Eclipse of the Sun-2017

Today I joined millions of other curious gazers staring at the once in a lifetime opportunity to see a unique eclipse of the sun. Everyone was looking up-heavenward to see a marvelous wonder of God’s creation. Did you just see the eclipse or did you also acknowledge the awesomeness of the Creator?

Several facts about the eclipse: (taken from Richmond Times Dispatch, August 20, 2017)

  • Here in the Richmond area we experienced an 86% solar eclipse today. The next partial solar eclipse will be April 8, 2024.
  • The last total eclipse for the Richmond area was July 20, 1506. The next time we will be in the path for a total eclipse will be September 14, 2099.
  • The last time a total eclipse swept from coast-to-coast was in 1918.

We put on “eclipse glasses” and I also looked through a welding helmet. The welding helmet had the sun looking orange and the glasses had it looking white.

There were lots of clouds today but I still was able to get several really neat pictures of the eclipse.

The moon is the little blue sliver.

The picture below does not show the eclipse but I loved  how it turned out.

This evening the sun went down as a stunning great ball of fire.

 

“O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens.”

Psalms 8:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God and the heavens show His handiwork.”

Psalms 19:1

 

Heatwole Gathering-2017

For those interested in our family, this post features pictures from our family get-together this weekend at Sparking Springs. This year Phil and Ev Borntrager were in charge. We had church together this morning, followed by good food and fellowship. Each family prepared something to share for the service.

Phil Borntager leading us in singing

Phil & Ev Borntrager reading scripture. (Ev was wearing a bear on her head to create interest for a later children’s event)

Melanie Neiss leading her family (following picture) in blessing us with special music.

Jake Niess with children; Kyra, Taya and Lucas.

Kendra Landis with her children; Blake, Austin and Macey singing Psalms 100, a song they created to help learn the Psalm.

(Girl in red just wanted to sit on Kendra’s lap)

Heidi Nolt with three of her children; Grace, Julianna and David saying some verses.

 Kerwin and Rhonda Borntrager with their children; Ana, Josiah,   Leah and Katie singing a song.

Mother (Fannie Heatwole) sharing some verses that are special to her.

Pat Hertzler had a children’s lesson on “Kindness”.

 

Gene, the pharmacist, giving a “kindness prescription” and two cards with the following verses to each child.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

“Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you”. Ephsians 4:32

Evelyn played some games that we as kids played when we were young: Dentist, Button button who has the button, Smelling with yardstick, Treasure hunt and New Orleans-Here I Come.

“Dentist”

“Button, button, who has the button”

Then off they went on a treasure hunt….

Then Phil read a bear story to the children and they all went out on a bear hunt.

It wasn’t long until the excited explorers came back with the bear in tow….

 

Daddy (Dwight Heatwole)

Micah Heatwole

Ed Heatwole

Phil Borntrager, Gene Hertzler and Micah Heatwole

Calvin Nolt

Kerwin Borntrager

Marj Heatwole

Crystal and Eric Blosser

Eileen Heatwole

Kendra Landis

Jim Landis

Mom and daughter sharing a moment; Melanie Kniss and Marj Heatwole

 Jill Hostetter, Ryan and Karla

Heidi Nolt and Nathan

Pat Hertzler singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to Maude Heatwole…over and over and over…it was great fun and she was my friend for a long time!

Then we learned “I’m squishing up a baby bumble bee. Won’t my mama be so proud of me, I’m squishing up a baby bumble bee….”

“Ouch, he stung me….”

Ryan Hostetter and Marj Heatwole

Gene Hertzler, Obe Hostetter, Kerwin & Phil Borntrager, Dad Heatwole and Rhonda Borntrager

 

Nathan Nolt

Grace Nolt

And the uninvited guest who garnished some attention of the photographers in the family….

Gone Except for the Memories

Today we went to Denbigh (Newport News) to attend the 120-year homecoming celebration at Warwick River Mennonite Church in Newport News. But first, we had to drive past the farm-Quarterfield Farm, Gene’s home place fronting on Colony and Hertzler Road.  Well, it used to be a farm, now it is just a memory.

