Obituary of Gertrude Penner Bartsch

May 13, 1891 - October 19, 1930

From Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1930 Oct 29 p. 4

Mrs. Paul W. Bartsch of 515 East Third St., passed away at the Bethel hospital this morning at 3 o'clock after an illness of about twelve days with cryalpelas [sic erysipelas]. Mrs. Bartsch was formerly Gertrude Penner of Beatrice, Nebr. Funeral arrangements have not been definitely decided upon.

From Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1930 Nov. 12 p. 1

Mrs. Paul W. Bartsch
(A Tribute by Her Husband)

My dearly beloved wife, Gertrude Bartsch, nee Penner, was born near Beatrice, Nebraska, May 13th, 1891. Her parents, Rev. J. K. Penner and Helene Penner nee Jantzen, reared her with the most affectionate and exacting care. Their greatest concern and purpose was to lead the child and to keep it in close communion and fellowship with her Lord and Savior.

Her childhood was an ideal one, and most joyous and pleasant in herparental home where she was enveloped with this distinctly Christian atmosphere and surrounded by the love of her parents and elder brothers and sisters. The fond memories of those days she would recount frequently and they lingered with her until the end. During this her early life she experienced the loving call of her savior and was especially drawn closer to Him when in 1907 her youngest eleven year old sister Martha, was taken into the devine [sic] Shepherd’s fold.

During her youth she displayed a strong inclination for self-expression in music, and this talent was carefully directed and developed by her father. And ne’er a day would pass but what the family circle would gather to sing songs of praise and she would play the accompaniment. She was fortunate to have been able to receive the education from her father, whose services as educator extended over a period of fifty years. This instruction was received in the church and preparatory school, where she enjoyed the privilege of listening to the Bible stories as only her father could relate them and where she obtained a vast store of knowledge of Scriptural verse and sacred songs, in addition to the regular course prescribed by the school.

In this atmosphere she grew up to young womanhood, and on Pentecost of 1909, she gave herself to the Lord and was received into the church thru baptism upon confession of faith.

On April the 14th, 1920, we were married, when she left her dearly beloved parental home to make her home in Newton.

Our married life extends over a period of ten years, during which time we shared the joys and sorrows of life. But these ten years shall never be forgotten.

Our wedlock was blessed with the birth of three children, Anna Marie, born in 1922, John Theodore born in 1923, and Paul William born in July, 1930.

It seemed that she had a premonition that her stay with us would not be long. She seemed to plan her affairs as if when the youngest child was born this summer that she should never return to her family which she loved so dearly. But joyous were the days when she was again restored to her family until when on Monday and Tuesday, October 20th and 21st, she was returned to the hospital upon the advice of a physician for further medical treatment, and this time to give especial attention to a seriously infected upper lip caused by a small pimpel [sic].

When during one of the first few days of her stay at the hospital she had asked the attending physician whether or not the infection might have serious and fatal results because of its location and had received a reply in the affirmative, she forthwith arranged to meet her Savior. On Saturday afternoon, October 25th, she rose in bed and told me, “I know the end is coming, stay with me and call the children.”

On Sunday morning it was noticed that the complications had set in and that in addition to the deadly infectious germ which had distorted her face and terribly enlarged her upper lip, another equally dreaded disease, erysipelas had taken hold of her weakened system, and commenced to spread over her face so that by Sunday noon, the right eye became entirely closed. When sitting at her bedside that memorable Sunday morning, she begged of me to read to her that beautiful German Song, which is based upon the twelve words in the German version of the fifth verse of the 37th Psalm: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” She then asked that I sing to her the verse, “How blessed the rest with Jesus in His glorious light.”

She then related that she had had a wonderful experience. These were her words, “Just as dearly as I love you, just as dearly as I love Anna Marie, just as dearly as I love Johnnie, and just so dearly as I love Paul William, just so dearly does Jesus love me, and infinitely, infinitely more.” And again she said, “We must love Jesus, O so much more than we have in the past.”

She had expressed the desire that her mother be called and others of the family, and upon the arrival of her mother from Nebraska that Sunday evening, she told her, “Mother, I am so glad you are here, I have been so very, very tired, and now I want to rest on your bosom.”

On Monday morning the disease closed her left eye, so that she was unable to see anyone. At one time she said, “Just as I would go out and hunt for any of my children should they be lost, just so does Jesus go after us, and soon that Good Shepherd will come after me, his tired sheep, and take me home.”

And at different times, “I have severed my ties to this world and am ready to be with Jesus.” “But my poor, poor children.” On Tuesday afternoon it became very noticeable that she was failing, and as we with her mother and sisters gathered about her to sing some of those favorite songs of hers, she would join and sing her usual contralto part. After a prayer service in the evening, when she asked whether she knew that she was going home, she answered with a very clear “yes” and at one time she pointed upward as if to show that the Heavenly gates had spread to receive her.

After eleven o’clock Tuesday evening, she sank very rapidly and at 2:10 a. m. Wednesday morning, October 19th, 1930, her soul departed to those mansions, where pain and sorrow and tears are unknown and where she can dwell in the glorious presence of the Loving Redeemer, and join her younger sister and also her father who had preceded her six years ago, and the host of saints that have gone on before.

She reached the age of thirty-nine years, five months and sixteen days.

We mourn her parting but not as those who have no hope. Even tho of heavy heart, we rejoice in her victory, realizing that she has obtained the better part. We shall miss her, and no longer will we see her tender smiling face, no longer hear that sympathetic loving voice, no longer feel the touch of a hand that cared, and that chair will always be vacant. And the music has ceased that resounded when her lithe fingers slid gently over the ivory keys. But ah, that music shall resound again and we shall hear greater strains when the Angel of light bids us to lay down our own earthly garment and we may be privileged to join her again in the praise of the great redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory and the Prince of Peace. His will be done. Amen.

The funeral services were held at the home and at the First Mennonite church Saturday afternoon. Rev. Bernhard Regier had charge of the service at the home and a mixed quartet composed of Mrs. E. Linscheid, Mrs. Gerhard Claassen, H. J. Andrus [sic Andres] and C. J. Richert sang hymns as did the members of Mrs. Bartsch’s Sunday school class.

At the church Rev. A. Warkentin preached in German and Rev. J. E. Entz in English. A double quartet of men’s voices furnished the music those in the quartet being K. A. Richert, B. E. Regier, H. J. Andres, Herman Janzen, A. D. Unruh, P. C. Andres, F. C. Claassen and C. J. Richert.

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