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Waltner, Benjamin P. (1886-1966)

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Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1966 May 19 p. 3

Birth date: 1886 Jul 10

text of obituary:

Long-Time Freeman Instructor Dies

Freeman, S. D. — Ben P. Waltner, 79, long-time science instructor at Freeman Junior College and former registrar and dean of the college, died at the hospital here May 10, about an hour after sustaining injuries in a fall at his home. He had suffered serious injuries in a highway accident near Moundridge, Kan. about a year ago, from which he had not fully recovered.

Funeral services were held Friday afternoon at the Salem Mennonite Church near here.

A native of this community, Mr. Waltner attended the Freeman Academy, Yankton College, South Dakota and Iowa state colleges, receiving the M.A degree.

After teaching in public schools he joined the faculty of Freeman Junior College as instructor of agriculture in 1919. He continued with the college here until his retirement, serving as instructor in science, as registrar and later dean for a number of years. He was acting president of the school in 1938-39.

Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: 1966 Jun 9 p. 8

text of obituary:


A long journey of nearly 80 years reached its destiny on May 10, 1966, at 12:55 p.m. as a result of injuries caused by a fall.

Benjamin P. Waltner, the second child of Peter M. and Freni Waltner, was born on July 10, 1886, on a farm in Hutchinson County near Freeman, S. D. Here he grew to manhood and experienced the privations and joys of his pioneer parents.

He was baptized upon his confession of faith by Rev. Christian Kaufman on Aug. 3, 1904 at the Salem Zion Church and later transferred his membership to the Salem Mennonite Church where he remained an active and faithful member until his death.

Mr. Waltner received his early education in the public schools and was among the first to graduate from Freeman Junior College. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from South Dakota State College and a Master's degree in botany from the University of South Dakota.

He started his teaching career in a one-room country school near Freeman. After completing his college education he taught high school agriculture at Big Stone, S. D. and at Jackson, Minn.

In 1919 he joined the faculty of Freeman Jr. College as a teacher of agriculture and the biological sciences where he devoted his life to service until his retirement in 1957. His teaching was inspired by his firm belief that a man's Christianity should show itself through his daily living in whatever honest calling he might follow.

On August 28, 1919, he married Adina J. Graber and together they shared many blessings and joys these 47 years. Two daughters were born to this union.

The family lived on a small farm near the college. Because of his love of nature and the outdoors he thoroughly enjoyed the farm, and especially his hobby of beekeeping which he pursued to a greater extent following his retirement from active teaching. Not only did he inspire and challenge his students in school, but to his grandchildren he was a beloved grandpa who patiently worked with them and instructed them.

He is survived by his loving wife, two daughters, Mildred (Mrs. Gerhard Buhr) of Shawnee Mission, Kan., and Florine (Mrs. Harold Plenert) of Wichita, Kan.; two sons-in-law; five grandchildren; six sisters, Marie (Mrs. Jacob P. Preheim), Anna (Mrs. Henry Jos. Waltner), Frances (Mrs. Emil Preheim), Helen (Mrs. Jacob J. Gering) and Mrs. Edna Graber, all of Freeman, and Mrs. Regina Stucky of Hutchinson, Kan.; one brother, John, and wife, Bertha, of Freeman; and five brothers-in-law. Preceding him in death were his parents, two brothers (Jacob and Otto), two sisters (Caroline and Elizabeth), and two brothers-in-law.

Funeral services were held at the Salem Mennonite Church on May 13, with Rev. Willard Wiebe officiating. Nephews of the deceased served as pall bearers and music was furnished by the men's chorus of the church of the church and Mrs. Gene Waltner, organist.

The Mennonite obituary: 1966 May 31 p. 369

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