 

The house site

The garden plot

For 118 years, it was a fertile, productive farm (dairy, then a horse boarding facility) within sight of the Warwick River and belonged to the Hertzler family: Great-grandpa, grandpa and then dad Hertzler.

The once lush meadows and pastures are now pushed over trees, tractors have given way to bulldozers and houses are starting to grace the landscape instead of pecan, walnut, crepe myrtle and oak trees. They tell us the house, barn, machine shed, milk house and shop were demolished 2 weeks ago. What once was a familiar homestead is now a dirt construction site. The pecan trees and shrubbery are still standing marking the outline of the yard but we were told they too will soon be gone. All traces of history have been removed, never to be recovered or preserved. This history was more than just Gene’s family. It was an important part of the history of Mennonites who came to Denbigh. In 1897 D.Z. Yoder and Isaac D. Hertzler (Gene’s great-grandpa) came to Denbigh and purchased a 1200 acre plantation for $10 an acre. This quickly attracted the interest of many other Mennonites in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other parts of Virginia who moved there. The land was divided between the families forming a very unique close-knit faith and agricultural community called  “The Colony”.

A new house now built in the front pasture.

The neighbors fought hard against city hall pleading for a park, a preservation of the cherished land. They fought City Hall and City Hall won. A sign saying “Hertzler Meadow” almost feels like a taunt.

It feels sad and as a family we now only have a marker in the church cemetery a mile from the farm to document Oliver and Anna Mae Hertzlers’ existence.

But, they are not forgotten. We have memories, lots and lots of memories, precious memories and pictures that we do and will continue to cherish. Dad Hertzler knew the inevitable was coming and he had worked out the plans before his death. We are just glad he didn’t have to see the reality of it.

It reminds us of the frailty of life. We are only here for a few short years and then we are gone, never to return.

What will be our legacy?

How will we be remembered when there is nothing left but a tombstone?

 

All flesh is like grass, and it’s loveliness as the flower of the field.

Isaiah 40:6

As for man, his days are as grass; as the flower of the field so he flourished. For the wind passes over it and it is gone; and the place remembers it no more.

Psalms 103: 15-16

This is a unique, to scale model of “The Colony” made by Sam Brunk for the 100th Anniversary showing how it was in 1947. It is now solid development. The 60 acres owned by Dad Hertzler was the last piece of land to be sold. He held on to the land tenaciously even though the city was determined to force him out.

Quarterfield Farm, farm of Henry-Anna Hertzler, Gene’s grandpa.

 

Some related blog posts about the farm.

A Mulberry Tree

I have never had any interest in mulberry trees. None. I have never seen, tasted a mulberry or even thought about one until today. Well, actually the “seed” (of thought) was planted last week. Today that tree burst onto my horizon and I tasted of its sweetness.

Let me tell you a story….

Last week a well-known Powhatan local, previous business owner, (Flatrock Hardware) Jack May, stopped in the store and we started chatting. I could have listened to him for hours. You see, Jack used to live on our farm way back in the 40’s. Jack has a bank full of memories and stories about our farm.

One such story is the about a huge 5-foot diameter (according to Jack’s tale) mulberry tree that was beside a pig pen just down the hill from the house behind one of our house trailers.  A tree that big had to have heard Indian tales. He recalled climbing the tree and eating the sweet berries.

His grandpa, Henry May, owned the farm but Donald May, Jack’s dad, lived here and cleared/tilled the land. Grandpa Henry owned a prized Hereford breeding bull for which he paid a lot of money. The bull was not mean, but he had developed an intense dislike for Jack who was a young lad. For Jack to go to the barn he had to go around the mulberry tree and through the pig pen to stay out of the area the bull was kept.

One day when Jack was home alone, he decided to go to the barn. As he headed for the mulberry tree he skirted too close to where the bull was chained and found himself in a dangerous situation. To defend himself, he picked up a softball size rock and hurled it at the charging bull. The rock hit the bull in the center of the forehead, right between the eyes, dropping him instantly to the ground. Jack says he learned to pray that day!!! He thought he had killed grandpa’s bull and he was scared to death of the repercussions!

