Rev. Ralph Faber

Ralph Faber, 83, passed away February 9, 2019, in Princeton, Ill. He graduated from Huntington College in 1968 with a degree in Bible and Religion, and in 1992 earned a Master of Christian Ministry from the HC School of Christian Ministry.

Ralph pastored non-UB churches 1965-1970, and then spent the next 35 years, 1970-2005, pastoring United Brethren churches in Illinois and Kansas. They included the Illilnois churches in Manlius, Quincy, Rockford, Leaf River, and Claytonville; and the UB church in Abiliene, Kansas.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth, with whom he shared 64 years of marriage; and three sons.

Visitation: 5-7 pm February 15, 2019.
Visitation location: Grant-Johnson Funeral Home, Princeton, Ill.
Funeral: 10 am Saturday, February 16, 2019.
Funeral location: First United Methodist Church, Princeton, Ill. Rev. Steven Barber, an ordained United Brethren minister, will officiate.

George McCombs

George Alexander McCombs, Jr., 76, passed away on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. After many years as an accountant, he became a United Brethren minister at age 55 and served United Brethren churches in the area of Columbus, Ohio. He was ordained in 2005 after graduating with a Diploma of Pastoral Leadership from the Huntington University Graduate School.

Visitation: 4-7 pm Monday, January 14.
Funeral: 10:30 am Tuesday, January 15.
Location: Schoedinger Northeast Chapel, 1051 E. Johnstown Road, Gahanna, Ohio 43230.

Shirley and Emmett Cox and family as missionaries in Sierra Leone.

Shirley Cox, 90, former missionary in Sierra Leone and UB pastor’s wife, passed away December 28, 2018, in Huntington, Ind.

Shirley Cox

Visitation will be held 3-7 pm on Thursday, January 3, 2019. Location: Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN 46750. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Shirley grew up in a United Brethren pastor’s home in Ontario, the daughter of Rev. Glenn and Lillian Betterly. At Huntington College, she met Emmett Cox, and they were married on August 14, 1948. They both graduated from HC in 1951, Shirley with a degree in Education. Emmett went on to graduate from the HC seminary.

Shirley and her family were missionaries in Sierra Leone over a 20-year period beginning in 1957. During those years Emmett served as a high school principal, business manager, general superintendent, primary school secretary, and field secretary. Shirley kept busy with her own various roles, including matron of the Minnie Mull girls’ home and teacher at Centennial Secondary School.

In 1969, General Conference elected Emmett as General Secretary of Missions. He filled that role for four years. Then he and Shirley pastored churches for the next 30 years:

  • 1976-1984: Victory UB church (Burbank, Calif.).
  • 1984-1985: First UB church (Lake Havasu City, Ariz.).
  • 1985-1992: Willshire UB church (Willshire, Ohio).
  • 1992-2003: Six Mile Church, a non-UB congregation in Bluffton, Ind.

In retirement, Shirley and Emmett served short-term as volunteers in Myanmar.

Shirley and Emmett enjoyed 66 years of marriage before his death in 2015. They had four children: son Douglas, daughters Diane and Darlene, and foster son Billy Simbo, from Sierra Leone.

Preferred memorials are to UB Global, the United Brethren in Christ mission organization. Send in care of Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, Indiana, 46750.

Three former Sierra Leone missionaries from Grace UB church. L-r: Audrey Fiederlein, Kathy Jones, and Shirley Fretz

Shirley Fretz, who served 18 years as a United Brethren missionary in Sierra Leone 1967-1985, passed away Wednesday, September 26, 2018. She had suffered from Huntingtons Disease during the last several years.

Funeral time: 1pm on Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Funeral location: Grace UB church, Sherkston, Ontario

Shirley Fretz

During her 18 years in Africa, Shirley received a letter from her mother nearly every week. The letters often arrived three or four at a time. “She was very happy when I became a missionary,” Shirley said of her mother. “She had been praying for Sierra Leone before I was even born. Tears came every time I left for Africa, but she knew the Lord wanted me there.”

Shirley grew up at Grace UB church in Sherkston, Ontario, a church that has produced a number of missionaries over the years. She dreamed of being a missionary like Olive Weaver and Ruth Benner, two women from the church who were then serving in Sierra Leone. Shirley spent ten years working for law firms, but couldn’t get missions out of her mind. She eventually responded to an altar call by Bishop Clyde W. Meadows, a call to serve Christ wherever God wanted.

