Knitting 12

Verna M. Gingerich

October 23, 1919 ~ October 14, 2021 (age 101)



Verna M. Gingerich died peacefully and was received into the arms of Jesus on Thursday morning, October 14, 2021, 9 days shy of her 102nd birthday. She was born October 23, 1919 to Moses Sr. and Lydia (Stutzman) Gingerich near Kingsdown, Ford County Kansas. As a baby, she traveled with her parents and four older siblings (Jonas, Elizabeth, Noah and Elmer) to Hartville, Ohio. The family lived in various rental houses in the community and the children attended one-room public schools in Lake Township.

In early 1930, the family moved to the farm north of Hartville that became the home where the children grew up. Verna was joined by younger siblings, Roy (22-days), John, Moses Jr., Betty Marie and Anna. Verna showed an inborn gift for nursing and her four younger siblings became her “patients.” In 1947-48, she went to La Junta Colorado and worked as a nurses’ aid at a hospital. She was asked to stay longer, but returned to Hartville to help in the care of her grandmother, Lizzie (Kemp) Stutzman who lived next door to the Gingerich’s with her husband, Noah. Verna also served alongside several Hartville doctors in home deliveries.

In the late 1940’s Verna, Elizabeth and other young Amish ladies, worked at the Asplin Basket Factory in Hartville. At their noon break the girls would sing together. In the summers of 1952-1954, Verna and her sisters traveled from state to state with Andrew Jantzi to sing in his tent meetings. The four sisters memorized 100 songs and were widely known as “the Gingerich Sisters.” In the late 1950’s into the 1960’s, Verna served as matron at the Berlin Bible School and continued to serve after the school relocated to Rosedale near Plain City, Ohio.

Verna’s father, Moses, passed away in 1954 so Verna, Elizabeth and their mother Lydia lived in a house on the farm that had been built by her brother, Moses Jr. After her mother passed away, the two sisters lived alone in a duplex on William Penn Ave, east of Hartville. Elizabeth and Verna became well-known in Hartville, singing their “Smile Song” at Chase Bank, Hartville Post Office, the Hartville News office and other business places.

Verna served as a “mother” figure to her nieces and nephews, always remembering them with cards or cakes on birthdays and other special occasions.

She was a perfectionist, an organizer, cook and a skilled seamstress. She retired after many years of cleaning Lake High School and was well-known in the Hartville area.

Verna lived alone for five years after her sister Elizabeth passed away after which she went to live with her great niece, Faith Gingerich. Verna lived with Faith her last 3-1/2 years and received excellent one-on-one care from a registered nurse.

She attended church regularly right up until a month before her passing. She especially got to interact with five of her great- great nieces and nephews (Titus and Laura Gingerich’s children); and attended all of their birthday parties and other family events.

In her later years she often asked perfect strangers: “Do you know who I am? I’m Verna Gingerich!” After eating a good meal, she would say, “I have that satisfactory feeling that comes with complete fullness.”

Verna was predeceased by her parents, siblings Jonas, Elizabeth Gingerich, Noah, Elmer, John, Moses Jr., and Anna Sommers. She is survived by her only sibling, Betty Marie Troyer of Harrisonburg VA.

Verna has been a life long member of Hartville Conservative Mennonite Church and always gave full support to her congregation.

Calling hours for Verna will be held Sunday, October 17, 2021 from 2-4pm at Hartville Conservative Mennonite Church, 10547 Market Ave. with a burial immediately following at Walnut Grove Cemetery.

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