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Matilda “Tillie” Jantzen

December 15, 2017

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.

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5 thoughts on “Matilda “Tillie” Jantzen

  1. Tillie and Lubin made a big impact on my life. Their passion for Christ and his cause is something I deeply resonate with. My sympathies go out to as you bear the loss of you Mom. We lost Dad a few weeks ago. What rejoicing they will have as Lubin and Mom greet them with great joy!

  2. We fondly remember Aunt Tillie’s warm welcome whenever we showed up in your home, whether it was in India or in Newton. We always knew we were loved and “at home” with your family. Our parents had much in common and loved each other deeply. How we thank God for them! May God comfort you with His presence and peace, and we trust your time as a family for the Memorial will be a precious time together.

  3. Tillie brings back all kinds of pleasant memories. Went with us and the miss kids on Shisupal trek about 1963 or so. She was always there for anyone. I remember her little “prayer closet” in Jagdeeshpur where she spent time with her Lord.

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