Arleta Mae (Kollath) Augsburger died at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 16, 2018, with her devoted and loving husband of 71 years at her side, after a very long process of decline precipitated by Alzheimer’s Disease. She was born on the Kollath family farm just west of Seymour, Wisconsin, on February 10, 1923, the fourth and youngest child of Arthur and Estella (Thompson) Kollath. Arleta grew up a happy and content child on the farm, being raised by her own family and additionally loved and doted on by Everett and Grace McBain, a childless couple across the county road. She attended Crystal Springs one room school house for eight grades and graduated from Seymour High School in 1941. After graduation she continued to live at home while she worked at the office of the Seymour Progressive Farmer Cooperative.
During the Second World War, on many Sunday mornings, Arleta’s family would stop along the road to offer a ride to a Mennonite Conscientious Objector farm worker, Oren Augsburger, who had to walk to town to attend worship services, and they were forced to sit together in the back seat of the car. Out of this forced togetherness, love grew, and they were married on October 26, 1946. To their union three children were born, Larry, Betty and Janet. In 1959 the family moved to Oren’s home town of Elida, Ohio, where Arleta continued her life’s work of being a loving wife, mother and homemaker. She was also active in the life of Salem Mennonite Church where she was a faithful Sunday School teacher, song leader, housekeeper, women’s group member, and friend to many.
It was in the early 2000s that family members began to recognize the onset of her dementia. The progress of the disease was slow, irresistible, devastating and total. She was admitted to Vancrest Nursing Home in February, 2005, where she was lovingly and well-taken care of by the staff and by her faithful husband who fed her every lunch and supper for many years. It has been with grieving hearts that we have seen our wife and mother slip away over these many years. We are relieved that her struggle is over and we rejoice in the wonderful and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend that she was and how faithfully she played such a significant role in our lives. She is survived by Oren, her husband of 71 years, son Larry (Jeananne) Augsburger, and daughters Betty (Paul) Munn and Janet (Paul) Burford, ten grandchildren and increasing numbers of great grandchildren.
Cremation has already happened and a memorial service of grieving and remembrance will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at Salem Mennonite Church. The family will greet friends for the hour preceding the service. Memorial contributions can be made to the Mennonite Central Committee or to Salem Mennonite Church. Arrangements were entrusted to Harter and Schier Funeral Home.