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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Obituary: Joseph Carl Wolgemuth

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  • Joseph Carl Wolgemuth was born on Sept. 22, 1931, in Mount Joy, Lancaster County, Pa., to Ira and Anna Martha Walters Wolgemuth. He died at the age of 81 on Tuesday (Sept. 25, 2012) at Kidron Bethel Health Care after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Carl has donated his body to science. He grew up in Elizabethtown, Pa., and attended the Elizabethtown Schools before going on for higher education at Messiah College, Grantham, Pa. In 1953 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religious education. On March 27, 1954, he married Marilyn Joyce Minter at Zion Brethren in Christ church of rural Abilene. After marriage, Carl and Marilyn served four years of Voluntary Service with Mennonite Central Committee among the agricultural migrant workers in Fresno County, Calif. He and his wife then studied linguistics and became members of Wycliffe Bible Translators. They went to live in a remote area of southern Veracruz, Mexico, with the indigenous Isthmus Aztec people group whose spoken Nahuatl language had never before been written. They analyzed the language, translated Scriptures into that language, wrote literacy materials, provided medical services and helped with community projects. There are many Aztec Christians who now pray, sing and read the translated Scriptures in their heart language. After moving to Dallas, Texas, Carl worked for seven years as a computer specialist at the International Linguistic Center. In 1987, they moved to Newton, where he taught English as a Second Language. He graduated with a master’s degree from Wichita State University in 1994. Among his many other interests were carpentering, computerized typesetting, music, reading and traveling. Together he and Marilyn authored two books about their life experiences. He is survived by Marilyn, his wife of 58 years; a daughter, Carolyn “Carrie” Bishop; five grandchildren, Jake Christopher (Brooke), Leah Ramsey (Marc), Sharon Gallegos (Juan), Joe Christopher and David Christopher; one great-granddaughter, Madrie Ramsey; one sister, Gail Williams; and nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his family. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Joanne Goble; and a stillborn baby daughter, Joyce Elaine. In lieu of flowers, checks may be made to Wycliffe Bible Translators, in care of Petersen’s Funeral Home, 215 N. Main St., Newton, KS 67114. A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday (Sept. 29, 2012) at Shalom Mennonite Church, 800 E. First St., Newton.

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