Goshen News, Goshen, IN


June 26, 2012

Heidi Siemens-Rhodes

GOSHEN — Heidi Siemens-Rhodes, 38, died at her home Sunday evening after living nine months knowing her diagnosis of metastatic melanoma.

She was born June 24, 1974 in Sacramento, CA to Mark and Jan (Lautt) Siemens. She married Mitch Siemens-Rhodes Aug. 3, 1996 in Kalona, IA. He survives.

Also surviving are three children, Theodore Kazuo, Adam Hae and Ira Khalil; her mother, Jan Siemens, Goshen; and a brother, Brad Siemens (married to Andrea Martin), Portland, OR.

She was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Willa Esperanza; and her father, Mark Siemens.

Heidi spent the first three years of her life in Sacramento before moving to Jerusalem, where her parents worked for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) from 1977-82. The family moved to Fresno, CA from 82-89 and to Bangkok, Thailand, 1989-92, where they worked again for MCC.

The 1992 valedictorian of International School Bangkok, she studied at Goshen College, graduating in 1996 with majors in chemistry, biology and secondary education and minors in French and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).

She taught English in Japan from 1997 to 2000, and from 2000 to 2002 she lived in Iowa, where she taught a semester at Iowa Mennonite School and taught English as a second language to adults in Iowa City.

 The family moved to the Goshen area in 2002, and she studied at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary until graduating with a Master’s of Divinity in 2005. From 2006 to 2008 she worked part time at Goshen Public Library and wrote Gather ‘Round Sunday school curriculum for Brethren Press. From 2008 until her death, Heidi served as pastor at Assembly Mennonite Church, where she was ordained in 2011 and truly found her life’s calling in a community that deeply cherished her. She also served on the Goshen Day Care Board for Walnut Hill Early Childhood Center.

Friends may call from 1 to 4, and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Assembly Mennonite Church, 1201 S. 11th Street, Goshen. Viewing may also occur one hour prior to the 10 a.m. Saturday funeral service at College Mennonite Church. The pastoral team of Bethany Swope, Karl Shelly and Carmen Horst will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, to Walnut Hill Early Childhood Center, or to a fund at Assembly Mennonite Church for her children’s education.

Yoder-Culp Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences may be sent to www.yoderculpfuneralhome.com.


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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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