Goering, Erwin Charles (1913-1995)

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Erwin C. Goering, 1966.
Bethel College Library and Archives photo #2020-0146

Erwin Charles Goering: teacher, administrator, and denominational leader, was born 13 Sept 1913 in McPherson County, Kansas, USA. His parents were Christian B. Goering (26 July 1887-29 February 1984) and Adina Goering (27 August 1890-24 September 1983. Erwin was the third child and oldest son in a family of three sons and seven daughters. Erwin was baptized on 16 June 1929 at Eden Mennonite Church, Moundridge, Kansas. Erwin married Verna Mae Kaufman on 23 Aug 1940. Verna was born 9 November 1915 to Joseph P. Kaufman (20 June 1881-8 December 1956) and Rose Maria Flickner Kaufman (7 May 1885-3 July 1982) near Galva. She also grew up in the Eden Mennonite Church. Erwin and Verna Goering had two children: Mary Jo Preheim and LaDeen Frey. Erwin died on 4 July 1995 and Verna on 3 March 2019. They are buried in the Eden Mennonite Church Cemetery.

Verna graduated from McPherson High School and then from Bethel College in 1937 with a degree in music. Erwin graduated from Moundridge High School in 1931 and then from Bethel College in 1940. He attended Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Illinois, for a summer session in 1941. In 1951 he graduated from Mennonite Biblical Seminary with a Master in Religious Education.

Erwin taught elementary school at Pleasant Valley from 1935 to 1938, and after graduating from Bethel, he taught at Walton High School from 1941 to mid-1942. He then participated in Civilian Public Service (CPS), first as a camp director (Weeping Water, Nebraska #25, and then Camino, California #31), then regional director, and finally as general director. He also served with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Europe, heading the Mennonite Voluntary Service program doing postwar reconstruction in Kaiserslautern, Germany, from 1957 through 1959.

Erwin Goering held numerous positions following his CPS service, beginning in fundraising and development at Bethel College, 1946-1957, and returning to Bethel from 1963-1966 as assistant to the president. In addition to his work with MCC in the late 1950s, he became Executive Secretary of General Conference Mennonite Church, 1960-1963. After leaving Bethel, he held a series of positions as an administrator or fund raiser for the Mennonite Hospital, Bloomington, Illinois (1966-71); the Huron Road Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio (1971-74); the Settlement Institutions of Appalachia, Knoxville, Tennessee (1974-75); Freeman Junior College, Freeman, South Dakota (1976-78); Memorial Home, Moundridge, Kansas (1978-80); Kidron Bethel Inc., North Newton, Kansas (1986); Offender/Victim Ministries, Newton, Kansas (1988-90); Northview Endowment Association, Newton, Kansas (1988-90); and Cross Winds Conference Center near Hesston, Kansas (1990).

Goering served on a vast number of boards and committees for church and civic groups. He was a board member of the Herald Publishing Company (Mennonite Weekly Review) from the late 1960s into the 1990s; the Bethel College Board Association from the late 1970s into the 1980s; the Mennonite Library and Archives Board of Control in the 1980s; the North Newton City Citizen Advisory Committee and Street Committee in the 1980s; President and Executive Committee member of the Western District Conference in the early 1980s; the General Board and Division of Administration board or executive committee of the General Conference in the 1970s and 1980s. He also served with CROP and Kiwanis.


"CPS Director, GC Leader, Institutional Developer Dies." Mennonite Weekly Review (13 July 1995): 7. Web. 9 June 2021. https://mla.bethelks.edu/mediawiki/index.php/Goering,_Erwin_C._(1913-1995)

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 21-01 ed. Fresno, CA: " California Mennonite Historical Society, 2021: #292290.

"Verna M. (Kaufman) Goering." McPherson Sentinel 6 March 2019. Web. 9 June 2021. https://www.mcphersonsentinel.com/news/20190306/verna-m-kaufman-goering.


"Erwin C. Goering Papers." Bethel College Mennonite Library and Archives. MS.174. Web. 9 June 2021. https://archives.mhsc.ca/index.php/erwin-c-goering-papers.

Author(s) David A Haury
Date Published June 2021

Cite This Article

MLA style

Haury, David A. "Goering, Erwin Charles (1913-1995)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2021. Web. 12 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goering,_Erwin_Charles_(1913-1995)&oldid=171602.

APA style

Haury, David A. (June 2021). Goering, Erwin Charles (1913-1995). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 12 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goering,_Erwin_Charles_(1913-1995)&oldid=171602.

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