Miriam Ranck Stoltzfus
Miriam Ranck Stoltzfus, 93, died Jan. 14, 2020 at Landis Homes, Lititz, PA.
She was born in Soudersburg, PA, November 19, 1926, to Amos W. and Stella (Ranck) Weaver. She was married in 1948 to Luke Stoltzfus with whom she served in Philadelphia, PA, as pastor’s wife and bishop’s wife, for 47 years. They had six children, five of whom are still living: Rhoda (Rodi) married to Willie Longenecker, of Morson, Ontario, Canada; Glenn married to Jane Jacobs, of Lancaster, PA; Don married to Linda High, of East Petersburg, PA; Eric married to Cheryl Sahd of Farmington, NM; and Theda married to David S. Jones, Jr. of Perkiomenville, PA. She is grandmother of 28 and great-grandmother of 25. After Luke passed away she married Noah Stoltzfus and gained two well-loved step-children, Pam married to Bob Thimsen, of Apex, NC, and Daniel married to Angela Sexton, of Baltimore, MD.
She was predeceased by a son, Dirck, in 1974, by her husband, Luke Stoltzfus in 2002, by her second husband, Noah Stoltzfus in 2008 and by a grandson, Robert in 2014. She was predeceased by two sisters, Mary Lefever and Verna Rohrer. One sister, Ellen Good, of Carlsbad, NM, survives.
Our mother was a faithful woman of God who lived a life of integrity. She was a gentle, disciplined person who accepted the changes and difficulties of life with calmness and assurance that God was in control of her life. Her great desire was to walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ wherever He led her and to share her faith with those around her.
She grew up in rural Lancaster County, graduating in 1944 from Lancaster Mennonite School. She attended one year of college at Eastern Mennonite School and then returned to Lancaster County to teach two years in a one room school at Linville Hill, Gap, PA. She also taught one year at Lancaster Mennonite School before she married our father, Luke Stoltzfus. Together they served in Christian ministry in Philadelphia, PA from 1951 through 1998, living in north Philadelphia at Diamond Street Mennonite Church for 16 years and then in west Philadelphia until 1998. She also worked as a Reading Aide in the Philadelphia Public School system during that time.
Our brother Dirck, with his special needs due to brain damage at birth, was a unique challenge to which she rose with grace and determination, teaching him to read and write and do simple math; advocating for him continually throughout his life so he could go to school in a setting in which he could function; nursing him through brain surgery at age 9 and thinking ahead to what the future might hold for him. His death at age 19 left her with unexpected time and freedom which she poured into caring for neighbours and friends and helping her husband, children, and the church in many ways.
Mama loved to read, often reading aloud to us as children. She instilled a love of learning and encouraged excellence in everything we did. She enjoyed word games like Scrabble, frequently coaching those who were playing with her to help improve the competition. She was a faithful student of the Bible and a prayer warrior, praying for many ministries around the world.
She moved to Landis Homes in 2008 and was initially very active in the Landis Homes community, but needed to decrease her involvements as her strength declined. She continued to have a keen mind and be an interesting conversationalist up until the stroke in December 2019.
A private graveside service and burial for family and friends will be held Jan. 22, 2020 at Oley Mennonite Church cemetery, Oley, PA. A memorial service will be held Thursday morning, Jan. 23, 2020 at 10 a.m. in West Bethany Chapel of Landis Homes, Lititz, PA with a family visitation from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Landis Homes Caring Fund, 1001 E. Oregon Rd., Lititz, PA 17543.