Burkhalter, Martha Rose (1889-1965)

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Martha Rose Burkhalter was born 12 October 1889 on a farm near Berne, Indiana and received a BA degree from Bluffton College (Ohio). She was sent by the General Conference Mission Board to India, arriving there in December 1917.

After language study she served as principal of the Annie Funk Memorial Girls' School for 10 years. The enrollment grew from 22 to 100 during Martha's tenure while she upgraded staff and buildings. The school received official government recognition during this time.

Martha attended the Biblical Seminary in New York for two years during a three-year furlough (1932-35). She was a popular mission speaker who excelled in storytelling and fundraising.

In 1936 Martha became principal of the Bible school in Janjgir, which trained rural Christian leaders. Two months of the school year were spent in intensive evangelistic campaigns for practical training. Here Martha also initiated improvement of plant and facilities. When the interdenominational theological seminary was founded at Yavatmal, Maharashtra State, in 1951, Martha was the first General Conference Mennonite Mission representative on the staff. She continued to excel in Bible teaching.

After 30 years in India, Martha adopted an Indian child (Dilasie) and raised her to adulthood. When Martha retired in 1950, Dilasie remained in Yavatmal with friends. Martha returned to India later for Dilasie's wedding, where she (Martha) contracted amoebic dysentery which eventually caused her death on 4 October 1965 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Cummings, Mary Lou, ed. Full Circle. Newton, KS, 1978: 60-68.

Moyer, Samuel T. They Heard the Call. Newton, KS, 1970: 94-105.

Twenty-Five Years With God in India. Berne, IN: Mennonite Book Concern, 1929: 232-35.

Ratzlaff, Mrs. Harold [Ruth R.] Ratzlaff, ed. and compiler. Fellowship in the Gospel India: 1900-1950. Newton, KS: MPO, 1950: 25-35, 128.

Author(s) Harold Ratzlaff
Ruth Ratzlaff
Date Published 1986

Cite This Article

MLA style

Ratzlaff, Harold and Ruth Ratzlaff. "Burkhalter, Martha Rose (1889-1965)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1986. Web. 26 Sep 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Burkhalter,_Martha_Rose_(1889-1965)&oldid=122453.

APA style

Ratzlaff, Harold and Ruth Ratzlaff. (1986). Burkhalter, Martha Rose (1889-1965). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 September 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Burkhalter,_Martha_Rose_(1889-1965)&oldid=122453.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 111. All rights reserved.

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