Dorotha May Hygema
F, #20701, b. 16 May 1913, d. 6 June 2002
Dorotha May Hygema was born on 16 May 1913. She died on 6 June 2002 at age 89.
Dorotha Pannabecker passed away on June 6,
2002. She was the wife of former Bethel College
president Ray Pannabecker (1913-2001). Dorotha
was a member of Brenneman Memorial
Missoinary Church, the Christian Women’s Club,
Bethel College Ladies Auxiliary, Hubbard Hill
Ladies Auxiliary and the Mishawaka Garden Club.
She is survived by three daughters, Esther (’59)
(Dick ’58) Matteson of St. Petersburg Russia;
Delora (’67) (Richard) Craig of Greenwood, IN;
and Marriette (Hal) Hayden of Mishawaka, as well
as her two sons, Willard J. (’63) (Barbara) of
Austin, TX and Calvin R. (’63) (Pat ’61) of
Claremont, CA; eleven grandchildren and fifteen
great-grandchildren. Dorotha May Hygema has reference number 20791.
Ray P. Pannabecker
M, #20702, b. 27 June 1913, d. 10 June 2001
Ray P. Pannabecker was born on 27 June 1913 in Elkton Michigan. He died on 10 June 2001 at age 87.
A TRIBUTE TO
RAY P. PANNABECKER
Dr. Albert J. Beutler
The following is a transcriptionofthe tributegiuen by A1 Beutler
at Ray Pannabecker's funeral held June 15,2001, at the Euerest-
Rohrer Chapel on the campus of Bethel College, Mishawaka IN.
Dr. Pannabecker-former Missionary Church pastor, district superintendent,
president ofBethel College, and chaplain at Hubbard
Hill Retirement Community-slipped easily and quietly into the
Loral's presence Sunday afternoon, June 10,2001.
day, we have assembled to recognize and remember a man T who has left us a legacy through his life and ministry that is an
inspiration to all of us. Over a period of almost 60 years, Ray P.
Pannabecker was known as a pastor, district superintendent,
announcer of The Worship Hour, editor, dean of men, president,
denominational officer and chaplain.
The humility of this man is illustrated by his first pastorate
right out of college. He and Dorotha began serving a little mission
churchin Detroit in 1935. It was 11 years later, in 1946, that our
paths first crossed. Ray had just recently moved to what is now the
Oak Grove Missionary Church located in Madison Township of
this county. I was a senior at Madison Twp. High School, president
of the Wakarusa Missionary Church youth group and member of
our high school basketball team. The coach and some of the team
members decided to hold basketball practice on the night our youth
group met. I shall never forget the support Pastor Ray gave me
which ultimately led to my being able to continue as youth leader
and remain a member ofthe varsity squad. Ray illustrated well his
pastoral heart as he assisted a young Christian who was not even
a member of his church.
Interestingly, we both came to Bethel College the year the
school opened-he as an administrator-instructor, I as a student.
He became our Dean of Men where he continued to exhibit a
pastor's heart, counseling the men about their relationship to God
as well as dealing with such practical issues as how to make-up our
For a period of 8 years (1944-1952) while fulfilling roles as
pastor and dean of men-instructor, Ray was also editor of the
church periodical, The Gospel Banner. During his youth, Ray's
father managed Bethel Publishing Company. One person said,
"He had literally grown up in the printing and publishingwork and
was well acquainted with the requirement of a church paper."
Under his leadership subscriptions climbed to an all-time high.
One has to wonder with his family and professional responsibilities
where this man found time to edit a church periodical. But he
did. During these years, Ray's radio voice became widely known,
for he joined with Q. J. Everest as the announcer for The Worship
Hour and served in that role for many years.
In 1951, Ray returned to the pastorate, where he put to use the
principles of speech and Bible study he so aptly taught during
Bethel's first four years. His ministry was well received and his
fellow pastors recognized his leadership qualities. Thus, he was
elected District Su~erintendenotf what is now the North Central
District of the Missionary Church. He became known during this
time as a pastor's pastor, diligently giving of himself to the
encouragement and development of the ministers in his district.
During this time he became a member and officer of the Bethel
College Board of Directors. In 1959, the board elected him to be the
second president of Bethel. To describe Ray's impact and influence
on this college in a few minutes is impossible but let me share a few
things. He had the foresight to enter into a gift annuity agreement
that added another 26 acres to the original 40 acre campus.
Without that land, Bethel would not be what it is today. He also
led the board to adopt a unique plan that led to the professional
improvement of the staff. This program markedly improved the
quality of the faculty and the instructional program.
As president, he sought counsel and assigned roles to
capable academic leaders. This ultimately led to the accreditation
of the college in March of 1971 by the North Central Accrediting
Dr. Pannabecker also initiated another impressive concept.
The office that is now known as Institutional Advancement was
developed during his tenure. He loved Bethel and was its staunch
supporter to his last days.
In 1974, Ray resigned as president and shortly thereafter
accepted an appointment to be the first Director of Services at the
church headquarters. One person described him as being "highly
committed to the Missionary Church, a very conscientious administrator.
