Mark Edward Kroehler, 100, died on July 16, 2014, at Benchmark Healthcare in Puryear TN. Mark was born on April 19, 1914, in Hermiston OR, as the first child of the late Edward Jacob and Effie Hillegas Kroehler who were homesteaders. His early years were spent in Kankakee IL and his adolescence in Binghamton NY.
He graduated from Central High School (Binghamton NY) and earned degrees from Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore KY), Drew Theological Seminary (Madison NJ), and Columbia University (New York NY).
Mark gave his life to Jesus Christ at Boulevard Methodist Church in Binghamton NY and answered God’s call to ordained ministry. His trust in Christ focused his life, and he maintained daily disciplines of Bible reading, devotion, and intercessory prayer.
He met his wife Anne at Asbury College and they were married in Clay WV in 1938. For 58 years, they shared ministry, family, and life until her death. He encouraged her career as an educator and teased her regularly.
He rarely went through a doorway first. Finally, in his nineties, he accepted that others now held the door for him. He was an instant friend. He practiced extravagant generosity to church, charities, and family. In his later years, he often gave away more than 50% of his annual income.
Ordained in The Methodist Church in 1939, he served PA congregations at Maple Grove, Peckville, Scranton, Clifton Heights, Lancaster, and Philadelphia. He cared for people, blessed lives, shared the good news of Jesus Christ, and served his communities. In the Annual Conference, he served on committees on urban ministries, education, equitable compensation, and historical societies.
Mark delighted that, except in Lancaster, his family was usually the only “Kroehler” in his phone book. He told friends of the Kroehler Furniture Co. which was, before its demise, “the world’s largest furniture manufacturer.” He loved to identify the company’s green tractor trailers with the Kroehler name.
For years, he bought plate blocks and mint sheets of every new stamp. He collected coins (especially “the shiny ones,” he said) each month at the Red Rose Coin Club.
An inquisitive man, Mark read the daily and Sunday New York Times for more than 50 years. He read the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, and Lancaster’s newspapers. It was hard for him to give away his 7,000 books when he and Anne moved to Woodcrest Villa.
He was a Mason for nearly 70 years and a Kiwanian for more than 40 years. He served for many years as Chaplain of the Lancaster Kiwanis Club.
His two younger sisters, Jeanne Winifred Thurston and Norma Ruth Montonen, died before him. He is survived by three sons and their wives whom he considered his daughters: David Mark and Joan Clark of Bangor ME, Kent Edward and Joy Kocher of Lancaster, and Stephen Fletcher and Loretta Scott of Murray KY. He treasured his 12 grand-children and 13 great-grandchildren in 7 states.
Friends are invited to A Service of Death and Resurrection at First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, on Sunday, July 20, 2014, at 4:00 pm with the Rev. Kerry Leeper and the Rev. William T. Cherry officiating. Visitation begins at 3:00 pm. Private entombment will be in the Shrine of Memories Mausoleum of Conestoga Memorial Park. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to the Memorial Fund at First United Methodist Church, 29 E. Walnut Street, Lancaster PA 17602