Our dear mother, Frances Giesbrecht Koehn, was the second child of John and Ida Unruh Giesbrecht. She was born in Montezuma, on August 13, 1921. After a fall in 2011, Frances lived her declining years in full care at Bethel Home. The Lord called her Home on the morning of March 28, 2015, reaching the age of 93 years and 8 months.
Mom grew up in a large family. Her own mother had many health problems making it a necessity for the older two children to assume much of the workload in the house, including caring for new babies. In her teenage years, she would work all week in Dodge City or elsewhere to help support the family financially coming home only on Saturday nights. She loved her younger brothers and sisters and missed them very much during these times away from home.
In 1931, the family moved to Stonington, Colorado, and she spoke fondly of the years they lived there. It was here that she received her education from grade three to seven, and established friendships that she maintained almost to the end of her life. The last two years of her education were at the South Lone Star school at Montezuma.
When God called her, she humbled herself, repented, and was baptized into the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite on January 13, 1935, by Minister F C Fricke. She has never wavered from this commitment. While no stranger to adversity and disappointments, the grace Mom evidenced in these spoke of a close walk with her Savior. She taught us so many things with her faith, unselfish living, and thankfulness. She maintained a simple lifestyle, not being attached to the empty treasures of the world, but having the real treasures of the heart. These values will live on in our hearts forever.
Mom married our father, Marvin Koehn, on August 3, 1941. They lived at Montezuma for a number of years, then moved to a farm at Copeland, Kansas, in 1950 and joined the Salem congregation. Two children were born to this union: a son, Charles, and a daughter, Karen. Mom’s unconditional love and encouragement have been as an anchor in the storms of life and we know that she never stopped praying for us and our children, her grandchildren. Each grandchild had a special place in her heart.
There are so many memories from her different stages of life! Her hands were busy at gardening, sewing quilt and comfort tops, making her signature apple and squash pies . . . in her later years, setting puzzles and crocheting. Mom and Dad found enjoyment in the Southwest and took many days trips there to enjoy the beauty of nature. One of the outstanding highlights of her life was their opportunity to travel to Jamaica two times to visit their daughter Karen and her family. Most of all, we will remember her warm, loving heart that always reached out to people, both young and old, from all walks of life. We will miss her greatly.
Those left to cherish her memory are son, Charles Koehn and Marla Koehn, of Montezuma, and their children: Larisa Noonan and husband Paul of Salem, Oregon, Michael Koehn of Brooklyn, New York, Michelle Gardner and husband Micah, Bryce Koehn and wife Sheena, all of Junction City; daughter Karen Unruh and husband Steve of Copeland, and their children: Tristan Unruh and wife Vanessa, Weston Unruh and wife Sandy, all of Copeland, and Natalie Raber and husband, Aaron, of Dalton, Ohio; three sisters: Lenora Ensz, Evelyn Unruh, Mary Ann Dirks; one brother: Frank Giesbrecht; one brother-in-law: Wilbur Boeckner; two sister-in-law: Opal and Verda Giesbrecht; and 16 great grandchildren, as well as her very special friends Ron and Cheryl Unruh. Preceding her in death were her husband; three brothers, Vernon, Johnnie, and Donald; four sisters Myrtle, Lizzie, Dorothy, and Susie; and one great grandchild.
Funeral services will be held at the Salem Mennonite Church, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 10:30 with Ministers Sam Unruh, Kelsey Unruh, and Franklin Koehn presiding. Burial will follow at the Salem Mennonite Cemetery. Visitation will be at Swaim Funeral Chapel, Montezuma, on Tuesday March 31, 2015 from10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Memorials are suggested to Bethel Home in care of the funeral home. Thoughts and memories can be shared in the online guest book at www.swaimfuneralhome.com.