He was forward looking, giving considerable attention to
a new stewardship program and the development of an estate
Ray supposedly retiredin 1979, but he soon accepted the role of
chaplain at the comparatively new Hubbard Hill Retirement
Community. He had earlier joined arms with Dr. Stanley Taylor
to promote the establishment of that facility. Fittingly, he served
as pastor and counselor to the residents until seven years ago.
I last talked with Ray last month in the apartment that he and
Dorotha occupied. Several were there visiting and we closed our
session-just as he did with many of the residents-with a time of
prayer. He has now left us but with a legacy that I trust challenges
each of us to even greater service for our fellow man.
Dr. Albert J. Beutler was the third president of Bethel College,
Mishawaka IN, serving from 1974 to 1982. He is currently retired
living in South Bend IN.
Dr. Ray P. Pannabecker, Bethel
College’s second president, went home
to heaven on Sunday, June 10, 2001. He
died quietly and peacefully, just as he
had lived in his long life of
Born in 1913 in Elkton,
Michigan, he was the son of
Rev. J. N. Pannabecker, a
well-known minister in the
Mennonite Brethren in
Christ denomination. When
his father was appointed
manager of Bethel Publishing
Company he moved to Elkhart,
Indiana where Ray grew up and
received his early education. As a
young man he learned the printing
trade. After graduation from high school
in Elkhart, he enrolled at Asbury College
in Wilmore, Kentucky where he received
his A.B. degree. Ray was a gifted musician
and was very interested in science.
He once had the distinction of playing in
a band led by the famous composer, John
Philip Sousa. For a while he struggled
with a career decision. Should he be a
musician or a chemist? Of course, God
had other plans for him. His call to
ministry settled the issue.
Ray married Dorotha Hygema,
daughter of Rev. Jacob Hygema
who was a Bible professor at
Fort Wayne Bible Institute
(now Taylor University Fort
Wayne). The couple, who
was eventually blessed
with five children, began in
pastoral ministry. As time
progressed Ray’s service
extended to editor of the
Gospel Banner, district superintendent
of the Indiana district, president
of Bethel College, director of services
for the denomination, and chaplain at
Hubbard Hill Retirement Community.
A Tribute to a Friend
It was in his role
as Bethel College president that Ray and
this writer became colleagues in service.
It was not a relationship of boss and
employee. We were best friends.
Ray’s leadership style involved
a shared authority with his
administrators, even though
many of us were new at
our responsibilities. His
steady hand and openness
to innovation led to many
positive results at the college.
During his presidency,
which extended from 1959-
1974, the campus was increased
from 40 to 67 acres; three major construction
projects were completed; and
accreditation by the North Central
Association of Colleges and Schools was
achieved. Asbury Theological Seminary
recognized these and other accomplishments
when they awarded Ray an
honorary doctorate in 1964.
Dr. Pannabecker often mentioned
the successful accreditation of the college
as one of his life highlights. The celebrations
and recognition that followed were
truly heartwarming. Yet, awesome as
these things were, Ray never sought or
dominated the limelight. He made
sure that everyone received credit
for this accomplishment. When
famous people like Gerald
Ford, Jerome Hines, Art
Linkletter, Marian Anderson
and others came to the campus
to lecture or to entertain,
Ray included all of us in meeting
and sharing with them.
Even our children were invited
to meet and converse with them.
Life at Bethel had its celebrations.
It also had its problems. Once in the turbulent
’60s a large group of students
occupied the president’s office for a time.
politely to their
expressions of frustration, responded
respectfully to their questions, and
settled the matter to their satisfaction
through his gentle wisdom. When intercollegiate
athletics were introduced at the
college, Ray’s quiet strength was needed
to quell the turmoil that swirled around
this innovation. In stress or in calm, Dr.
Pannabecker was always the same. We
could count on that. He was always
gracious, gentle, patient and kind. He
was never angry.
Ray took a special interest in the
Bethel students. He could call many of
them by name as he walked across
campus. Their problems and concerns
were his as well. He spent hours praying
for them, especially for those who were
troubled. He wanted all of “his” students
to succeed. He cared about the faculty
and staff, also. Whenever he was on
campus and coffee break time came, Ray
would join us and chat with us. This
personal interest was noticed and
appreciated. Ray was a huge fan of
Bethel basketball, even in his later years.
He followed Bethel sports avidly, long
after he had left the college.
—Wayne Gerber, Bethel Dean Emeritus
or in calm,
was always the same.
We could count on
that. He was always
patient and kind.
He was never
angry. Ray P. Pannabecker has reference number 20792.
Johannes M Stahly
M, #20703, b. 16 May 1846, d. 8 June 1915
Johannes M Stahly was born on 16 May 1846 in Gumenwaren, Canton Neuchatel, Switzerland. He died on 8 June 1915 at age 69 in Milford NE.
Johannes M Stahly has reference number 20793.
