Goertzen, William (“Bill”) (1916-2010) and Martha (Epp) Goertzen (1922-2009)

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William "Bill" Goertzen and Martha (Epp) Goertzen: missionaries and church workers in the United States and overseas. Bill was born to Jacob H. and Anna (Schierling) Goertzen on 21 March 1916 in Floris, Oklahoma, USA. Martha was born to Peter C. and Elisabeth (Epp) Epp on 4 December 1922 in Shafter, California, USA, the eighth of nine children in the family. They married on 20 July 1941 at the Shafter Mennonite Brethren Church. The couple had four children, two girls and two boys. One daughter, Deborah, died before her parents. Martha died on 10 December 2009 in Shafter, California, and Bill died on 30 July 2010 in Bakersfield, California. Both Martha and Bill were buried in Shafter.

William was the sixth of eleven children in the family. He completed Grade 8 in Big Bow, Kansas. He was baptized on 20 April 1941 in Santa Maria, California and joined the Nazarene Church in Santa Maria. Martha dedicated her life to God as a youngster. She was baptized on 4 December 1938 and joined the Nazarene Church of Santa Maria. She graduated from the Wasco High School in 1940, a year before she married Bill Goertzen in 1941 at the Shafter Mennonite Brethren Church in California. In about 1945, the family moved to Shafter, California and Bill and Martha transferred their membership to the Shafter MB Church on 31 March 1946.

Both Martha and William Goertzen were involved for many years in teaching Sunday School and helping with many other church activities. Bill worked in his family’s construction business and later used his skills to help build mission stations in many parts of the world. On 6 May 1953, Bill and Martha left the United States, together with their children, to work with the American Mennonite Brethren Mission organization in the Kwango District of the Belgian Congo, helping with building construction and other projects. Martha hosted many people in their home both in Africa and in the many other places where the Goertzens lived.

Bill and Martha Goertzen, together with their children, stayed in Africa for two years before returning to North America in 1955. However, they continued to travel after their time in Africa ended, using their skills to help various churches and mission organizations. On their return to Shafter, they became involved in the church again, working with Sunday School, singing in the choir, and serving wherever they were needed. Throughout their lives, they committed themselves to helping the church in whatever way they could.

William "Bill" and Martha Goertzen were dedicated missionaries and church workers who used their skills to benefit the people around them. Through their work and their personal lives, they helped provide an example of commitment to the church in North America and other areas of the world.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.19 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2005: #420915, 420889.

Mennonite Library & Archives, Fresno Pacific University. "MB Mission work in Congo: An Inventory of Records." https://www.fresno.edu/sites/default/files/a250-10-mb-mission-congo.pdf.

Missionary Album of Missionaries Serving under the Board of Foreign Mission of the Mennonite Brethren Conference, Inc. October, 1954. Hillsboro, Kansas: The Board of Foreign Missions, 1954.

Obituary. "Martha Louise Goertzen." Christian Leader (February/March 2010): 35.

Obituary. "Martha Louise Epp Goertzen." http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=472091&fh_id=10460.

Obituary. "William 'Bill' Goertzen." Christian Leader (August/September 2010): 33.

Obituary. "William 'Bill' Goertzen (March 21, 1916-July 25, 2010)." http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=674066&fh_id=10460.

Author(s) Susan Huebert
Date Published May 2014

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MLA style

Huebert, Susan. "Goertzen, William (“Bill”) (1916-2010) and Martha (Epp) Goertzen (1922-2009)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. May 2014. Web. 9 Aug 2022. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goertzen,_William_(%E2%80%9CBill%E2%80%9D)_(1916-2010)_and_Martha_(Epp)_Goertzen_(1922-2009)&oldid=123753.

APA style

Huebert, Susan. (May 2014). Goertzen, William (“Bill”) (1916-2010) and Martha (Epp) Goertzen (1922-2009). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 9 August 2022, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Goertzen,_William_(%E2%80%9CBill%E2%80%9D)_(1916-2010)_and_Martha_(Epp)_Goertzen_(1922-2009)&oldid=123753.

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