Matilda (Tillie) Mueller Jantzen, 99, died on Dec. 15, 2017, at Schowalter Villa, Hesston, Kansas.
She was born April 18, 1918 in Deer Creek, Oklahoma. Tillie graduated from Dalhart, Texas high school in May of 1935. She went on to Bible studies at Biola in Los Angeles, California, graduating in the spring of 1942. She married Lubin Jantzen on August 6, 1943 at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Los Angeles. Together they both worked at Oklahoma Bible Academy in Meno, Oklahoma. Feeling God’s call to mission work, they went to India in April of 1947 under the auspices of the General Conference Mennonite Church. They experienced India’s independence from the British Raj and the partition that led to the creation of modern India and Pakistan. For 35 years they served as missionaries, first in evangelism, then in leadership of mission schools at two mission stations. Tillie was founder and principal of Beacon English School, a school for the children of industrial workers. They ended their many years in India on the staff at Union Biblical Seminary, Pune. After their years in India they relocated to Newton, Kansas where Tillie clerked at Faith and Life Bookstore, and supported Lubin in pastoring churches in Newton and the surrounding area. In December of 1997 they moved from their Newton home to a duplex at Schowalter Villa. In 2004 they published their joint autobiography Guided Lives: Memoirs of a Mennonite Missionary Couple to India. In 2006 they found they needed more care and moved to Schowalter Villa’s main building. Wherever they lived they were devoted to the growth and well-being of their church community.
Tillie had a large range of interests. She loved to read and make things. She was an excellent seamstress, keeping her children well-clothed through their school years in India. She had a creative imagination that showed in her pottery-making and home decorating, in solving organization problems in the wide variety of work she was called on to perform in India, and in maintaining a busy schedule of hosting friends, family and mission co-workers. Tillie was an excellent cook and loved to furnish a beautiful table.
She is survived by one brother, Harold (Romy) Mueller of Modesto, CA; one daughter, Esther of Los Angeles, CA; three sons, Dan (Betty) of Arvada, CO; Jim (Susan) of Hillsboro, KS; Jon (Mary Beth) of Tucson, AZ; seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lubin; three brothers, Alfred Mueller, Herbert Mueller, and Edgar Mueller; and two sisters, Linda Kaufman and Olga Franey.
There will be a private family burial. A memorial service will be held at First Mennonite Church, Newton, Kansas on January 6, 2018, at 11:00 AM followed be a meal at the church.
Memorials may be directed to Mennonite Mission Network, 718 N. Main St, Newton, Kansas 67114.