Eleanor Wismer Kaufman, died July 13, 2019 at Kidron Bethel Healthcare, North Newton KS.
She was a resident of Kansas since 1974.
She was born June 24, 1933, in Doylestown PA to Norman and Laura Gross Wismer. One of five
siblings, she sang in a family quartet coordinated by her mother. She attended Bucks County
Elementary schools and then graduated from Hilltown High School in 1951 and from Blufflon College (Ohio) in 1955. Two years later she graduated from the Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago with a Master’s degree in Religious Education. By that time she had also spent a summer in voluntary service at the Cleveland State Mental Hospital. She went on to earn her Masters in Organ Performance from Wichita State University in 1980.
Eleanor began her career as a Minister of Music in the Eden Mennonite Congregation near
Moundridge, KS (1957-1959). She married Donald Kaufman on August 30, 1958. Beginning in 1960
she and her husband served the people and churches of Indonesia for seven years under the auspices of the Mennonite Central Committee. This experience turned out to be a formative influence for the rest of their life together. Three children came to grace their lives.
Eleanor was an active member of Mennonite congregations wherever she lived. She first
became a member of the Deep Run Mennonite Church near Bedminster PA at the age of 12. She gave
credit to her mother for having instilled in her both a love for music and the skill to produce it using either the piano or the organ. She also gave many private lessons. While a member of the Bethel College Mennonite Church she served as a co-organist for 35 years. She also directed the Bell Choir for about 10 years. Challenged by the needs of families in Asia, Eleanor made a career change. She devoted herself to selling crafts produced by families through the Ten Thousand Villages program of MCC.
Eleanor was a lover of all things beautiful: a wonderful cook, an enthusiastic hostess, an avid
gardener, a compassionate promoter of justice for the deprived and exploited, and an admirer of the
arts, literature and music. She was a homemaker and ‘Supermom’ in the best sense of the word, a
loving wife and mother who made her home the center of life for friends and family members. She was another “hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit which in God’s sight is very precious.” (I Peter 3:4 RSV). Her generosity, integrity, and vibrancy will be greatly missed by those who received understanding, hope, and love through her kindness.
She is survived by her husband, Donald, 3 children, Kendra Kaufman of Wichita, Galen
(Rachel) Kaufman of New Braunfels, TX, and Nathan (Jill) Kaufman of North Newton; 2 sisters, Jean Friesen of Abbotsford, British Columbia and Nancy Hilty of North Newton KS, 1 brother, Donald Wismer (Sue Hoadley) of Corralis NM, many nieces and nephews and 3 grandchildren: Camille Jane Kaufman, Orion Kaufman and Lily Kaufman. She was preceded in death by her parents and 1 brother, Earl Wismer of Sellersville PA.
Memorial service will be Aug 10 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethel College Mennonite Church, North
Newton KS. Memorial gifts may be sent to Bethel College Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central
Committee, or Ten Thousand Villages.
Family visitation will be Aug 10 at 3:00 p.m. in Menno Hall at Kidron Bethel Village