F, #20704, b. 18 August 1853, d. 19 April 1934
Maria Stahly was born on 18 August 1853 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. She died on 19 April 1934 at age 80 in Milford NE.
Maria Stahly has reference number 20794.
Kathy Romkes Hygema
F, #20705, b. 15 March 1855, d. April 1930
Kathy Romkes Hygema was born on 15 March 1855 in Elkhart County, In. Arkanzo A. Miller and Kathy Romkes Hygema were married in 1893. She died in April 1930 at age 75 in Filer, Idaho.
Kathy Romkes Hygema has reference number 20795.
Arkanzo A. Miller
Arkanzo A. Miller has reference number 20796.
John Romkes Hygema
M, #20707, b. 4 October 1864, d. 21 June 1908
John Romkes Hygema was born on 4 October 1864 in Elkhart County, Indiana. He and Lydia Ann Yoder were married on 1 November 1885. John Romkes Hygema died on 21 June 1908 at age 43 in California, USA.
John Romkes Hygema has reference number 20797.
Henry Romkes Hygema
M, #20708, b. about 1858
Henry Romkes Hygema was born about 1858 in Elkhart County, In. He and Susannah Leatherman were married on 4 February 1883 in Elkhart County, USA.
Henry Romkes Hygema has reference number 20798.
Henry Romkes Hygema and Susannah Leatherman were married on 4 February 1883 in Elkhart County, USA.
Susannah Leatherman has reference number 20799.
Lydia Ann Yoder
F, #20710, b. 7 February 1859, d. 24 November 1932
Lydia Ann Yoder was born on 7 February 1859. John Romkes Hygema and Lydia Ann Yoder were married on 1 November 1885. She died on 24 November 1932 at age 73.
Lydia Ann Yoder has reference number 20800.
Trijntje Bottes Veenstra
Trijntje Bottes Veenstra has reference number 20801.
Gettje van Randen
F, #20712, b. 7 December 1871
Gettje van Randen was born on 7 December 1871 in Gaasterland. Folkert Gabes Grouwstra and Gettje van Randen were married on 23 May 1896 in Gaasterland.
Gettje van Randen has reference number 20802.
Folkert Gabes Grouwstra
M, #20713, b. 22 July 1868
Folkert Gabes Grouwstra was born on 22 July 1868 in Gaasterland. He and Gettje van Randen were married on 23 May 1896 in Gaasterland.
Folkert Gabes Grouwstra has reference number 20803.
M, #20714, b. 13 February 1902
Gerben Grouwstra was born on 13 February 1902 in Gaasterland.
Gerben Grouwstra has reference number 20804.
M, #20715, b. 4 August 1897, d. 7 August 1987
Gabe Grouwstra was born on 4 August 1897 in Gaasterland. He died on 7 August 1987 at age 90.
Gabe Grouwstra has reference number 20805.
M, #20716, b. 4 August 1897
Sierd Grouwstra was born on 4 August 1897 in Gaasterland.
Sierd Grouwstra has reference number 20806.
Gabe Gerbens Grouwstra
M, #20717, b. 8 August 1841
Gabe Gerbens Grouwstra was born on 8 August 1841 in Sloten. He and Rinske Folkerts van der Zee were married on 19 May 1865 in Hemelum Oldeferd.
Gabe Gerbens Grouwstra has reference number 20807.
Rinske Folkerts van der Zee
F, #20718, b. 23 October 1837
Rinske Folkerts van der Zee was born on 23 October 1837 in Hemelum Oldeferd. Gabe Gerbens Grouwstra and Rinske Folkerts van der Zee were married on 19 May 1865 in Hemelum Oldeferd.
Rinske Folkerts van der Zee has reference number 20808.
Gerben Gabes Grouwstra
M, #20719, b. 3 June 1866
Gerben Gabes Grouwstra was born on 3 June 1866 in Gaasterland.
Gerben Gabes Grouwstra has reference number 20809.
Siementje Willems Vlink
F, #20720, b. 30 October 1865
Siementje Willems Vlink was born on 30 October 1865 in Gaasterland.
Siementje Willems Vlink has reference number 20810.
F, #20721, b. 20 June 1894, d. 22 March 1984
Taetsche Grouwstra was born on 20 June 1894 in Gaasterland. She died on 22 March 1984 at age 89.
Taetsche Grouwstra has reference number 20811.
M, #20722, b. 17 March 1905, d. 28 September 1997
Lucas Grouwstra was born on 17 March 1905 in Gaasterland. He died on 28 September 1997 at age 92 in Balk.
Lucas Grouwstra has reference number 20812.
M, #20723, b. 1897
Gabe Grouwstra was born in 1897 in Gaasterland.
Gabe Grouwstra has reference number 20813.
M, #20724, b. 1899
Willem Grouwstra was born in 1899 in Gaasterland.
Willem Grouwstra has reference number 20814.
F, #20725, b. 1900
Tjaltje Grouwstra was born in 1900 in Gaasterland.
Tjaltje Grouwstra has reference number 20815.