Marie Ann Newcomer
September 7, 1915 – July 26, 2019
A living witness for Jesus, Marie Harder Newcomer, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2019 just shy of her 104th birthday. Susie Friesen was with her at the end.
Born the fourth child in a Low German speaking Mennonite family of twelve children she grew up in Lostwood, ND among a pioneering group of eight families who busted sod on 160 acres of Midwest prairie. As part of the recently emigrated Russian Mennonite Harder and Krahn clans from Mountain Lake, MN she had many relatives that enriched her life and gave her spiritual guidance.
From 1916 till 1937 when the drought and Great Depression finally forced them off the farm Marie served as momma’s helper. From her dear mother Katherina who lived to 97 she inculcated a strong work ethic and rich mothering skills. Marie maintained her mental acuity right up to the point of her passing and as the family genealogist has left many stories of a deeply Mennonite and family oriented upbringing. From picking rocks to the Sioux brave who wanted to trade a pony for her blond brother she has left a valuable family legacy of a life filled not with material things but familial love in a caring community.
After the family moved to Warroad, MN while working as a waitress at the Warroad Hotel she met the handsome new manager of the local Co-op who as fate willed it was a Mennonite from Lancaster, PA. After nine months of courtship she eloped with CE Newcomer to Winnipeg in 1941 and thus were bound together the Russian and Swiss branches of the Mennonite diaspora.
WWII soon swept the family into a cauldron of change as a husband who chose conscientious objection put a burden on the family. During the duration of the war spent mostly in Wilkes Barre, PA she gave birth to Ann and then David while serving as a housekeeper to sympathetic families. Her husband meanwhile traveled 28 days out of 30 as a dairy herd tester. After the war CE and Marie returned to Minnesota where CE continued in his career as a manager for the Farmers Union Co-op. Variously they lived in Crookston, Canby, and Red Lake Falls, MN where Marie began her journey of spiritual ecumenicalism as they moved away from Mennonite communities. In her life she worshiped with the Covenants, Methodists, Presbyterians, Nazarenes, Assemblies of God, and the Pentecostal Miracle Temple.
In 1950 the Newcomers, forever pioneers, loaded up the car and moved west to Ontario, OR where CE became manager of the Pacific Supply Co-op. After four years there the Co-op moved them to Sequim, WA. But deep in the family consciousness was a desire to send the children to a Christian school and to find its way back to a Mennonite community. So it was in 1957 that the family moved to Portland, OR and Marie joined the Portland Mennonite Church where she was an active member for over 62 years.
Marie’s life had two centering points, her family and her faith community. Her faith was lifelong, uncomplicated, joyful, Pentecostal, and evangelical. To know Marie is to have heard “do you know Jesus?”
High marks were the years spent family counseling with her husband at the Ring of Fire Ministries, her trip to Israel, her personal ordination as a minister, and her role as a universal grandmother to both her own and other children.
Marie is survived by her daughter Ann Lillard, son David and Jean Yoder, and son James and Debbie Helms; grandchildren Tristan and Jeremy Newcomer, Daniel Helms, David and Elle Newcomer and Brandon Paape; siblings; sisters Dorothy, Martha, Ann and a brother Cornelius.
Marie’s great grandparents were from the Bergthal Mennonite Colony in South Russia that emigrated as a group of over 3000 persons in 1875 mostly to Canada and some to Mountain Lake, MN. Family names are Harder, Friesen, Krahn, and Klassen.
A well-traveled life. Born in Butterfield, Mn then to Lostwood, ND, then to Warroad, MN, during Dan’s CPS years to Dennison, Iowa, to Wilkes Barre, PA; following WWII the Co-op years to Crookston, Red Lake Falls, Canby, MN, then to Ontario, Or, to Nampa, ID, to Sequim, WA and finally to Portland, Or.
Jobs a plenty; Momma’s helper, cook, waitress, housekeeper, nurse’s aide, home care worker, Christian counselor, ordained minister, wife, mother, and grandmother.
In the last month of her life she shared her going away song many times complete with a beautiful scarf of roses. Her song “ Where The Roses Never Fade”.
The lyrics: I am going to that city Where the streets with gold are laid And all the tree of life is blooming And those roses never fade Here they bloom, but for a season Then their beauty is decayed But i am going to a city Where the roses never fade Love one's are gone to be with Jesus In their robes of white arrayed Now they're waiting for my coming Where the roses never fade Here they bloom but for a season Where their beauty is decayed I am going to a city Where the roses never fade
- Graveside Service Friday, August 2, 2019
Marie Ann Newcomer
August 10, 2019
I worked with David Newcomer on MCC assignment in Berlin, Germany in 1965-1967. David was with PAX. I met Mrs. Newcomer at David's first wedding. Sorry to hear of your loss, David and Jean. Hope you are doing well. Ruth in Ontario, Canada.