Willard Myers Swartley
Willard Myers Swartley, 83, Goshen, died Wednesday, Nov. 6, from natural causes.
He was born Aug. 6, 1936, to William Henry Swartley and Ida Myers Swartley, at Gardenville, Pennsylvania.
On Aug. 16, 1958, Willard married Mary Lapp in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. She survives.
He is also survived by a daughter, Louisa Renee Swartley Oyer (Gary Oyer), Hesston, Kansas; son, Kenton Eugene Swartley (Emily Hertzler Swartley), Cedar Falls, Iowa; six grandchildren, Kristen Swartley, Elkhart, Jeremy Swartley, Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jamie Swartley, Decorah, Iowa, Michelle Swartley, Bluffton, Ohio, John Oyer (Saralyn Murray Oyer), Hesston, Kansas, and Michael Oyer, Anchorage, Alaska; and sister, Dorothy Swartley Martens, Chester, Vermont.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a granddaughter, Jessica Lynn Swartley; and six siblings Marian Swartley Myers, Emerson, Henry Jr., John, Clifford and Kenneth.
Willard graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1954, and from Eastern Mennonite University in 1959, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He continued his education at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart; Garrett Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois; and Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, where he earned a Ph. D. in New Testament Studies, in 1973.
Willard touched many lives through his pastoring and teaching career. After he pastored for five years at the former Locust Grove Mennonite Church, Elkhart, he taught at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia; Conrad Grebel College, Kitchener, Ontario and AMBS, Elkhart. In addition to teaching, Willard wrote many books and articles, and was frequently invited to speak at conventions, conferences and churches.
Willard and his wife Mary were longtime members at Belmont Mennonite Church, Elkhart, where visitation will be from 3 to 5 and 6 to 8 pm. Friday, Nov. 8.
Burial will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Prairie Street Cemetery, Elkhart, followed by visitation at Belmont and a memorial service at 11 a.m., also at Belmont Mennonite Church, 925 Oxford St., Elkhart.
Memorial contributions may be made to AMBS, Elkhart or a charity of your choice.
Yoder-Culp Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.
Online condolences may be shared at www.yoderculpfuneralhome.com.
Published on November 7, 2019


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Showing 10 of 7 posts

Erwin & Alice Unrau
Nov 11, 2019
We had the privilege of hosting Willard when he came to Calgary for a speaking engagement. We enjoyed his company and his insights of the scriptures. It was from that visit that our son Doug decided to go into the ministry. When we came to Elkhart you had us over and we again realized what a humble follower of Christ he was. Our condolences on his passing. May God grant you and your family His peace.
Paul M. Zehr
Nov 11, 2019
Hearing of Willard's death led me to reflect on my many years and times of associating with him such as the Believers Church Bible Commentaries, meetings at AMBS and EMS regarding seminary educational courses in CBTE, and when he was Scholar in Residence here in Lancaster. Willard was an excellent scholar, author, and teacher. He also was a great churchman. I am grateful for what I learned from my associations with him. May the peace and comfort of God be with you, Mary, and your children and grandchildren as you adjust to life without Willard.
Linda and Lynn Miller
Nov 09, 2019
Our condolences to the family of Willard! We knew him when Lynn was a student at AMBS and from attending church at Belmont!
Ken Bechtel
Nov 08, 2019
I treasure memories of his Hermeneutics class, his helpful approaches to Scripture's rich counsel and his wonderful sense of humour. Audrey and I cherish his contribution to our wedding, including his references to our extended "Rahab" prank.
Abram & Ruth Rittenhouse
Nov 08, 2019
We remember Willard and Mary's kindness when we were young parents in Harrisonburg. Mary took care of our 2 year old son in their tiny home while Abe worked near by at the Mennonite Hour Recording Studio when Ruth was in the hospital with our new baby. We later were blessed when their son-in-law worked in the Studio also.
Marlene Kruger Wiebe
Nov 08, 2019
I have good memories of your family visiting our family in Kitchener. You made a big impact on our lives although our year together was short. I extend sympathy to you and prayers for continued strength in your new journey. I respected Mr. Swartley and was enriched by reading his books. I am thankful for the sabbatical program which allowed all of you to come to our community and Rockway for that brief time.
Marlene (Bill and Helen Kruger are my parents)
John and Audrey Eby, Lancaster, Pa
Nov 08, 2019
We enjoyed visiting with Willard and Mary while vacationing with them for several winters in Sarasota, Florida. We enjoyed his theological insights, wit and wisdom. We extend our sympathy to you, Mary, and your family. May God bless you with His peace and comfort, and the good memories of Willard who lived a fruitful, faithful and Godly life.