Redekop, Calvin Wall (1925-2022)

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Calvin Redekop (1925-2022)

Calvin W. Redekop: teacher, author, and entrepreneur; born 19 September 1925 in Volt, Montana to Jacob Kasper Redekop (2 July 1900, Petrovka, Naumenko, South Russia – 20 July 1980, Minneapolis, Minnesota) and Katherine (Wall) Redekop (28 April 1901, Mountain Lake, Minnesota – 25 February 1958, Mountain Lake, Minnesota). Calvin was the second of five children. His siblings were Rosa, Ella, Jacob, and Bertha. Calvin married Freda Naomi Pellman (7 July 1930, Richfield, Pennsylvania – 8 August 2011, Harrisonburg, Virginia), daughter of Leroy Pellman and Elizabeth (Lauver) Pellman, on 20 August 1955 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Calvin and Freda had three children: William, Benjamin, and Frederick. Calvin died 20 July 2022, in his 97th year, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and is buried in Weavers Mennonite Church Cemetery in Rockingham County, Virginia.

Calvin grew up on a farm in Montana and in 1937 the family moved to Dallas, Oregon. Three years later the family relocated again to Mountain Lake, Minnesota where Calvin attended high school.

Calvin received his BA in sociology from Goshen College in 1949, and thereafter completed his MA at the University of Minnesota and his PhD in Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Chicago in 1959.

During his long life, Calvin bestrode the globe. In 1949 he joined Mennonite Central Committee and, for the first part of his assignment, was engaged as a peace witness in Alberta, Canada. In 1950 he sailed for Europe, where he became the PAX program organizer and Mennonite Voluntary Service director until December 1952. While in Europe, Calvin met Freda Pullman, serving with Menno Travel in Amsterdam, and they were married in 1955.

Calvin’s academic career spanned 35 years, with teaching or administrative appointments at Hesston College (1955-1962); Earlham College (1962-1967); Goshen College (1967-1976); Tabor College (vice-president and dean) (1976-1978); and Conrad Grebel College (1979-1990).

Redekop was a prolific author, credited with 13 publications and a steady stream of articles in professional journals and church papers. His book publications include The Old Colony Mennonites (1969); Strangers Become Neighbors: Mennonite and Indigenous Relations in the Paraguayan Chaco (1981); Mennonite Society (1989); Mennonite Entrepreneurs (1995); Creation and the Environment: An Anabaptist Perspective on a Sustainable World (2000); and Power Authority and the Anabaptist Tradition (2001). His last publication was Service: The Path to Justice (2022).

Calvin was a long-time supporter of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and its predecessors, becoming the founding editor of its journal, The Marketplace, and serving in that role until 1985.

As a means of combining his environmental zeal with real-world business acumen, Calvin became involved in several businesses. His first business venture was to join Excel Industries, Inc., a turf equipment company. He was also a founding member of Sunflower Energy Works in Kansas, one of the first solar energy companies in the state. Owing to his expertise, he served on the boards of other eco-based companies, including EnerSource, Secure Futures, and Wood Composites Inc.

Calvin and his wife generously supported a variety of charitable causes, including several endowed scholarships for Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) undergraduate students. They also were active in establishing the Hubert R. and Mildred K. Pellman Endowed Literature Scholarship. In his later years, Calvin and his family created the JustPax Fund and Redekop Family Endowment, non-profit organizations that advanced economic, gender, and environmental justice. As a testament to his generosity, he was named a recipient of the 2017 Regional Journey Award from the Everence Office (a faith-based financial service) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. This award recognized his significant dedication to personal and professional stewardship.

Owing to his restless mind, Calvin was sometimes known as the "holy disruptor." Critical thinking certainly endeared him as a frequently invited lecturer on university campuses. Through his publications, Redekop has left for posterity a rich legacy of contributions.


Calvin Redekop fonds. Mennonite Archives of Ontario.


"Calvin Wall Redekop Obituary." Legacy Remembers. 22 July 2022. Web. 6 February 2024.

"In Memoriam: Calvin ‘Cal’ Redekop." Eastern Mennonite University. 17 August 2022. Web. 6 February 2024.

"We Mourn the Passing of Calvin Redekop." MEDA. 22 July 2022. Web. 6 February 2024.

Author(s) David Giesbrecht
Date Published February 2024

Cite This Article

MLA style

Giesbrecht, David. "Redekop, Calvin Wall (1925-2022)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2024. Web. 20 Jul 2024.,_Calvin_Wall_(1925-2022)&oldid=178746.

APA style

Giesbrecht, David. (February 2024). Redekop, Calvin Wall (1925-2022). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 July 2024, from,_Calvin_Wall_(1925-2022)&oldid=178746.

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