Dorel Jerome Neufeld, 83, died Wednesday March 11, 2015 following a short illness.
He was born on April 1, 1931 (April Fool’s Day, which might explain his love of pranking and jokes as a young man) in Newton, Kansas, the son of Ferd and Clara Merk Neufeld. He resided with his parents and sister, Virginia Neufeld, in Moundridge before moving north of Halstead to a farm next to the Little Arkansas River where he loved to hunt, trap, and farm with his father. Dorel graduated from Hesston Academy and after serving in the army during the Korean War, he later returned to complete an education degree from Bethel College in North Newton. This is where he met and later married his beloved wife, Phyllis Ann Epp Neufeld, on Feb. 27, 1956. She is currently hospitalized in Newton. They recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary.
For 30 years Dorel split his career between farming and teaching at Halstead High School before retiring. Health issues forced him from continuing in farming earlier than he wished but thanks to his gracious renters he was able to continue working with them in various ways.
Teaching history and government for so many years spurred his interest in politics and he served as mayor of Halstead for 8 years. It also meant family trips in the summer to many historical sights.
He was an active member of the First Mennonite Church in Halstead, serving in many leadership positions through the years.
Survivors include; wife Phyllis; son David Neufeld and wife Marda of Silver Lake; daughters Kathy Wray and husband Kevin of Newton, and Carol Raleigh and husband Greg of Hesston; sister Virginia Neufeld of Newton; and 10 grandchildren, Michael Neufeld, Anna Bolan, Alex Neufeld, Andrew Wray, Matthew Wray, Jacob Wray, Morgan Simmering, Lauren Roulhac, Taylor Unruh, and Grant Raleigh; and 15 great grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents.
Peterson Funeral Home in Newton will be open from 5-9 on Monday, March 16 with family present from 6:30 to 8:00.
A private family burial will be held on Tuesday morning, March 17 at Halstead Cemetery followed by a public memorial celebration at 11:00 at the First Mennonite Church in Halstead.
A memorial fund has been established with Hesston College for the Northlawn/Entry Campaign, of which Dorel and Phyllis were currently part of the steering committee.