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Jean K. Shenk

January 12, 1932 — February 19, 2023

Lititz

Jean K. Shenk

  Jean Kraybill Shenk, born January 12, 1932, peacefully departed for her eternal home on February 19, 2023 after more than a decade’s battle with dementia, and a week of Covid-19. She was 91 years old.

 

  Jean actively lived for others. Wherever she saw unfairness she tried to do her part to put things right. She served as an engaging, animated partner and wife of 70 years to her beloved husband Norman Groff Shenk in his diverse roles as pastor of Erisman Mennonite Church and executive work with Eastern Mennonite Missions, Mennonite Central Committee, and Mennonite Disaster Service.  At his side, she hosted countless guests, traveled internationally, and networked widely with many people in support of these ministries. Over the years, she enriched the life and spirit of her beloved Erisman Mennonite congregation.

 

  In the early 1980s, with strong support from Norman, she forged a new path to serve as a hospital chaplain in the Lancaster area, becoming the first woman among her peers in the Lancaster Conference Mennonite church to be formally trained in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), and be credentialed (1997) to serve in that role. She supported tens of thousands of families with Anabaptist connections in their time of need in area hospitals, writing pastoral reports on each visit.

 

  Jean was born a preacher’s daughter near Elizabethtown.  Like her gregarious father, she never met a stranger. As a vivacious high schooler at Lancaster Mennonite School (1950), she sang alto in a women’s quartet and caught the eye and gloved hand of her suitor (Norman) while skating on the Mill Pond. Weeks after their marriage in October, 1952, she served as a psychiatric aide at Fairfield State Hospital, Newtown, CT in 1-W alternate service.  She sold the World Book Encyclopedia door to door in Rapho and Manheim Townships, interpreted culture and faith for thousands of tourists at the Mennonite Information Center, and retold the Biblical story at the Tabernacle reproduction next door, near Lancaster. Jean delighted in the global scope of the work of her church, adventurously visiting more than forty countries with Norman. 

 

  She was the fifth of six children born to Martin Rutt Kraybill and Suie Eby Garber Kraybill. Four of her siblings preceded her in death — Arlene (1919), Wilmer (2004), Simon (2021), and Maribel (2010), and she is survived by Nevin. She is also survived by her husband Norman, who distinguished himself as her faithful companion in health and caregiver in sickness, and her three sons Gerald Shenk married to Sara Wenger Shenk, Philip Baker-Shenk married to Charlotte Baker-Shenk and Steven Shenk married to Kimberly Iliff Shenk. 

 

   Jean prayed daily by name for each of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren for many years until dementia eroded that discipline. She is survived by her grandchildren, Joseph Alexander Shenk (Amina Auezova), Timothy Kennel Shenk (Michelle Kennel), Sara Margareta Bucher (Matthew Bucher), Jesse Baker Shenk, Jennifer Ludmilla Baker Shenk (Jordan Hollinger), Tara Mease (Jon Mease) and step-grandchildren Kristen Scanlan (James Scanlan) and Andrew Fritsch.  She was blessed with great-grandchildren, Ari and Jacob Shenk, Madeleine and Lydia Kennel Shenk, Samuel and Nathan Bucher, Alexander Mease, and Finnigan Scanlan. 

 

  As she sent family members out into the world she loved; Jean always said “Remember who you are and where you come from.” Her family is grateful for the goodness of life we have received from her, and for precious memories of her love for God’s work in God’s world.  Most recently, we have deeply appreciated the supportive work of the kind Health Care staff at Landis Homes and would be grateful for any memorial gifts in her name (in lieu of flowers) to be given to the Landis Homes Caring Fund, 1001 East Oregon Road, Lititz, PA 17543.

 

   All are welcome to attend Jean’s Funeral Service at Crossings Community Church, 8 South Erisman Road, Manheim, on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 11:00 AM. Friends may visit with the family at the church on Saturday morning from 10:00 AM until the time of the service. The funeral service will be live-streamed from the church. To view the live-stream visit Buch Funeral Home Website on Jean’s obituary page. Interment will be private and at the convenience of the family in Erisman Mennonite Cemetery.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jean K. Shenk, please visit our flower store.

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Visitation

Saturday, March 4, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, March 4, 2023

11:00am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

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