Evelyn Pearl (Christler) DeNeff, 91, Marion, died at 5:55 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at Colonial Oaks Health Care Center in Marion. She was born on July 18, 1926, in Georgetown Township, Michigan, and was the daughter of Elmer and Carrie (Timmerman) Christler.
After graduating from Hudsonville High School in 1944, she attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids until 1946 and began her teaching career in a "one-room school" with children in grades Kindergarten through eighth. She received her degree in Elementary Education from Indiana Wesleyan University (Marion College) in 1953 and taught for two years at Evans Elementary School. Through 28 years of teaching, 26 of those in Michigan, she influenced the lives of hundreds of children and their families, always with a smile and loving heart.
She was united in marriage to Rev. Jay DeNeff on August 8, 1953, in Holland, Michigan. She served with her husband in the Wesleyan Church International for 39 years, shepherding congregations in Michigan (Hastings, Pontiac, Sturgis, and Flint) and Florida (Brooksville). With her gift of hospitality, she made each person who came into their home feel welcomed and at ease. Her husband, children, and grandchildren truly rise and call her blessed.
The beauty of Christ was evidenced in her life through her genuine love for others. Someone said this week, as they stood at her bedside, "There are a lot of Christians, but not many saints." Evelyn was both. Her wisdom, unsuspected humor, and quiet strength were a precious resource for family and friends.
She was preceded in death by an infant son, Douglas Jay DeNeff; brother, Lloyd Christler; sisters, Frances VerLee and Mildred Alexander; son-in-law, Lawrence White; and several nieces and nephews.
The memory of her godly life is treasured by her husband Rev. Jay DeNeff; two daughters, Jacqueline White (Marion, IN) and Marcia DeNeff (Sturgis, MI); son, Dr. Steven (Lori) DeNeff (Marion, IN); grandchildren, Nicholas DeNeff (Marion, IN) and Ashley (Rev. Patrick) Cooper (Spooner, WI); and great-grandson, Maddox Ryne Cooper.
The family will receive visitors from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at College Wesleyan Church, 200 E. 38th St., Marion, IN.
Services to celebrate Evelyn's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the church with viewing one hour prior to the service. Dr. Kurt Stevens will be officiating with burial following at Grant Memorial Park.
Arrangements are entrusted to Needham-Storey-Wampner Funeral Service, North Chapel, 1341 N. Baldwin Ave., Marion, IN.
Online condolences may be made at www.nswcares.com.