The bull finally started shaking his head and eventually got back up on his feet.

The mulberry tree eventually met its demise.  After hearing Jack’s story, I found myself thinking about that huge tree and wishing I could have enjoyed it’s beauty and sweetness.

This morning brought with an unexpected wonder.  The past several weeks we have been cleaning up the brush and weeds that have grown up behind and around the house trailer which just happens to be the area where the mulberry tree was.  There are now several big stately oak trees growing there but also a dense jungle of scrub bushes, poison ivy and other trees: Rose of Sharon, gum, maple, etc. I told the guy doing the cleanup to take out all the little sapplings except for one nicely formed tree that was getting some size to it.  I was standing under the tree when I happened to look up and to my wonder, my eyes suddenly fixed on red and black berries that looked like elongated blackberries. Mulberries? This had to be a mulberry tree! (If it hadn’t been for Jack’s story the previous week I would never have given a second thought about what it was).

A quick internet search confirmed that it was indeed mulberries.  The berries were almost gone but I was able to feast on a few deliciously sweet berries. The deep dark red, blood colored juice stains your fingers purple.

I am not aware of any other mulberry trees growing on the farm. It makes me wonder, could this sapling by chance, after all these years, be a descendant of the original mulberry tree? It is in the right area.  Coincidental-maybe.  By chance-perhaps. Does it matter? Not really, but I am going to speculate on the wonder that it just might have some Powhatan history in its DNA.

 

A resource: Mulberries- Sweet but Beware Their Dark Side

A memory: When we were kids we used to sing and act out the nursery rhyme “Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush”.

Blog post about the history of this farm:  “Once Upon A Time”.  I now have to change the history of this blog to reflect the Mays!

All Is Well That Ends Well

Our flatbed delivery truck sprung a water leak when out on the road this week. Gene wanted me to go with him in the rollback truck to retrieve it as he knew that it was going to be too big of a challenge to load all by himself.  The important piece of information in this story is that the emergency brake on the flatbed does not work.

We drove to where the truck was parked and Gene backed the rollback into place. My job was to put blocks behind the back tires of the flatbed as he drove it up on the rollback. I had to be very careful and not get behind the truck or get myself into a dangerous position…just in case the truck rolled backwards. The truck did not have enough power to drive up the steep slope of the rollback, it would only go about half way. Gene had me securely block the back tires while he mashed the brake.  After the tires was blocked,  he got out of the flatbed and careful hooked the wrench on the rollback to the under girth of the flatbed. As he wrenched the flatbed forward, I had to keep moving the blocks forward, keeping them tightly tucked behind the back wheels. Finally, we got the flatbed up on the rollback. I breathed a sigh of relief as he raised the bed of the rollback and moved it forward into transport mode.

That was when I suddenly noticed a very distressful situation. The front tire of the flatbed on the passenger side was off the side of the rollback with maybe a skimpy inch of rubber still on the rollback. This was NOT good. We now had a dire predicament. I was sure we needed to call a wrecker to safely pull the truck over a few inches.  I could see no way we could back that truck up and keep the  flatbed from flipping off the truck over onto the pavement.

After a little thought and evaluation, Gene very, very carefully unwrenched the flatbed letting it roll backwards inch by inch, carefully adjusting the steering wheel and me again moving the blocks, this time backwards all the while saying, “Lord, help us” over and over again.  Once it was unloaded, we had to go through the loading process again.  I DECIDED I DID NOT LIKE BEING A WRECKER ASSISTANT as it is too hard on the nerves!  After it was loaded on the rollback and the bed brought up into level position, I was given my second job. I had to sit in the cab of the flatbed-way up high in the sky in a truck on top of a truck-and steer it! This simple feat was accomplished by watching Gene’s upraised finger twitch in one direction and then another.  I could not see the sides of the rollback bed as he wrenched the truck with me sitting in it forward!!! This has a way of making ones heart beat twice as fast as normal. Once into position, I had to keep my foot mashed on the brake until he had the truck securely strapped into place. Believe me, I obeyed, and there is a dent in the floor board where the pedal meets the floor!