Before she knew it, she was contacted by the UB missions office. They needed someone to oversee the Minnie Mull boarding home in Sierra Leone. Was she interested?

Shirley arrived at Minnie Mull in April 1967. The school had over 400 primary-age girls with 104 staying in the boarding home. Shirley procured supplies, kept financial records, helped supervise cooking and laundry, counseled children, and generally served as a mother to over 100 youngsters.

Her second term, which began in August 1971, found her in a whole new role: business manager of Mattru Hospital. She spent the next ten years handling the payroll, bookkeeping, banking, and other non-medical responsibilities. After the 1974 arrival of Dr. Ron Baker, Shirley watched Mattru develop into a thriving hospital.

Shirley decided the hospital needed a male administrator, especially since the culture favored having men in supervisory positions. So after her 1981 furlough, she moved to Bumpe and spent two terms working in Christian education. For four years, she devoted much of her time to the Bumpe Primary School children. After school, kids walked to her house for Bible classes, and she often provided one-on-one spiritual counsel. Later, her job was placed under the direction of the national church’s Christian Education Department. They held clinics and workshops in various districts, helped with the camping program, and emphasized Christian Endeavor.

During her furlough in 1983, Shirley had a difficult decision to make. Her father had been hospitalized with cancer almost continuously since July 1982. Should she stay home and await his death, or return to Sierra Leone in December as scheduled?

Shirley later recalled, “My dad was very alert right up to the end. He knew exactly what was going on, and I’m sure that if I had visited him the day I was supposed to leave for Africa, he’d have said, ‘What happened? Why didn’t you go?’ I knew he would be gone soon, and it would be good for me to be there, but you can’t just stay home and wait for something to happen.” She left at the end of November and arrived in Bumpe on December 6, 1983. The next day she received a telegram saying her father had passed away on December 6.

Bishop Jerry Datema was in Sierra Leone at the time for annual conference. He led a memorial service at the Bumpe church the same day as the memorial service back in Canada. The church was full of people — they didn’t know Shirley’s father, but they knew Shirley. The Bumpe primary children sang a couple of her father’s favorite songs, and then Bishop Datema preached. Shirley said, “It was almost like being home for the funeral.”

Although Shirley fully supported the 1985 nationalization process, it brought an end to her position. Everyone knew Shirley was leaving the country—this time for good —on Monday, August 19. The stream of constant good-byes began on Saturday. “I must have had 50 people visit my house between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning. To Sierra Leoneans, people are important. When they know you are leaving, everybody wants to come and spend time with you. It was rather hard saying good-bye to all the people I had grown close to during my 18 years there, knowing I might not see them again.”

Wanting to remain in some kind of mission work, in December 1985 Shirley became receptionist-bookkeeper for the Brethren in Christ mission office in Stevensville, Ontario.

Here are details for the viewing and funeral for Rev. David Bell, who passed away Saturday, September 8, 2018.

Viewing: Tuesday, September 11, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm.
Funeral: 11 am Wednesday, September 12. Viewing one hour beforehand.
Location of viewing and funeral: First UB church, 1900 Eastbrook Road, New Castle, PA 16101.

Rev. David Bell, a United Brethren minister since 1984, passed away at 8:15 Saturday night, September 8, 2018. He was 69 years old. Dave had recently been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and it progressed rapidly. A few days ago, he was placed in hospice.

Viewing: Tuesday, September 11, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm.
Funeral: 11 am Wednesday, September 12. Viewing one hour beforehand.
Location of viewing and funeral: First UB church, 1900 Eastbrook Road, New Castle, PA 16101.

Dave grew up on a farm in Franklin, Pa. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marines. Before leaving for Vietnam, he eloped with the love of his life, Kathryn Ann Henderson, and married her on June 28, 1968. They were married for 50 years and raised a son and three daughters.

Dave went on to receive Bachelor and Master of Divinity degrees from Asbury College and Seminary. He pastored at Fuoss Mills Christian Missionary Alliance and Faith Country Chapel in New Castle. In 1984 he joined the United Brethren church, and spent the next six years planting a church in Erie, Pa. Since 1990, he has been pastor of First UB church in New Castle, Pa.

Bishop Todd Fetters wrote, “Understandably, this news is devastating for Ann and the Bell family, as well as for the First UB congregation who have lost their longtime pastor. So, we pray.”

