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Obituaries » Arla Fern Stutzman

Arla Fern Stutzman

August 18, 1916 - February 17, 2009

A viewing will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at Sweet Home Funeral Chapel. A funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at Sweet Home Mennonite Church. Final burial will be at Gilliland Cemetery in Sweet Home.

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Arla Fern Stutzman, age 92 years and six months, passed away on February 17th, 2009 in her residence in Brownsville, Oregon.

Arla was born August 18th, 1916, in Woodriver, Nebraska, the sixth of seven children born to Abraham and Sarah Miller Stutzman. She grew up among the corn fields and small farms of rural Nebraska and went to school and church in her home community.

She met Willard Stutzman from a nearby community, and they married on February 8th, 1939, forming a partnership that lasted 56 years until Willard’s death in 1995. Together, they embarked on a long journey west from Nebraska to Idaho, and then later on to Oregon following her husband’s prospects of work, which included farming, logging, pastoring, and teaching.

Eventually, they were called into missionary service, which led them to British Columbia, Canada. Later, they moved to Bay Tree, Alberta, where they enjoyed country life on a small farm. They finally returned to Oregon in the fall of 1994.

Arla became highly skilled in adapting to new situations, making the most of limited resources. She loved to garden and could coax beautiful flowers and bountiful harvests out of depleted soil and in places with short growing seasons. She created beautiful quilts in a variety of small houses, some lacking basic amenities like running water and central heating.

She cooked fantastic meals and baked wonderful bread on a wood cook stove, often for great numbers of guests visiting for extended periods of time. And she did this with almost no murmurs of complaint, usually singing or whistling. She modeled Paul’s observation that “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Arla drove tractors, made soap, butchered hogs, split wood, sewed clothes, read the Bible, entertained and fed strangers, made do, enjoyed friends, taught Sunday school, shot guns, lived on concrete floors in Oregon, in a tiny cabin by Lake Babine in British Columbia, and finally in comfort and security with one daughter in Harrisburg, and two other daughters in Brownsville.

She gave birth six times. David, who died at birth in 1940, Joan, who died in 1993, Marilyn Kropf of Brownsville, Oregon, Sara Miller of Halsey, Oregon, Arlene Baker of Harrisburg, Oregon, and Linford Stutzman of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

She died in peace having lived a long, fruitful life, after traveling a challenging and contented journey. As her daughters finished singing to her, “Jesus I come to Thee,” her long journey has ended. Arla is finally at home.

A viewing will take place from 4:00-7:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at Sweet Home Funeral Chapel. A funeral will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at Sweet Home Mennonite Church. Final burial will be at Gilliland Cemetery in Sweet Home.

Sweet Home Funeral Chapel is handling services.