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Featured Article: "Whitmer, Paul Emmons (1876-1966)"

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Paul and Fannie Whitmer's wedding photo, 1908.
Family photo

Paul Emmons Whitmer: minister, professor and college administrator; born 2 January 1876 on the family farm south of North Lima, Mahoning County, Ohio, USA to David Lehman Whitmer (21 February 1838-7 May 1926) and Anna Otto Whitmer (2 August 1843-23 October 1911). He was the second child and oldest son in a family of two sons and two daughters. His younger brother died in infancy. His sister, Martha Whitmer married Albert "A. J." Steiner (30 October 1876-20 August 1965), a prominent Ohio and Eastern Conference bishop. On 9 September 1908 Paul married Fannie Hartzler Yoder (26 June 1879-26 October 1974), daughter of Daniel C. Yoder (13 May 1825-19 March 1909) and Anna C. Hartzler Yoder (21 October 1843-17 March 1930). Paul and Fannie had two sons--Dana and Edwin. Dana's granddaughter, Gretchen Whitmer, served as governor of the state of Michigan beginning in 2019. Paul Whitmer died 12 August 1966 at Richland Manor Rest Home in Bluffton, Ohio. Paul and Fannie Whitmer are buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery, Bluffton, Ohio.

Paul's father, David Whitmer, came from a conservative Mennonite family, but was not conservative himself. He voted in local and national elections throughout his life, and did not believe the dress restrictions coming into the Mennonite Church were appropriate. Anna Otto Whitmer grew up in the Reformed Church, and did not join the Mennonite Church until several years after marriage, when the local Mennonite community experienced a division led by Jacob Wisler. Anna persuaded her husband to stay with the English-speaking side of the division, though his brothers all joined the Old Order Mennonites. Paul Whitmer's home was greatly enhanced by a library of several hundred volumes of classical literature and history bequeathed to the family by Anna Otto Whitmer's uncle.

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