Anna Elizabeth Geiser Amstutz Neuenschwander was born April 24, 1926 near Kidron, Ohio. She was the second oldest and first daughter of David and Etta (Gerber) Geiser. She grew up working hard on the family farm. Her first language was Swiss and she did not learn to speak English until she started school at six years old. Even though she loved school, at age eleven she had to quit to help with the work at home. She continued to love reading and wrote to life-long pen pals through the church magazine, Story Friends. In her teens and early twenties she worked for many families in the Kidron community, caring for newborn babies and children.
On November 25, 1950, Anna married Nathan Amstutz. They operated a dairy on the farm that Nathan grew up on. Anna loved farm life, where she helped to milk cows, grew abundant vegetable and flower gardens, raised chickens and goats, and always had a good meal with dessert on the table. She enjoyed learning how to decorate cakes and clipped many recipes from magazines to try out on family and friends.
I think she would say her biggest joy, though, was raising her five children, Jay, Ronald, Rosetta, Jeffrey, and Carlene. She and Nathan taught their children how to work alongside them, making many of the tasks fun. They also took time to play together, especially on Sunday afternoons or evenings with summer ball games in the yard, riding mini bikes on trails in the woods, and riding the overturned hood of an old truck being pulled by a tractor in the winter.
Anna’s life reflected her Christian values and she relied on her faith to help her through many hardships. She was not one to be the center of attention and was happiest doing things for others, whether it was making food, providing care, or bringing them flowers from her garden. She had a forgiving spirit and always looked for the good in others.
Anna often copied or clipped favorite quotes from books and magazines. This one from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, Little House in the Ozarks, suits her to a tee:
“And thinking of these things, I have concluded that whether it is sad to grow old depends on how we face it, whether we are looking forward with confidence or backward with regret. Still, in any case, it takes courage to live long successfully, and they are brave who grow old with smiling faces.”
She turned 97 on April 24, 2023 and her smile still lit up her bright blue eyes.
Anna is survived by one daughter, Carlene Lantz and her husband Stephen; daughters-in-law Kimberly Keplar Amstutz and Kelley Clark, and son-in-law Kevin Myers; grandchildren Michael (Holly) Amstutz, Andrea (Bill) Lundberg, Curtis (Kari Ann) Myers, Carrie Myers, Adam Amstutz, and Aaron Amstutz; great grandchildren Max Amstutz, Brionna Lundberg, Alyssa (Brandon) Beam, Billy (Nicole) Lundberg, Brik Myers, and Aiden Myers; great-great grandchildren Asher Jay Beam and Bristol Ann Lundberg; and siblings Dennis Geiser, Ella Amstutz, Dave Geiser, and Don (Roberta) Christner.
She was preceded in death by her first husband, Nathan Amstutz, and second husband, Willis Neuenschwander; children Jay Amstutz, Ronald Amstutz, Rosetta Myers, and Jeffrey Amstuz; siblings Clair Geiser, Lloyd Geiser, Verna Snyder, Daniel Geiser, Roy Geiser, Lavina Bissler, Samuel Geiser, and Laura Tennefoss
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at 11:00 am at Sonnenberg Mennonite Church near Kidron with Pastor Glenn Nofsinger officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Friends may call one hour prior to services at the church. Spidell Funeral Home in Mount Eaton is handling arrangements.
Special thanks to the staff of OrrVilla’s Maple Terrace and Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare for their compassionate care of Anna. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to OrrVilla Retirement Community at 333 E Sassafras St, Orrville, OH 44667 or Life Care Hospice of Wayne County, 1900 Akron Rd., Wooster, OH 44691. And, plant some flowers and share them with someone when they bloom.