Carol Jean Epp, age 76 of Elkhart, went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ while surrounded by her family at the Center for Hospice, Esther House on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Carol was born February 20, 1945 in York, Nebraska to the late Peter P. and Anna (Peters) Siebert.
Carol is survived by her husband Arlen Epp, son Ryan Epp and his wife Michele, grandsons Logan and Shawn Epp, and step-granddaughters Miranda Menges and Shania Diamond. Surviving as well are her siblings Darrell Siebert and his wife Eleanor of Laverne, Minnesota, Elvin Siebert of Omaha, Nebraska, Esther Fox, of Austin, Texas, Aldena Siebert of Henderson, Nebraska and her brother-in-law Richard Janzen of Butterfield, Minnesota. She was preceded in death by her stillborn brother Dennis Siebert, her brother Allen Siebert who passed away at the age of 5, and her sister Darlene Janzen and her brother-in-law Lowell Fox.
Carol grew up on the family farm between Lushton and Henderson Nebraska where she was an active participant on the family farm working with irrigating the farm crops from early in life through high school.
Prior to school consolidation, early elementary school began in a rural school, with one year taught by her sister Darlene being a special memory and completed her elementary and high school education in Henderson community schools. She was a quiet, responsible youth who never got into trouble, though she once snuck out of the school through a library window to go uptown, for what reason she was unable to recall. She returned by the same route and apparently no one knew because there were no repercussions.
She went on to attend Freeman Jr. College in Freeman, S.D. where she earned her AA degree and met the man who would later become her husband. Next, she went on to attend the Grand Island School of Business where she earned secretarial certification. Carol’s first job experience was in secretarial services in the Newton, KS office of the General Conference Mennonite Church (GCMC) beginning in 1966.
On June 24, 1967 she married Arlen Epp and they went to Nigeria, West Africa in 1968 where she spent the next three years in voluntary service working in a Nigerian secondary school as the school librarian and secretary to the principal under the auspices of the Mennonite Central Committee Teachers Abroad Program. There she established many meaningful relationships with Nigerians and expatriates. In route home from Nigeria Carol and Arlen traveled extensively in Europe and the UK sharing many interesting sights and experiences on a very meager budget.
Back in the states Carol again worked for the GCMC, and held other administrative assistant positions in the several communities where the couple lived and worked until their work took them to south central MI. Their son Ryan was born, and Carol took classes at Goshen College and Indiana University South Bend in bookkeeping and accounting before going to work for the Elkhart Public Library as a bookkeeper, and subsequently to work for Mennonite Church US as a bookkeeper and convention planner for last 20+ years of her career leading up to her retirement at age 70. Carol was known well for her organizational ability and attention to details necessary to her work. She was a homemaker and often entertained guests in her home.
Carol and Arlen traveled extensively throughout the US camping and hiking in mountain wildernesses, in national parks, and in monument preserves. In later years Carol took up photography and took many fine pictures of birds and natural life, often using these to make greeting cards for friends and family. She was also active in the couple’s church where she served on various committees including the Care Committee which took responsibility for pastoral care concerns within the congregation. Carol’s faith was present in her life and her relationships and in her many years of service in church organizations. Carol was known for a quick wit and a hearty laugh. She loved her family and did many wonderful things for Ryan and his family. Grandchildren always had a home in Carol’s home and shared many vacations with Carol and Arlen.
Carol is remembered for her kindness and generosity with family and friends, and her compassion for those who are in need. She was generous in support of organizations working with abused women, with the food bank, and with church service organizations such as Mennonite Central Committee. In her church related jobs, she was proactive in her role as a representative for minority communities in the Mennonite church.
Carol’s favorite holiday was always Christmas. She loved Christmas carols and decorated the home beautifully. She had an extensive collection of nativity sets which were displayed throughout the house during the holiday season. Grand children remember her generosity with gifts both during the holidays and throughout the year at birthday parties. They often reference their collection of Christmas ornaments as each one received an ornament every year. For years Carol provided significant taxi services for these grandkids getting them where they needed to be while their parents were at work. Carol’s love for her family and the poor of the world was without question.
Carol’s tragic illness cut her life short. Her passing constitutes a great loss for nuclear and extended family and friends. She is sorely missed by many family and friends. We trust she rests peacefully in the hands of a loving God.
The memorial service and celebration of life is now scheduled for Saturday May 8 at 1:00 at the Chapel of the Sermon on The Mount on the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. A fellowship and sharing time will follow in the Lambright Center on the campus. Due to the still uncontrolled COVID virus dangers, we ask all those who attend to wear masks at all times except when eating during the fellowship and sharing time following the service. Please practice social distancing whenever possible. If you are not vaccinated against the virus, please attend by zoom. Both the celebration of life and the fellowship sharing time will be zoomed. Because there is a move from the chapel to the Lambright Center there will be one zoom for the service and a second one for the sharing time at the Lambright Center. The sharing time will include opportunities for those on hand and those at a distance to share stories and engage in the sharing. Your recollections of Carol will be appreciated. In an effort to include everyone who wishes to participate, there will be an addition to these zoom opportunities. The service and the sharing will be recorded and made available on Carol's Caring Bridge site and on her Facebook page. Further details will be available here as we move toward this time of grieving and celebrating Carol's life.
Memorial gifts may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, Church Community Services in Elkhart, IN (a food bank), and to the Elkhart County Shelter for Abused Women. Cruz family Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Osceola has been entrusted with her care. To light a virtual candle, leave a message of condolence for Carol’s family, or share a story of her life, please visit our website at www.CruzFamilyFH.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Carol Jean (Siebert) Epp, please visit our floral store.