I rather enjoyed the ride home. When riding in the cab of the rollback, you are sitting up higher than most of the other vehicles on the road and it feels like you are king of the road with a big load and a good view.

Now my friend, this picture shows the spacing of the tire when the truck is loaded properly.

The Lord did help us and I was so grateful when the truck was safely and properly loaded and we were home.

All is well that ended well.

 

Emily’s Graduation and Party

Our oldest granddaughter, Emily, has received her high school diploma!  This is a huge life achievement that signifies the beginning of “adulthood”! I am posting some pictures to honor her graduation last Saturday and the party this weekend. Just beware, being a proud grandma I have 164 pictures I could post between her Uncle Obe and myself, but I will attempt to limit myself!

Emily plans to attend community college this fall and then she has her eyes set on several options for college. At this point, she wants to major in social work, especially in the area of adoptions.

Graduation Day

Her proud papa!

Awaiting the magical moment

Keith, Alivia, Emily, Lauren and Noah

 Grandparents with the happy grad

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Graduation Party

A behind the scenes peak at the fun getting ready for the party.

The girls had great fun working together.

  Cleaning chairs

 

 Grandpa Hertzler’s old truck. He would be proud!

 

 

 

 

Sometimes the best thing is to sit and watch!

Food-ready!

Slushy machine-ready!

Picture board-ready!

Seating-ready!

Decorations-ready!

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Let the celebration begin…

The star of the party!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Jesus Care?

Saturday, our county mourned the senseless killing of one of our police officers.  On Sunday, I attended a memorial service of a friend who died suddenly from an illness and on the way home received news of a tragic car accident killing a twenty year old of an acquaintance and son of a local business owner on his way home from church and injuring his brother.  Add to that the news of horrible tragedies around the world of senseless, hate-filled terror attacks. This is just one weekend in my small sphere of planet earth!

It makes me stop and think about the brevity and uncertainty of life. None of us are immune from hardships, trials, sickness, injury, death, grief, sadness, despair, injustice, depression, or tragedy. In fact, we are guaranteed to suffer because of them. We do not have the promise of tomorrow or even the next minute but we do have the promise of eternity with Jesus if we have prepared ourselves and serve him as Lord of our lives. Christians know about the love and compassion of a Heavenly Father who cares.

I reflected on the beloved old hymn, “Does Jesus Care?” penned by Frank E. Graeff in 1901. Hymntime.com records….”Graeff went through some very difficult trials. The period before writing this song was one of great despondency, doubt and physical pain. When he turned to God’s Word, I Peter 5:7 gave wonderful comfort: “He cares for you.” After meditating on that truth, Graeff wrote these lyrics with the resounding affirmation in the chorus, ‘O yes, He cares.'”

There is something about difficult times that makes us acutely aware of an ache in our hearts for God. Somehow, deep in our spirits we know that God is the only answer and we reach out for His help, protect and care.  God cares. He cares for me and He cares for you.

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song, As the burdens press,
And the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain: O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long night dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

 Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear? 
As the daylight fades Into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

 Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
 When for my deep grief
There is no relief, Though my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,  And my sad heart aches
Till it nearly breaks, Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

Celebrating 100 Years

Image result for music notes

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Uncle Harry. Happy 100th birthday to you!”

One hundred years old!  Uncle Harry’s self-proclaimed goal has been to celebrate his 100th birthday.  And he did it!!!  Saturday family and friends gathered to celebrate this amazing man who outlived all his eight siblings. Ironically, one month ago, we laid to rest his younger sister, Osie, who was 98.

Uncle Harry is living out his days at a retirement center in Pennsylvania. He is hard of hearing, suffers from memory loss and walks with a cane, but otherwise is relatively healthy. When you talk to him, he always mentions the Lord; sometimes with a verse, sometimes with a blessing or admonition.

Later in the afternoon, I watched him get up from his chair and quietly stride unnoticed out the door of the reception room and down the hall towards his room.  Apparently he had enough of being the celebrity of the day and left his party for quieter quarters. He was later found sitting in the lounge entertaining other home residents with stories about his day and how popular he was with all the picture taking.

