Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

April 9, 2012

Couple, both 90, married 69 years


GOSHEN — Nettie and Vernon Bontrager were both raised Amish, Nettie just east of Goshen and Vernon near Shipshewana. They met through church youth group activities and were married 69 years ago.

Nettie just celebrated her 90th birthday last Tuesday. Vernon was 90 in November.

The couple joined the Mennonite Church and still attend Rose Lawn Mennonite Church.

The Bontragers raised a family of four sons and four daughters and lived most of their lives in Middlebury. Vernon went to work for Star Tank and Boat Co. (predecessor to Starcraft Boat Co.) in 1950. He later worked at a feed mill in Clinton Center and later for Pyrofax Gas, which merged with Petrolane, he explained. He also had a 12,000 laying hen operation for several years. Vernon retired in 1987.

The family includes Ilene (Alvin) Miller, Florida; Leonard (Judy) Bontrager, Rochester; Clifford (Julie) Bontrager, Pangburn, Ark.; Ruby (Richard) Beachy, Champaign, Ill.; Glendon (Patricia) Bontrager, Howe, (Glendon died last October); Phyllis Bontrager, New Paris; Myron (Dana) Bontrager, Goshen; and Arloa (Rohrer) Bomberger, Goshen.

They also have 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

The couple served two stints and a total of four years volunteering at a church camp in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky, through the Conservative Mennonite Missions Board.

“They were interesting times in the 1980s,” Vernon said.

“In our retirement, we have enjoyed traveling,”  he said. The couple visited their son, Myron, in Ecuador, went to Europe in 1969 and enjoyed bus trips across the United States and Canada.

“We feel our long-distance travel days are over,” he added.

Vernon has helped grade the Bible lesson tests for Gospel Echos for 22 years. He said he also enjoys reading, working on puzzles and the activities planned at their community. Nettie enjoys crocheting.

Some of the family helped Nettie celebrate her birthday last week, but the whole family will gather on Saturday, April 14.

The Bontrager family has a big reunion every two years and this summer is the time for the next one, Vernon said. While they will mark their 69th anniversary this June, he joked that they may celebrate again “if we make it to 70.”

Vernon said he has read The Goshen News since the days it was called the “Democrat,” and has subscribed through all the name changes over the years.

“The first thing we read is the obituaries, to see if we are in there,” he joked. He said The News is the only daily paper they have subscribed to.

Vernon said a granddaughter taught him how to use the computer in the library, which he uses to send e-mails and keep up with the family. “I still don’t understand Facebook,” he added.

Move to Goshen

The Bontragers moved to Waterford Crossing 15 months ago, where they have felt welcome.

“We were greeted by name the day we arrived,” Nettie said. “We love it here. This is now our home. We love the view.”

They said their children approved their decision to move to the Goshen community. Three children are nearby, Vernon said. They have made a lot of new friends, they said.

The only things he misses is having a big garden and his old workshop, Vernon said. But one of the sons has most of his tools, he adds.

“This is a good place to live,” he said. They enjoy their corner apartment with a great view of the pond and walking trail at Waterford Crossing and can watch the wildlife outside. One day they counted 170 geese out on the water, he said. 

Text Only
Breaking News
  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cat beaten to death in burglary

    A house cat was found beaten to death following a burglary at a home in Howe Sunday.

    July 21, 2014

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • GN140719 obit mcdaniel Jeanine M. McDaniel OSCEOLA — Jeanine M. McDaniel, 61, died Thursday afternoon at Elkhart Hospice House. She was born Feb. 16, 1953 in Noble County, to Everett and Nyra Lucille (Reynolds) McDaniel. Surviving are two sisters, Patty (William) Wray, Paducah, Ky. and Bever

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140718 Rosalie Bontrager senior fair queen.jpg Bontrager wins senior queen title

    Rosalie Bontrager was crowned senior fair queen at the grandstand at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Friday morning, July 18, 2014.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results