Fern Lynette Goering was born June 14, 1920 in Moundridge, Kansas, the youngest of nine children of Andrew C. and Katharine (Flickner) Goering. She was baptized at Eden Mennonite Church in Moundridge. She fondly remembered growing up on a farm and her father’s calling her “my fourth son” because of her ability to help with field work being for her the greatest praise.
Following graduation from Moundridge High School, she attended Bethel and Bethany Colleges. On June 18, 1943, she married Roland Goering, shortly after his graduation from Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. The date largely was chosen for its being the anniversary of Fern’s parents.
Roland pastored a number of Mennonite churches, with Fern sharing faithfully in the ministries of these churches in McPherson, Halstead and Hillsboro, Kansas, Reedley, California and Freeman, South Dakota. She enjoyed entertaining and was dearly loved by the congregants of the churches they pastored, and a number of these stayed in touch with her until her last days.
After Roland suffered a stroke, she was told that he could not be capably cared for at home, but she proved everyone wrong, providing his care until close to his death on February 20, 2002.
Those preceding her in death are her parents, sisters Emma (Everett McWilliams), Dorothy, Adina, and Sophia; brothers Martin, Peter (Mary), Lester (Ruth), and Orlo (Helen), sisters-in-law Erma (Dan Goering), Welma (David Thiessen), Welda (Harold Schmidt), Florence (Warren Swanson) Ellen (Reuben Schrag); brothers-in-law Howard (Darlene), Harley, Wilburt (Erma), and Vernon (Marna). Survivors include sisters-in-law Joy (Leslie Thiessen), Lorita (Herb Zook), Marna (Vernon Goering) and a host of nieces and nephews.
Her family remembers Fern’s greatest joy being that of spending time in her garden even tilling it herself as recently as last fall, being very close to her plants, and sharing the fruits of her labor with countless friends and neighbors. She also told her family that one of the reasons she loved gardening was because that is where she felt so close to God. She also faithfully prayed for members of her family.
Visitation will be from 6 to 8 PM Tuesday, October 15 at the Petersen Funeral Home in Newton. A private graveside service will be held October 16 at 2 pm.
Memorials to Bethel College, 300 E. 27th St., North Newton, Kansas 67117 and Mennonite Central Committee, 121 E. 30th St., North Newton, Kansas 67117. Petersenfamilyfuneralhome.com.