While his brothers pursued farming, Harry was the studious, academic child in the family.  For a while he tried dairying in Amelia County, but his true love was books, teaching and preaching. His story, which he wrote himself, is posted below.

“My Story” by Harry Hertzler

(Shared & edited by David Hertzler)

Harry has lived a good, full life. His life has exemplified a godly man of faith who has sought to be faithful to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in every aspect of his life. And now he says, “I am starting on my next 100 years!”

When “antique” is used as an adjective it means: having a high value because of considerable age.  Antique Harry.  I think the adjective fits and the Hertzlers have their own antique-a gem of precious value!

Uncle Harry with 7 of his children. His first wife, Edna, and daughter Mary June are deceased.

Back: Daniel (Danny, Michael, Henry, John Paul (JP) and Joe.

Front: David, Harry and Lois (Danner).

Spouses are added to this picture.

Back row: Marvin Rohrer (Mary June’s husband), Ruth & Danny, Michael & Kay, John Paul (JP’s spouse, Alma, passed away last year), Gwen & Henry, Philip Danner (Lois’s spouse) and Joe.

Front Row: Jean Rohrer (Marvin’s spouse), Ilva & David, Harry, Lois Ann, and Norma (Joe’s spouse)

Grandchildren who were present were added to this picture along with their parent’s name. I am not relabeling the siblings.

Back row: Three on left: David Hertzler (Daniel), April Garthwaite (David), Ed Hertzler (Dave) and two on right: Lucy Miller (Joe) and Veronica Hochstetler (Joe).

Front row: Yolanda Brubaker (JP), Joanna Yoder (Mike),  Lucinda Hostetter (JP),  Ernie Danner (Lois Ann), Timothy Danner (Lois Ann), Raphael Hertzler (Henry), Karl Hertzler (Joe), Wendall (Lois Ann) and kneeling in the front, Jeremy Hertzler (Henry).

Other Pictures From the Day

Four generations of Hertzlers

Harry with son, Joe, Grandson Karl, and two great-grandsons, Levi and Kurt

Uncle Harry and Gene Hertzler

John Paul (JP) Hertzler

Dave Hertzler, Gordie Ziegler, Kathy (Brunk) Stoltzfus and Danny Hertzler

Michael Hertzler

Margaret (Shank) & Daniel Lehman

Gordie and Bertie Ziegler

Lois Ann (Hertzler) and Philip Danner

Kay Hertzler, Jean Rohrer and Ruth Hertzler

Janice (Hertzler) Gerber and Bertie Ziegler

Ilva Hertzler loving on two of her granddaughters

Ilva Hertzler with two more grandchildren

Taylor & Brianna Hostetter (JP-Lucinda) and Annika Miller (Joe-Lucy)

Ed Hertzler and his dad, Dave Hertzler

Dale & Kathy Stoltzfus and Gene Hertzler

Ilva and Dave Hertzler

JP,  Gwen & Henry Hertzler

Joe & Norma Hertzler with children Lucy (Hertzler) Miller and Karl.

A few pictures from the history table…

Harry and Edna’s wedding picture -1941

Harry on his wedding day

Harry and Edna….later in life

Harry Hertzler Family-1948

Harry Hertzler Family 1961

Harry Hertzler family with his parents (Henry & Anna Hertzler) -1968

50th wedding anniversary of Harry’s parents, Henry & Anna Hertzler

The entire clan of Hertzlers – 1956

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 Pictures taken by Ed Hertzler

Ed Hertzler (Dave) and Harry

 Lori Jo Hertzler, Ed’s spouse.

First Cousins

Lucinda Hostetter (JP), Yolanda Brubaker (JP), Joanna (Mike),  April (David), Veronica Hochstetler (Joe) and Lucy Miller (Joe).

Yolanda Brubaker (JP), Ed Hertzler (Dave) and Veronica Hochstetler (Joe)

Michelle Hertzler  (Spouse of Joe’s son Karl)

Pictures taken by Ilva Hertzler

Joe, Harry and J.P.  Hertzler

Michael Hertzler and Gordie Ziegler

Philip Danner, Harry Hertzler, Janice Gerber and Henry Hertzler

Note: If anyone has pictures of people I don’t have posted I would love for you to send them to me at pathertzler@gmail.com. If you know the names where I have ? marks, I would love your help.