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association, PO Box 37022, Boone, IA 50037-0022 or by visiting alsa.org.

Phil and Carol Fiedler and children during their missionary days in the 1970s.

Carol Fiedler, 79, former UB missionary in Sierra Leone, passed away August 17, 2018. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Phil Fiedler, and their four children: Glenn, Greg, Galen, and Tanya.

The Fiedlers served at Mattru in Sierra Leone 1974-1980, and returned in the early 1990s to serve at Sierra Leone Bible College. In May 1994, with the rebel war escalating, the UB Board of Missions decided to completely nationalize all work in Sierra Leone and withdraw all remaining missionaries by the end of 1994. Phil and Carol Fiedler, along with nurse Sarah Banter, left together in December 1994. It would be another 14 years before any UB missionaries were sent to Sierra Leone.

The Fiedlers have been living in Olive Branch, Miss.

Visitation will be at 4 pm on Saturday, August 25, followed by a memorial service at 4:30. Location: Longview Heights Baptist Church, 4501 Goodman Road, Olive Branch, MS 38654.

Donations and memorials in honor of Carol Jean Fiedler for the church’s pre-kindergarten program may be sent to Longview Heights Baptist Church, 4501 Goodman Road, Olive Branch, MS 38654. Flowers in her honor can be sent to Longview Heights Baptist Church 4501 Goodman Road, Olive Branch, MS 38654.

Michael and Merissa Stine, and son Luke.

Rev. Michael Lee Stine, 38, passed away August 11, 2018, at his home. He was from Shippensburg, Pa., and was married to Merissa in 2009 at the nearby Orrstown United Brethren church. Stine ws diagnosed with colon cancer at age 33, and it returned two years later as stage 4 cancer.

Stine was ordained in 2008, and served at four United Brethren churches: Mt. Carmel (Fulks Run, Va.), Mainsville (Shippensburg), Orrstown, and Mongul (Shippensburg). More recently, he served at a Brethren in Christ church in Wiliamsport, Md. He also worked on websites for 20 years, published several books, and taught online Bible courses at Grand Canyon University.

He is survived by his wife of nine years, Merissa, and son Luke.

Viewing time: 5-8 pm Tuesday, August 14.
Viewing location: Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home, 112 West King St., Shippensburg, Pa.
Funeral time: 11 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
Funeral location: Orrstown UB church, Orrstown, Pa.

Bob and Irma Kentie

Bob Kentie, pastor of the Garrison Road UB church in Fort Erie, Ontario, passed away suddenly on Monday night, July 30. Brian Magnus, bishop of the United Brethren Church in Canada, sent this report:

Bob had gone into the Welland Hospital the end of last week and had some abdominal surgery. He was recovering over the weekend and had hoped to go home tomorrow [Tuesday], but instead he slumped over in his hospital bed and couldn’t be resuscitated. I believe he was just 60 years old.

Lynette and I last saw Bob at the visitation for my father on Thursday, June 21. Bob and Irma had driven up to Kitchener, and they were so happy that Irma was slowly improving and was doing better than she had in several years. Bob had been devoting many hours to her care.

Bob Kentie spent many years as a businessman and eventually felt called to the ministry. He served as a youth pastor and senior pastor in Brethren in Christ churches before joining the Garrison Road staff 12 years ago. He started out as youth pastor, and in 2007 became senior pastor. He and Irma have three adult children.

Dwight and Patti Kuntz

Dwight Kuntz, 72, passed away on the evening of Friday, July 27, 2018. He had been hospitalized since July 2, when health problems forced him to return from Jamaica.

Dwight was a United Brethren minister, ordained in 1982, and was a member of Living Grace Community Church (formerly Union Chapel UB church) in Fort Wayne, Ind. Since 2012, he and his wife of 47 years, Patti, had been spending part of the year in Jamaica as UB Global missionaries, serving as liaisons with work teams from North America.

Dwight served in the US Army 1967-1971.

Visitation: 2-4 pm and 6-9 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
Visitation location: D.O. McComb & Sons Pine Valley Park Funeral Home, 1320 East Dupont Road, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Funeral: 10 am Thursday, August 2, 2018. Visitation one hour beforehand.
Funeral location: Emmanuel Community Church, 12222 US Highway 24 West, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Memorials may be made to Patricia Kuntz.

Cards can be sent to:

Patti Kuntz
602 North Camden Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46825