCC in post-war reconstruction work.

Following the two years in Germany, the family again lived in North Newton until Erwin was appointed to the position of Director of Development at Bloomington Mennonite Hospital. When that project was completed, Verna moved with him to development projects at a Cleveland hospital, then at Settlement Institutions of Appalachia headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, and to Freeman, South Dakota, at Freeman Junior College. Verna became an expert at establishing a household in all of these places, as well as serving as church organist, teaching piano lessons, volunteering at local hospitals and hosting friends and relatives in their home.

Upon retirement in 1978, Verna and Erwin moved back to North Newton. When Erwin's health began to fail, they moved in 1991 to Pine Village in Moundridge. Erwin passed away in 1995; Verna continued as a resident until her death. She enjoyed exercise classes, special programs, Bingo and table games, riding her adult tricycle and playing the piano in the chapel.

Throughout her life, Verna was appreciated for her empathy for those in need and for her musical gifts, especially as a sensitive accompanist on organ and piano. She and Erwin had many opportunities for world travel, as well as many road trips in the U.S. and Canada.

Verna is survived by one brother, Roland "Bus" Kaufman of Pine Village, Moundridge; by two daughters, Mary Jo (Doyle) Preheim of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and LaDeen (Rodney) Frey of North Newton; three grandchildren: Mark (Sara Reschly) Frey, Eric (Sarah Koehn) Frey and Katrina Boschmann of Ault, Colorado; and four great-grandchildren: Elias and Eleanor Frey Reschly and Kieryn and Annika Boschmann.

Verna was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Erwin; five sisters; and two brothers.

Graveside service will be 10 a.m. Saturday (March 9, 2019) at Eden Mennonite Cemetery, with memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. at Eden Mennonite Church. Family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday (March 8, 2019) at Moundridge Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to Bethel College for the Erwin C. & Verna Kaufman Goering Music Award Fund, Mennonite Central Committee, Christian Peacemaker Teams or Pine Village in care of Moundridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 410, Moundridge, KS 67107.
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Moundridge Funeral Home - MOUNDRIDGE
Moundridge, KS 67107
(620) 345-3800
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Published in The Kansan on Mar. 7, 2019
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