Elizabeth Ruth Regier Unruh was born on August 5, 1929 in Newton, Kansas to Sam and Anna Regier. She was raised on the family farm between Buhler and Moundridge with her two older brothers, Austin and Raymond. Elizabeth, or Liz, graduated from Buhler High School in 1947, having boarded in town during the school week throughout her four years, living together with other girls and relatives.
Elizabeth attended Bethel College where she met W. Jack Unruh from Meno, Oklahoma. They married on August 18, 1950, at Hebron Mennonite Church, Buhler, Kansas. Having one more year of college before graduating, they resided in the campus “homettes” which was a 15′ x 15′ masonite house with a tin roof and no water. Liz graduated from Bethel College in May 1951 with a degree in Home Economics. The couple eventually moved to Topeka, Kansas where Jack performed 1-W service at the Topeka State Hospital and Liz worked for KPL and taught two years in the Topeka School District.
In 1955 and 1960, Jack and Liz welcomed their two daughters, Carol and Judy, respectively. Liz stayed at home with the girls until Judy was in 5th grade. She then worked as a lunchroom secretary at Boswell Jr. High for three years and at Highland Park Central Elementary School as a paraprofessional in the Chapter 1 reading program for 17 years. She retired in 1991.
A huge part of Liz’s life was spent in church. Southern Hills Mennonite Church was her church home where she and Jack were charter members. She hardly missed a Sunday morning, even after the current pandemic forced her to stay safely in her duplex on Sunday mornings. She learned to watch Sunday services via YouTube link and participated in her women’s Sunday School class via Zoom! She cooked many covered dishes for potlucks, baked many zwiebach for Thanksgiving dinners, and added many stitches around the quilt frame for the annual MCC auction quilt. In the past, Liz was involved in various ministries as well, including the I CARE assistance program and the MCC Olive Branch store in Topeka.
Liz and Jack enjoyed many activities together over the years, including: camping, traveling, cooking out, hosting friends at their place for homemade ice cream, hosting the church for an annual wiener roast, attending local sporting events, and visiting children and grandchildren.
Granddaughters, Nicole and Tia, were very special to Liz. She loved following their lives as they both married and began their own careers and families. Nicole and husband, Josh Hein, of Newton, KS., have four fun and rambunctious children (Jaxson, Rebecca, Allysa and Savannah). She loved hearing stories of their school activities and daily antics. Tia and husband, Kyle Regier recently moved to Halstead where they are closer and were able to make quick visits to Liz after she moved to Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton.
Daughter Carol, along with her husband Mike Ingenthron, live in Grantville, Kansas, close to Topeka. Daughter Judy and husband Tim Goertzen, live in rural Goessel, Kansas.
In January of 2015, Liz and Jack moved to Aldersgate Retirement Village in Topeka. However, in December of that same year, Jack passed away. Liz stayed at Aldersgate making many friends and participating in their many activities until just recently when her health began to decline. After a 7-day stay in a Topeka hospital in mid-November, she moved to Kidron Bethel Village in North Newton, Kansas. She gained a little strength and was able to enjoy visits from family and friends. Happily, she also was able to spend the day at Judy’s house on Christmas Day.
Elizabeth passed away early in the morning on Thursday, January 6, 2022. In her short time at Kidron, we learned she endeared herself to the wonderful staff that took care of her. “Spunky” they called her, and grateful and always kind. She will be missed by her family and many friends.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date in the Spring
Memorial donations in Elizabeth’s memory may be made to Southern Hills Mennonite Church Topeka, Kansas or MCC both in care of Petersen Funeral Home 215 North Main Newton, Kansas 67114
We miss Liz so much here at Aldersgate. She was a good friend. Prayers to the family. Janet and Jerry Rediker
Judy and Carol,
My prayers and thoughts are with you!
Liz was my neighbor, always kind and offered hospitality to everyone. She always made me feel welcome. She will be greatly missed. She was a person who knew God loved her and shared that love with us all.
I am grateful to God for my neighbor and friend, Liz .
I have so many good memories of the years we were neighbors with Liz and her family. We made homemade ice cream and peppernuts together and had fun camping at a place called The Farm. We shared patterns for dresses for our daughters. My sympathy to the family and especially Carol and Judy.
I have many happy memories of the time we were neighbors of Liz and her family. My sympathy to her family.
Liz and Jack were wonderful “grandparents” for our kids. Always thoughtful, loving and kind.
Aunt Liz was a sweet and kind person. She always had a smile to share. When we talked she listened intently and seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying, asking about me and my family and how everyone was. She will be missed but I do know she’s lovin’ her new home!
Judy and Carol, my prayers continue for your family and sending hugs your way 🙏
Judy and Carol,
I am so sorry to read of your mom’s passing. I always admired both of your parents. They were always so nice.
I am thinking of you, both.
Sorry for your loss. Kent & I send best wishes to you both.
Judy & Carol & family,
So sorry for your loss. Your Mom & Dad were always so kind. Hugs & prayers to you both.
Carol & Judy,
I’m so sorry for the loss of your Mom, she was a very sweet lady, i have missed our talks & seeing her every Monday morning. Prayers & hugs to all.
Liz and Jack we’re great neighbors in Shawnee Heights community.
I’m very sorry for your loss. Your mom was very special!
Arzel Blackwell, HPHS 1979
Jack and Liz were honored residents of our communities and schools. Lovingly remember Judy’s school events and track bus trips. Melinn Geery
Carol, so sorry to hear about your mothers passing. Thoughts and prayers are coming your way. Gail
I will greatly miss Liz. So sorry for your loss, Carol and Judy. Liz had such a strong spirit. I always loved talking to her. She was very down to earth and kind with a great sense of humor. I am sorry it has been so long since I have seen her. Rest In Peace, Liz Unruh. 🧡