“I Will Remember”

Dark, stormy clouds, driving rain from the east, and a brilliant sun setting in the west made perfect conditions for a rainbow. I kept watching and suddenly, there it was….the sun reflected on tiny droplets of water creating a beautiful arch of seven colors with one end touching down between the woods and silo right behind our house. The spectrum of colors are always the same and in the same order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

I have never seen the end of the bow touch down so close.  I tried to get a picture but the rain was blowing in the door and I had to snap fast.

Ancient “folklore” says there is a pot of gold at the end of the bow if you can find it.  But Genesis records “ancient fact”, the real story of the “great flood” that covered the whole earth, covering the highest mountain tops.  Only Noah and his family were spared because they were righteous. The Bible says that God was so grieved at the sinfulness of man that he was sorry that he had created him. When the flood was over and Noah, his family, and all the animals emerged from the ark, they offered a burnt offering to God. God was pleased and blessed Noah and all his future descendants (which includes every living person on the earth) with a promise.

God said, “The rainbow shall be in the cloud and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and  every living creature on the earth.”

Genesis 9:16

When God sees the bow in the sky, He remembers His promise.

Do you know what that promise is?

“I establish My covenant with you; Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Genesis 9:11

When I see the bow, I remember that it is a reminder of God’s promise.

It was neat to see the rainbow and remember God’s special promise this evening. I always, always, always, remember the meaning of the rainbow when I see one. I was also reminded again that God sees the rainbow.  He saw it touching our farm. God’s gaze was close at hand and He remembered.  This evening on our farm, God was reminded of a promise he made long ago: a promise that He is and will keep until the end of time.

Aunt Osie’s Memorial Service

In loving memory of Osie Ola Hertzler Ziegler

September 26, 1918 – April 9, 2017

(She was 1 year, 6 months shy of her 100th birthday!)

It was a special service for a special lady. For those who couldn’t attend, I have included pictures of the cousins who were there, and a “Eulogy of Memories” by Laurie Kutchins, a long-time friend and neighbor.

An open grave ready to receive the ashes…

It was a dreary, rainy day and somehow that seemed fitting to reflect our loss.

Burial completed, it was time to go and celebrate her life and glorious homegoing.

Together, the assembly of friends and family joyfully sang in four-part harmony several of her favorite hymns.

Verse 1. “Lift your glad voices in triumph on high, For Jesus hath risen, and man shall not die….

Verse 4. But Jesus hath cheered the dark valley of sorrow, and bade us, immortal to heaven ascend. Lift then your voices in triumph on high, for Jesus hath risen, and man shall not die.”

Pictures of the Cousins

Tedrick Grandle and  Audrey Ziegler

( ? granddaughter of Audrey)

Gordie and Bertie Ziegler

Gordie Ziegler, Dave Shenk, and Harold Wenger

Marie and Bob Hertzler (Bob is the oldest of the cousins)

Joe and Norma Hertzler

Marjorie Swartzentruber and son Dean

Diane Harman (daughter of Bill & Carolyn Presley)

Dave and Janice Gerber

Kenny and Gail Brunk

Gene and Pat Hertzler

Ed Hertzler (son of Dave and Ilva Hertzler)

Jill Hostetter (daughter of Gene and Pat Hertzler)

Bob Hostetter

Bob Hertzler,  Diane Hertzler, Diane Harman, and Melanie (daughter of Diane Hertzler)

Linford and Louise Sommers

Randy Hertzler and daughter Lucy. (Randy is son of Jim and Alta Hertzler)

Judy Humphrey

Sidney Wenger

(If any one can help me with a few names, I would appreciate it)

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Osie Hertzler Ziegler-Memories

Eulogy for Osie Ola Hertzler Ziegler, April 22, 2017

Lindale Mennonite Church

Prepared and offered by Laurie Kutchins

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