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April 25, 2019

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Alice Ruth Ramseyer was born in China to missionary parents

Served with her husband as missionaries in Japan

Alice Ruth Pannabecker Ramseyer died Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.  She was born in Kai Chow, China, on Sept. 27, 1929, to Mennonite missionaries S. F. “Floyd” and Sylvia (Tschantz) Pannabecker. 

She joined two brothers in the family, Dick Pannabecker (long-time Bluffton resident) and Robert Pannabecker.  The family served on the Kai Chow mission  with the family of Floyd's identical twin Lloyd.

Other than a brief stint in the U.S. when the Depression threatened mission board finances, Alice Ruth and her family spent the 1930s in war-torn north China. The families left China only in 1941.

The Floyd and Sylvia Pannabecker family lived briefly in Bluffton and Alice Ruth enrolled in the Bluffton schools, where she graduated. She also graduated from Bluffton College. She married Robert Ramseyer, who died in 2016.

Alice Ruth and Bob served as missionaries in Japan from 1954 to 1972. They moved to the Mennonite seminary in Elkhart, Ind.,where Bob taught until 1978, and then returned to Japan – this time to Hiroshima.  From 1982 to 1987 they again served at the seminary, and then returned to Hiroshima until they retired in 1995.

As a missionary in Miyazaki and Hiroshima, Alice Ruth worked for the Hiroshima World Friendship Center, and encouraged survivors of the atomic bomb. She and Bob translated books and articles by the survivors into English.

Alice Ruth is survived by children Mark (Norma Wyse) Ramseyer of Lexington, Massachusetts, Joy (John) Betts of Bryan, Ohio, Sue Ramseyer of Bloomington, Indiana and Jeannie (Tom) Stenson of Quakertown, Pennsylvania; by grandchildren Jenny Ramseyer, Geoff Ramseyer, Rachel (Nikhil Krishnan) Betts, Sarah (Charles) VonSeggern, Jacob Betts, Tim Konicek, Elizabeth Konicek, Matthew Konicek, Brian (Jenn) Stenson Kristy Stenson, and Randy Stenson; and by great granddaughter Olivia VonSeggern.  Alice Ruth was preceded in death by husband Bob, grandson David Betts, parents Floyd and Sylvia Pannabecker, brothers Dick and Robert Pannabecker; and a son-in-law Bob Konicek.

Services will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Nov. 9, at the First Mennonite Church,  Bluffton.  Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday at Chiles-Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, Bluffton.  nterment will be at Maple Grove Cemetery, Bluffton. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Bluffton University or to the Mennonite Mission Network.

Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.chiles-lamanfh.com.