Maurine W. Berdan
December 25, 1925 – July 22, 2018
Maurine Spears Waechter Berdan, age 92, of Bayard died Sunday July 22, 2018 at 7:10 AM at Chimney Rock Villa. She had lived at the Villa since 2015. Maurine came to Bayard in 1972 with her husband, Rev. Jacob Waechter who was the “new” pastor at Hope Congregational Church. He was tragically killed in 1974, and Maurine chose to stay in Bayard. She strongly felt the Lord’s guidance to remain in Bayard.
She was born on Christmas Day, 1925 in Grand Saline, TX the second child of six children. She attended and graduated from Grand Saline Schools. Shortly after graduation, she moved to “the big city” (Fort Worth) to live with her Aunt Gladys. There she met a ministerial student from Texas Christian University named Jacob Waechter. He was a Yankee, and Yankees were not always welcome in east Texas. Never the less, Maurine and Jake were married at the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth on August 5, 1944.
The newlyweds moved in briefly with Jacob’s parents (German immigrants) in Buffalo, NY, and Maurine was initiated into wedded bliss under the careful tutelage of Grandma Waechter and her sister, Aunt Julia. Maurine was a willing and eager pupil and enjoyed learning household skills (the Old World way). While they were there in Buffalo, she learned to prepare many of the dishes that her numerous guests would enjoy over the next 70 years. Chicago was the next stop…Maurine worked at the famous department store, Marshall Fields, while Jacob attended and graduated from Northern Baptist Seminary. During their time in Chicago, their first child, Susan Elizabeth, was born.
In the Spring of 1947, the couple (Maurine pregnant of 7 ½ months, newly ordained minister Jacob, and their 22 month old little girl Susan ) were called to serve the 1st Baptist Church of Whitehall WI. They would spend the next 9 years in Whitehall, and would see their family grow with the addition of daughter Margaret (1947), Stephen (1952), and Daniel (1954). Maurine was 22 years old in 1947 when she began her “unofficial ministry” as Pastor’s Wife. She learned a lot, on the fly, and learned to trust that “the Lord will provide”.
In 1956, the family moved to Cairo OH where Jacob served Cairo Congregational Christian Church. In 1958, Jacob and Maurine were invited to establish a new church called Calvary Church in Lima OH. During that transition, the Lord supplied a parsonage which was in reality a farmhouse where lots of adventures followed for Maurine and her growing family. The family had an enormous garden, a huge yard to mow (kept the boys out of trouble), and best of all, room in the barn to keep horses. Maurine was a cowgirl from east Texas and loved to ride horses. Jacob was a wannabee cowboy and loved to ride horses too. “Dave was born in October 1960 to a family that was so excited to greet him and welcome him” (from Maurine’s recollections). During the years at Calvary Church, Maurine was instrumental in developing a variety of programs – a vital youth group program, hosting a national conference for the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, Sunday School, and the church building program. Maurine described the building project as follows, “The people of the church donated the money and the labor. The Lord provided the money for both the church and the new parsonage. There was no loan taken out. No debt to repay. Whatever talent people had, that’s the job they did. Calvary Church was finished and dedicated in 1963.
In November, 1965 the family moved to Argos IN to serve the Argos Christian Church. Maurine, now an experienced Pastor’s Wife, continued her ministry to Women’s Groups, Sunday School, Children’s Ministries, and hosting missionaries. Her girls were grown, the boys (Steve and Dan) were in junior high school and Dave was starting school. The major project their ministry was building a new church building for the expanding congregation in Argos.
In November 1972, Maurine, Rev. Jacob, and Dave moved to Bayard NE to minister to Hope Congregational Church. They were very excited when Herman Schmall and George Morehead pulled up in front of the parsonage in Argos Indiana; loaded their goods, and made a quick trip back to Bayard. The church family was warmly welcoming to the Waechters, and they quickly fell in love with their new church home, the wonderful congregation, and the remarkable scenery and historic area.
In February 1974, Maurine lost her husband Jacob (19th), and her father, M. J. Spears (27th). After these major losses, her ministry expanded to sharing her faith, her story, and the goodness of God, to women’s groups and churches across the country. She also mentored numerous young women and couples. She continued serving Hope Church in numerous capacities – board member, Sunday School Superintendent and Treasurer. Perhaps her most important role was that of facilitator and expeditor to help her mentees deepen their faith and their relationship with God. This personal ministry continued until her final days at Chimney Rock Villa.
She was often perceived as a woman who was “approaching sainthood”, however she was often filled with insecurities and self-doubts throughout her life. The following quote is from a conversation with her daughter Sue at the Villa as Sue was interviewing her for her life’s story a couple years back. “I always have trouble deciding on a favorite Bible verse. I think it’s John 3:16. I think of all the bad things that I have done, and my sneaky ways, but God loves me anyway. I grew up thinking I would be rewarded for all the good things I did and punished for the bad. That’s why singing is so special for me. My favorite song is “Calvary Covers It All” – past, present, and future. From the time I was in the 1st or 2nd grade, Short and Jewel Hawkins, our neighbors invited my brother, Whitey, and I to go to church with them. I realized that I had a special purpose in life, but did not know who to talk to. But I gathered my Sunday School cards and preached to other kids. I thought Moses had preached to others, and I was preaching to others.”
Maurine Waechter Berdan was a gracious and kind woman who enjoyed sharing her faith with others. She brought insight, compassion, and understanding to a multitude of people and their specific concerns.
Visitation will be held from 4-7 PM on Friday, July 27, 2018 and the funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, July 28, 2018 both at Hope Congregational Church in Bayard with Pastor Ted Meter officiating. Burial will follow at the Bayard Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to Hope Congregational Church PO Box 457 Bayard, Nebraska 69334. Online condolences may be left at www.dugankramer.com
Hope Congregational Church
PO Box 457, Bayard, nebraska 69334
- Funeral Service Saturday, July 28, 2018
Maurine W. Berdan
July 29, 2018
Dear Maurine's Family:
Very sorry to hear of Maurine's death.
Praying that God's peace will cover the entire family.
Karen Spears Bizzell
July 23, 2018
What I remember the most about Aunt Maurine was her sweet, sweet spirit! Always gentle, always soft spoken, and always carrying with her the love of the Lord. That was such an important part of her life, and she always freely shared that with whomever. Quite a lady for sure!