Wall, Mathilda (1915-2012)

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Mathilda "Tillie" Wall: missionary nurse and midwife; born 18 March 1915 to Cornelius C. Wall (10 October 1877, Molotschna Mennonite Settlement, South Russia - 23 January 1954, Orland, California, USA) and Helena (Wiens) Wall (9 April 1883, Bradshaw, Nebraska, USA - 13 November 1967) in Munich, Cavalier County, North Dakota, USA. She was the fourth of five children in the family, three boys and two girls. She died in Reedley, California on 30 November 2012 and was buried on 10 December 2012 in Orland, California.

In her early years, Mathilda attended school in North Dakota. Her father had immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1887 and had landed in New York before moving west. Tillie attended school and became part of the Munich community, where she had a conversion experience and then at the age of 17 joined the local Mennonite Brethren church. Soon afterwards, she and her family moved to California, where Mathilda completed her high school studies and then continued on to the Bible School of Los Angeles.

Throughout her post-secondary studies, Wall volunteered in the church, teaching Sunday School classes, working with Vacation Bible School, and helping in various other capacities. Sensing a call to work in Africa, she decided to pursue qualifications as a nurse. She began her studies at the Highland School of Nursing in Oakland, California, in 1943 and graduated from there in February 1946. From June to September 1946, she studied linguistics in Caron, Saskatchewan, Canada. In July 1946, she applied for service in Africa with the Mennonite Brethren Board of Foreign Missions before spending a year at Tabor College. She was ordained as a foreign missionary on 12 June 1947 at the Mennonite Brethren church in Orland, California and left from New York City five days later for her first term in the central African country of the Belgian Congo.

During her first term in Africa, Wall worked as a nurse and midwife in the Kafumba and Djonga Sanga Stations, where the Mennonite Brethren had been working for many years. Other missionaries also worked at the Kafumba station, which included several schools and residences, as well as a hospital and other structures and programs. Tillie returned to the United States in October 1953 for her first furlough before traveling back to the Congo in early 1955. She spent many of the next years serving in Kikwit, where she continued to serve in the medical field despite the disruption caused by the country’s overthrow of Belgian rule and ongoing turmoil. Her work in the newly-named country of Zaire carried on until her retirement in 1981. She moved back to the United States, where she settled in Reedley, California. She died there in 2012 at the age of 97.

Mathilda "Tillie" Wall was a dedicated mission worker who used her skills and interests to benefit the people she encountered, both at home and overseas. Her volunteer work in the American churches and years of service as a nurse and midwife in Africa helped to improve the lives of many people.


Find a Grave.com. "Mathilda 'Tillie' Wall." http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=101682111.

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

GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 7.04 ed. Fresno, CA: " California Mennonite Historical Society, 2013: #54859.

Missionary Album of Missionaries Serving Under the Board of Foreign Missions, The Mennonite Church Conference, Inc. Hillsboro, KS: Board of Foreign Missions of the Conference of Mennonite Brethren Church of North America, 1954.

Obituary. "Mathilda Wall." Dopkins Funeral Chapel. http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=1888471&fh_id=14246.

Obituary. "Tillie Wall." Reedley Exponent. http://www.reedleyexponent.com/articles/2012/12/15/obituaries/doc50c7da6af3550226497804.txt.

Author(s) Susan Huebert
Date Published February 2014

Cite This Article

MLA style

Huebert, Susan. "Wall, Mathilda (1915-2012)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. February 2014. Web. 14 Jun 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wall,_Mathilda_(1915-2012)&oldid=134692.

APA style

Huebert, Susan. (February 2014). Wall, Mathilda (1915-2012). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 14 June 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Wall,_Mathilda_(1915-2012)&oldid=134692.

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