Our Dad, Menno Isaac, began his long journey through life when he was born to John L. and Carrie (Schmidt) Isaac on July 5, 1915 near Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. He departed this life on March 14, 2015 at Bethel Home in Montezuma, reaching the age of 99 years.
Dad spent the first eight years of his life on the Saskatchewan prairies. His father had staked a homesteader’s claim a number of years earlier and built a small two room dwelling that the family called home. Dad, as a young child, together with his parents and siblings, experienced life in a pioneering way. Life was challenging but rewarding. The friendships they made with their neighbors were strong and true; they were all comrades in survival.
The time came when Dad’s folks decided to move down to the States to be closer to family and to a church home. One day in November of 1923, they had a farm sale in which they sold their land, home, and all their belongings except what they could carry with them. The next day, they boarded a train, heading for the US border, stopping to visit relatives along the way. Distance was greater in those days and it would be many years before they would journey back to the far north. They continued by train to central Kansas where a Model T was purchased. After some traveling and exploring, they settled on a farm six miles south of Ingalls, near Gray Center in Gray County. Here is where Dad, his sister, and two brothers attended the little country school walking the short distance, and it was here that Dad grew to manhood.
Dad became converted in his mid twenties, making a full commitment to serve God faithfully, and was baptized into the Church of God in Christ Mennonite, remaining true to his vows to the end. Shortly, he was drafted to serve in World War II, and to his disappointment, the local draft board refused to grant him CO classification. Dad served two and one half years as a conscientious objector in the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth. This was a very challenging time for him and his family. God sustained him and he came through this experience victoriously, returning home in September of 1944.
Dad married our mother, Malinda Ratzlaff, at Galva on November 18, 1945, and they settled on a farm southwest of Ingalls, where they reared their family of four sons and three daughters. He carved a living from the rugged sagebrush covered sandhills, developing them into tillable acreage. Relying on the time honored pioneering values learned in Canada, Dad taught us the principles of integrity, honesty, paying one’s bills on time, and keeping one’s promises. Irrigation was introduced during Dad’s farming years, which added a new perspective to producing crops. He also enjoyed raising livestock.
Our mother passed away on November 5, 2003. Dad was an independent person and remained on the home place another five years, when it became apparent he would need more assistance. He then moved to Bethel Home, submitting to the care and culture of that facility, making the adjustment graciously. It was his pleasure to offer small candy bars to any and all visitors who came to his room.
During the last years of Dad’s life, his spirit mellowed and he became gentle and easily entreated. We are at peace with his passing and look forward to meeting him on the other side.
He leaves behind his sons, John of Montezuma, Eldon and Sharon, Phillip and Starla, and Mark and Pat all of Ingalls, daughters, Dorene and Steve Dirks, and Doris Isaac all of Montezuma, and Susan and Mark Dirks of Rich Hill, Missouri; 17 grandchildren; 34 great grandchildren; and one brother, Allen and wife Frances Isaac of Montezuma. Preceding him in death were his wife, parents, a sister, a brother, and a daughter-in-law, Linda Sue Isaac.
Funeral service will be held at Living Hope Mennonite Church, Ingalls, on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 10:30 AM. Burial following at Living Hope Cemetery. Visitation will be at Swaim Funeral Chapel, Montezuma on Monday, March 16, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Memorials are suggested to Bethel Home in care of the funeral home. Thoughts and memories may be shared in the online guest book at www.swaimfuneralhome.com.