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Vernon Neufeld

Ruth Neumann Neufeld

There are some great images of Vern and Ruth through the Bethel College Website in Newton, KS. If you go to this site please do a search for the name Vern Neufeld - there is so much interesting information about he and Ruth.

Vernon H. Neufeld, Bethel College’s seventh president, died July 18 in Bakersfield, Calif., after a brief illness. He was 88.

Neufeld graduated from Bethel in 1949 with a bachelor of arts in music. He earned a degree from Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Chicago, in 1954 – while also serving as pastor of Zion Mennonite Church in Donnellson, Iowa – and masters and doctoral degrees at Princeton Theological Seminary.

In 1959, Neufeld was hired as faculty in the Bethel College Department of Bible and Religion. After one year of teaching, Neufeld accepted the position of president of Bethel College, serving from 1960-67.

Albert J. Meyer, now of Goshen, Ind., served as academic dean under Neufeld. “Vernon was a person of integrity, a person of his word,” Meyer said. “Under the pressures of the presidency, he did not cut corners. I well recall a meeting of Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference presidents and deans with an educational expert from Chicago [where] Vernon was clearly the leader among the presidents".

Neufeld and Meyer worked to develop cooperative programs with the presidents and deans at Hesston College and Tabor College and worked with the other “Highway 81 presidents” (including McPherson College and Bethany College, among others) to initiate the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas (ACCK).

Neufeld’s survivors include Ruth, his wife of 67 years; two sons; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

The following was published in the Bakersfield Californian on November 15, 2009:

Ruth I. Neufeld, born May 25, 1921 in Medford, OK, died peacefully on October 31, 2009 in Bakersfield, CA after a brief illness. Ruth was born in Medford, Oklahoma to parents Carl and Elizabeth Neumann. She was raised in a loving home with nine brothers and sisters. While growing up she attended schools in Medford, OK and Dos Palos, CA before moving to Shafter, CA in 1936. Ruth attended and graduated from Shafter High School in 1939. During her high school years, she met her future husband, Vernon H. Neufeld. After four years of courtship, they married on November 17, 1940. Their initial years together were spent working the family farm. During this time, Vernon and Ruth had two sons, Ramon and Howard, born in 1942 and 1944 respectively. Ruth's life was dedicated to being a loving mother and devoted wife. She supported Vernon in his quest for an education and in his work. At the same time she created a loving and nurturing home for her family. Life together included moves to Kansas, Chicago, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. In 1959, the family moved to North Newton, KS, where Vernon taught classes and was President of Bethel College. In 1967, Vernon and Ruth moved to Fresno where Ruth worked as a medical receptionist, and Vernon worked as Director of Mennonite Mental Health Services. Both retired in 1983, moving to Bakersfield in 1984. The retirement years were spent with family activities, woodworking, gardening, and traveling. Ruth was preceded in death by Vernon Neufeld (1920 - 2008), her husband of 67 years. Ruth was a loving mother and devoted spouse. She will be remembered in a private family Memorial and Celebration of Life.

They are both truly missed by those who knew and loved them