Find an introduction to Ervie Glick’s new book under category Publications.
Letters Home is a collection of letters written by a young Mennonite man from North Dakota who faithfully wrote home to his parents while spending two years in the early 1960s completing his alternative service through the Mennonite Central Committee Pax program. These letters recount the many adventures, cross cultural learning experiences, and connections he made with both the families whose homes he was helping to build in post-WWII Germany and Austria and the other young men he worked with.
March 20, 2020; Click at the top row of any page to see this article, or with added photos under Pax Legacy.
March 16, 2020; see category Tributes in Memoriam
From those energizing days in the European Pax office at Mennoniten Haus, Kaiserslautern, Germany, both of us trying to keep up with new ideas and initiatives of Director Dwight Wiebe, to a later summer toiling together on the Schmidt family farm near Freeman, SD, while rooting for the ol’ Brooklyn Dodgers; then, after exchanging/sharing the role of wedding attendant, those decades of his insistent plans to help keep Pax “alive”– with the Pax Program Committee, the 50th Anniversary Reunion, the ’03 European tour, etc. — he kept pulling me in. His love of music included playing the piano, but who knew? He continued contact with everyone via real mail — email “isn’t personal.” And I’ll close with the fact that I never knew anyone daring to challenge Orv in a typing race! –Arlo Kasper [Please add comment below, or send to firstname.lastname@example.org for adding here.]
Obituary for Orville D. Schmidt
Surviving are his wife, Sandra, Wakarusa, children, Larissa Hunsberger, Lincoln, Nebraska, Catherine (Jeff) Krehbiel, Rose Hill, Kansas, 2 grandchildren, Erica & Ian Hunsberger, siblings, Allen (Mary) Schmidt, Freeman, South Dakota, Fyrne (Robert) Schlenker, South Dakota and sister-in-law, Diena Schmidt, Henderson, Nebraska.
Preceding him in death are his parents and a brother, Gordon Schmidt.
Orville was a farmer and taught history in Henderson, Nebraska and Metuchen, New Jersey. He was a member of Evangelical Mennonite Brethren, South Dakota and a member of the Pax Program Committee.
Orville spent his younger years on a farm near Freeman, South Dakota. He graduated from Freeman Academy and attended Freeman Junior College where he received his AA degree transferring to Bethel College in Kansas to finish his Bachelor’s Degree. Orville often spoke of teachers at the Freeman schools and Bethel College who had an impact on his life. A very major influence was his time spent in Europe as a “Paxman” from 1955-1957 and the following year as a student in Wuppertal, Germany. A trip to Moscow to participate in the 7th International Youth Festival was also very inspirational. These experiences changed his Life View dramatically. The Pax experience was so strong that he organized with others a pax tour reunion in 2003. A video of the history of the program was made during that reunion.
He returned to the states and began studies at the University of Chicago in Renaissance History. He took a job at Henderson High School teaching History and English and directing the school plays. There he met his future wife Sandra. After marriage the couple moved to New Jersey where Orville taught a course in Western Civilization at Metuchen High School while Sandra finished her MM degree. Together, they spend 3 years in Austria studying, traveling, learning German and enjoying new cultural experiences.
After 3 years in Europe the couple returned to Chicago and Orville once more enrolled at the University of Chicago and began studies in Medieval history and architecture. During these years two daughters were born – Larissa and Catherine. A move to Wakarusa, Indiana closed the Chicago studies phase.
Orville was attracted to farming by his brother, Gordon, and land was purchased in the Tilden Nebraska area. A close relationship developed between Orville and the farm manager, Randy Score. Together they planned and implemented the operation until Randy’s unexpected death. Orville did not feel he wanted to work with anyone else so the land was sold.
Orville was an interesting mix of interests – farmer as well as intellectual pursuits – and he retained an avid interest in both areas for most of his life.
In his last years he returned to his reading and writing interests until his health no longer allowed him to continue. His mind remained active and his love of music helped him weather the final days of disability.
Funeral services will be 1:30 p.m. February 8, 20020 at Walter Funeral Home, Freeman, South Dakota. Burial will be in Schartner Mennonite Cemetery, Rural Marion, South Dakota. Memorial donations may be directed to Mennonite Central Committee.
Online condolences may be sent at www.rrefh.com
March 28, 2019
Dear Pax survivor,
I have just finished reading “Eight Little Words: How God led a Mennonite farm boy to a remote town in Nepal” by Fern Horst and Alyssa Reitz (daughter and grand daughter).
Like Ervie, I could not put it down until I got to the end, which is not often the case for me. I will not attempt to review it here. It has too many interesting aspects and levels of information and meaning. But I will say that this is the first Pax book I have read where the story is told from being born on a rural Maryland farm in 1933 until the present moment where Otho is 86, living close here in Virginia! The story is a transcription by a daughter and granddaughter of Otho’s apparent amazing story telling ability. It rings true—many of the persons, names, places, events, and institutions I experienced, and thus it is especially helpful and meaningful for me. This is in part because his Pax term (1956-1959) was relatively close to my Pax life (1950-1952). It is virtually a textbook, with unlimited references and details. Sadly, it lacks an index; I predict the second edition will have one.
Otho’s book is available on Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1717219454/ or directly from Otho at 7725 Botha Rd, Bealeton, VA 22712, for $22, including shipping.
How might Otho’s book be used to encourage others to write their Pax stories? That someone of the next generations should pick up the story and present it in a loving and enthusiastic manner for present day readership leads one to think that more could follow. Who might write a review of the book and submit it to Mennonite World Review and The Mennonite? Introductory material has been posted to the website www.paxmcc.com. Do you know of a student who could develop a bibliographic survey and annotated bibliography of extant Pax literature as a senior project? Or of a PhD researcher who would focus on the tremendous variety of persons and the various roads they have taken subsequently to Pax? That would be most interesting.
Talk it up among your family and acquaintances, and send us your ideas.
Calvin Redekop Ervie L. Glick
1520 Hawthorne Circle 1532 Hawthorne Circle
Harrisonburg, VA 22802 Harrisonburg, VA 22802
See additional comments re Otho Horst’s book including ideas and invitation from Cal Redekop posted today in category Publications.
A new giving registry Honoring Pax has been established with MCC (to be used where needed most) Contributions may be emailed directly to:
Or mail a check with menu label Honoring Pax, payable to MCC, PO Box 500, Akron, PA 17501.
I thought you may be interested in knowing about the book that my daughter Fern Horst and granddaughter Alyssa Reitz wrote about my life — Eight Little Words: How God Led a Mennonite Farm Boy to a Remote Town in Nepal. They used information from my diaries and the letters I wrote to my mother (who kept each one of them). They also asked me many, many questions as they wrote the book.
Otho Horst 7725 Botha Rd. Bealeton, VA 22712
A new giving registry “Honoring Pax” has been established with Mennonite Central Committee. Contributions are tax deductible and will be used “where needed most” in MCC’s worldwide relief efforts. For online giving, https://donate.mcc.org/registry/honoring-pax directly to the page. Or mail check, menu Honoring Pax, payable to MCC, PO Box 500, Akron, PA 17501.