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Born 4 April 1917 in Greensburg, Kansas, the son of David J. and Anna Martens Ediger, Elmer Ediger grew up and attended public school near Buhler, Kansas. Following his graduation from Bethel College in 1940, he taught high school at Ellis and Buhler, Kansas. During World War II he entered Civilian Public Service (CPS) and eventually became educational secretary for the entire CPS program administered by Mennonite Central Committee (general director of MCC-CPS, 1946). He continued in MCC service from 1946 to 1951 as director of Mennonite Mental Health Services (MMHS) and executive secretary of the voluntary service program. He is widely acknowledged as being the prime mover in launching both the MMHS program and MCC's postwar voluntary service program.

From 1949 to 1951 Ediger studied at Bethany Biblical Seminary and Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago (MDiv, 1951). He became Executive Director of the newly established Board of Christian Service (General Conference Mennonite Church) in 1951. He is also recognized as the prime mover in establishing Prairie View Health Center, of which he was the chief executive officer from 1957 to 1983.

Ediger was a member of numerous national professional organizations in the field of mental health. Evidence of his leadership in this field may be found in Vernon H. Neufeld's If We Can Love: The Mennonite Mental Health Story (Newton, 1978). He was also a member and chairman of Paraguay-Kansas Partners and the Bethel College Board of Directors. He is credited as having been a highly creative and skilled administrator of church-related programs, one who had an unusual ability to assimilate ideas and to adapt and translate them into institutional programs.

Ediger was married to Mildred Gerbrand, 6 October 1943. They had three children. Mildred died 11 June 1974. On 14 September 1975 Ediger married Tina Block, originally from Steinbach, MB. He and his family were members of the Bethel College Mennonite Church. He died 22 September 1983.


Author(s) Robert S Kreider
Date Published 1990


Cite This Article

MLA style

Kreider, Robert S. "Ediger, Elmer M. (1917-1983)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 24 Jul 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ediger,_Elmer_M._(1917-1983)&oldid=87224.

APA style

Kreider, Robert S. (1990). Ediger, Elmer M. (1917-1983). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 July 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ediger,_Elmer_M._(1917-1983)&oldid=87224.




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Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 258. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.


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