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Ediger, Tina Block (1931-2014)

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Latest revision as of 15:48, 27 February 2020

Mennonite World Review obituary: 2014 Oct 27 p. 19

Birth date: 1931 Apr 25, Manitoba
Date of Death: 2014 October 16, Kansas

Mennonite World Review obituary: 2014 Nov 10 p. 9



From the Canadian Mennonite (https://canadianmennonite.org/articles/i-can-still-be-heard):

The woman known to countless Mennonite church missionary kids from Canada and the U.S. as “Aunt Tina” died on Oct. 16 at the age of 83.

“Tina had a special place in her heart for single women missionaries and missionary children. She often entertained them in her home when they came to Newton [Kan.] for debriefing,” wrote Howard Habegger, former executive secretary of the Commission on Overseas Mission (COM) of the General Conference (GC) Mennonite Church, for which Block Ediger worked for more than a quarter-century.

Block Ediger served with COM from 1955-81. She was there when Habegger joined the staff in 1970 as executive secretary. “It was Tina who welcomed me and provided the information and inspiration I very much needed,” he said in his tribute to her. “She had a unique grasp of the total mission program and its personnel overseas. Tina possessed a deep personal passion for GC involvement in world missions, first serving in India and then many years on the COM staff.”

Block Ediger was born April 25, 1931, in Steinbach, Man., to Julius H. and Katherina Block, the sixth of eight children. She was baptized in 1951. According to her brother Bill, she put her secretarial training to work at several different jobs in Manitoba, but found the work unfulfilling.

“I prayed and God led me to accept a job in Newton, Kan., as a secretary for [the] Commission on Overseas Mission, a two-year job that lasted 26 years,” she wrote in her life story.

During these years, she completed her bachelor of arts degree at Bethel (Kan.) College and served for two years as the secretary-bookkeeper at the Union Biblical Seminary in Yeotmal, India.

In 1975, she married Elmer Ediger. “One great joy of marrying Elmer was gaining a family,” she wrote. Elmer died unexpectedly in 1983, three weeks before she started chemotherapy for her lymphoma.

“Tina believed it was necessary to put a ‘face’ on overseas mission,” wrote Habegger. “Therefore, she developed an extensive itineration program for furloughing missionaries, COM staff and commission members. She would say, ‘We need to get a face-to-face story to our churches on what God is doing through the life of our mission family overseas.’ It is safe to say that during Tina’s tenure as a COM staff person she placed mission partners in approximately 90 percent of General Conference churches in the U.S. and Canada. This was an immense task in communicating with pastors, setting up travel arrangements and placing missionaries as speakers in local churches.”

Block Ediger envisioned and then produced the first Overseas Mission Directory, a compilation of information on each country where missionaries were serving. This pictorial directory was “a monumental task,” wrote Habegger, “and was sent to every GC church and each of its members.”

he wrote in her life story. “One of my mottos is, ‘Now that I have shrunk to 4 feet 7 inches, I cannot be seen, but I can still be heard.’ ”

—Posted Nov. 6, 2014


Tina Block Ediger was born April 25, 1931, near Steinbach, Manitoba, to Julius H. and Katharina (Penner) Block. She was baptized in 1951 and died on Oct. 16, 2014.

She attended Steinbach Collegiate High School and Red River Secretarial College in Winnipeg, and then worked as a secretary in Manitoba. From 1955 to 1981, she worked at the General Conference Mennonite Church Board of Missions in Newton. During this time she organized furlough visits for the U.S. by many missionaries and was known as "Aunt Tina" to the missionary kids.

Tina spent two years in India as the secretary-bookkeeper at the Union Biblical Seminary in Yeotmal. She is the author of the book "Window to the World" which describes 100 years of overseas missions of the General Conference Mennonite Church.

While Tina worked full time for the Mission Board, she was a part-time student and completed a bachelor's degree in English at Bethel College. She often mentioned how grateful she was to Bethel for the scholarship that allowed her to finish her degree.

From 1986 to 1996, she worked in the Development offices at Prairie View Mental Health Center. In 2001 Tina volunteered to be a Low-German interpreter for the Kansas Dept. of Health and Human Welfare in order to provide services to the Old Colony Mennonites who had immigrated from Mexico to Kansas. In 2008 she moved into independent living at Kidron Bethel Retirement Community.

Throughout her life she was able to travel to 38 countries, making many friends around the world. She developed close friendships with a number of Bethel College students from China, Japan and India. Tina was a long time member of the Bethel College Mennonite Church. She enjoyed cooking, entertaining, reading, writing, giving speeches, gardening and serving high teas.

In 1975, Tina married Elmer Ediger of North Newton.

She is survived by three children: Elaine (Bob) Burdette of Mulvane, Carol (Ron) Peters of North Newton, and Mark (Jocelyn Milner) Ediger of Madison, Wisconsin; six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren; brothers, William (Dolores) Block of Winnipeg, Jim (Helga) Block of Morden, Manitoba, Peter (Mary) Block of Steinbach, Manitoba; sister, Martha (Leonard) Epp of Brantford, Ontario; and many nieces, nephews and dozens of missionary kids who considered her Aunt Tina.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Elmer Ediger; brothers, Jacob and Henry Block; sister, Anna Isaak; sister-in-law, Betty Block; nephew, Terry Block; and grand-daughter-in-law, Jana Peters.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the Bethel College Mennonite Church of North Newton. There will be no viewing or visitation.

Memorials have been established with Bethel College and Prairie View Mental Health Center.

Petersen Funeral Home

Published in The Kansan from Oct. 18 to Oct. 20, 2014



MLA Personal Photos Collection

Biographical note: Steinbach, Manitoba
daughter of Julius H. and Katharina (Penner) Block
married Elmer M. Ediger 1975 (wife no. 2)
director of General Conference mission services 1971-1981
short term missionary in India (bookkeeper at Yeotmal seminary) 1961-?

Bethel alumni note:

Photo holdings: individual (at desk) ca. 1955 Newton, Ks.
individual -- ca. 1955
Individual -- 1968 individual (at desk) ca. 1970 Newton, Ks.
individual -- ca. early 1970s
Individual -- 1978
Individual -- 1980
individual -- ca. 1987
See Anna Elizabeth (Claassen) Linscheid for group photo

Sources: Grandma Online profile 231381

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