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Isaac's Story

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Isaac Kulp, Goshen, passed away Oct. 22, at Hospice House.
Isaac "Ike" Kulp was born Nov. 8, 1934, to Manasseh and Amanda (Eby) Kulp, in Brutus, Michigan, the fourth of eight children.
When Isaac was 7 years old, his family moved to Indiana. In Michigan, he had been attending kindergarten, but there was no kindergarten in Indiana. However, the first grade teacher accepted him into her class after she asked if he knew his ABC's. He recited them to her both forwards and backwards, as fast as he could speak.
During his growing up years, Isaac's family were farmers. They also took care of both of his grandfathers in the years before their deaths. Isaac recalled travelling back to Michigan with his mother on the train at age 13 when his Grandpa Eby passed away.
When he was 18, Isaac moved to Pennsylvania where he met Florence Horst. They were married Feb. 6, 1954.
Mary Ann, Virginia and Elsie were born to them while they lived in Kutztown, where Isaac worked as a tomato farmer. Louella and James were born while they lived in Lancaster County, where Isaac worked as a mechanic.
In the spring of 1964, Isaac and Florence and the five children moved to Indiana, where he put his newly-purchased bulldozer to work after a few months of farming. Isaac and his younger brother, Reuben, worked for several years cleaning out fence rows with the bulldozer. Sometimes, Isaac would take a few of the children with him to work. When they used dynamite to blow up stumps along the fence row, he instructed Virginia and Elsie to crouch under the bulldozer bucket for protection while the men set off the dynamite and ran away from the site.
After the Palm Sunday tornado in 1965, Ike used his bulldozer to help with cleanup. Willie Miller, owner of Willie's Construction, read Isaac's name in the newspaper and hired him to work as an excavator. In later years, Ike worked for Schrock's Construction as well, for a total of 40 years of excavating.
As his children married and had their own families, the grandchildren loved to take pictures with grandpa on the dozer. Grandpa had a tradition of passing out small red boxes of raisins when the grandchildren came to visit.
In 2002, Isaac and Florence built a house in Millersburg close to a woods with a pond. Ike phased out the bulldozer business and started his own wood business. Isaac loved trees and wood and could identify the various kinds on sight. With his sawmill and kiln, Ike started Hobby Shop Hardwoods, where he sold all shapes and sizes of wood and boards from a small store close to their pond. Because of the unique wood he sold, he had customers who drove long distances to visit his shop and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces of wood. Isaac and Florence lived in Millersburg for 12 years.
Three years ago, Isaac and Florence moved back to the Goshen area. Isaac resumed his woodworking on a smaller scale, creating stepstools, bluebird houses and wren houses, which he passed out to his children and grandchildren.
When his lung illness took him to the hospital, Isaac struck up a conversation with his pulmonologist about woodworking. A few weeks before his death, Isaac sent a bluebird house to the doctor, who received it with gratitude, stating that he believes Isaac was one of his most favorite patients since he began to practice medicine.
After moving back to Goshen, Isaac checked the Amtrak schedule nearly every day. He and Florence went to Steak 'n Shake to drink their morning coffee and watch the passing of the daily Amtrak trains, one from New York and the other from Pennsylvania.
Isaac is survived by his wife, Florence; children, Mary Ann (Keith) Martin, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Virginia (LaVerne) Hoover and Louella (Larry) Zimmerman, both of Elkhart, James (Malinda) Kulp, Unity, Wisconsin; son-in-law, Ray Hoover; as well as 34 grandchildren and 79 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters, Rachel Newswanger, Pennsylvania, Mary Ann (David) Newswanger, Missouri, and Lydia (Christian) Weaver; Goshen; and a brother, Reuben (Pauline) Kulp from Stratford, Wisconsin.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Elsie Hoover, in 2010 and his granddaughter, Lana Martin, in 2015; his parents; brothers, Paul and Cyrus; and sister, Lena.
Visitation will be from 1-4 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Ramer Building, 24647 C.R. 44, Nappanee.
A service will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Yellow Creek Wisler Mennonite Church, 65081 C.R. 11, Goshen.
Burial will follow at Yellow Creek Wisler Cemetery. Home ministry will officiate.
Arrangements with Rieth-Rohrer-Ehret Funeral Home, Goshen. Offer online condolences at rrefh.com.
Published on October 23, 2017
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