GOSHEN — Wilma E. (Ewert) Leichty, 88, died Sunday at The Gables Greencroft Goshen Health Care.
She was born March 23, 1925 in Hillsboro, Kan., to Henry S. and Carrie (Nickel) Ewert. After her father completed studies at Tabor College, the family moved back to Mountain Lake, Minn., where she lived most of her childhood years.
Following her mother’s death when Wilma was 3-years-old, she grew up with a beloved stepmother, Emma (Boese) Ewert.
She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Alden Ewert.
Surviving are two sisters, Annette Dick, Mountain Lake, Minn. and Elinor Kliewer, Hillsboro, Kan.; her brother and his spouse, Calvin and Marian Ewert, Lodi, Calif.; and her sister-in-law, Wilma Ewert, Reedley, Calif.
Wilma grew up and became a follower of Christ in the Mennonite Brethren Church. Following studies at Tabor College, she took nurses training at Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton, Kan. While working at the hospital, she met Civilian Public Service worker Clarence Leichty.
Following the war, they each decided to finish their bachelor’s degrees at Goshen College where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1949. They were married Aug. 23, 1949 in Reedley, Calif. Clarence preceded her in death Feb. 25, 2012.
Settling in Elkhart, Wilma and Clarence raised three children, all of whom survive with their spouses, Paul and Twila Leichty, of Goshen, Bruce and Kathy Leichty of Escondido, Calif., and Cheryl and Ronald Blaum of Goshen. Five grandchildren and one spouse also survive, Nathan Leichty of Middlebury, Renita and Matthew Marjan of Lombard, Ill., Julian Leichty of Sacramento, Calif., John Leichty of Pasadena, Calif., and Timothy Blaum of Goshen.
Wilma worked as a receptionist and administrative assistant at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center and Youth Services Bureau in Elkhart during the 1960s and 1970s. She was an active member of Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart and also served on the boards of HOME (Home Ownership Means Equality) and Church Community Services. As neighbors to their denominational seminary (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary), she and Clarence enjoyed extending hospitality to students and guests.
Following Clarence’s retirement as an elementary school administrator, the couple moved to Goshen and became members of College Mennonite Church.
There will be a time of visitation at College Mennonite Church, Goshen, Dec. 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. and Dec. 30 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. prior to the 4 p.m. memorial service.
According to her wishes, her body will be cremated and her ashes scattered in the College Church Memorial Garden.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) or Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).
Yoder-Culp Funeral Home of Goshen is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at www.yoderculpfuneralhome.com.