Miriam Jeanelle (Kuhns Zehr) Liechty, 92, passed away Sunday, January 3, 2021, at Swiss Village in Berne. She was born February 14, 1928, in La Junta, Colorado to Allen and Anna (Shupe) Kuhns. She was the youngest of nine siblings. Her childhood was spent in multiple locations throughout Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. She attended high school at the Hesston Academy and graduated in 1950 from the La Junta Mennonite School of Nursing. After graduation, she was employed at the Mennonite Deaconess Hospital in Beatrice, Nebraska. While there, she met and married Edmund Zehr, who was serving as hospital administrator. They had three young children and a fourth child on the way when he died suddenly in 1957. After his death, she relocated to Goshen, and during the next two years, she took advanced training at Wesley Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University in Chicago to become an anesthesia practitioner. She completed training in 1959, becoming one of the nation’s first certified registered nurse anesthetists.
After graduation, she accepted a nurse anesthetist position at the Caylor-Nickel Clinic in Bluffton. She chose to settle her young family in Berne and attend First Mennonite Church in Berne. There she met Robert (Bob) Liechty, whom she married in February 1961 after a short courtship. He lovingly adopted the four Zehr children, then ages three through eight, and they were subsequently blessed with two additional children.
In addition to the Bluffton Clinic, she worked as a nurse anesthetist at Jay County Hospital and at Swiss Village as a nurse. She also received training and certification in tax preparation and helped many people through her small business, Liechty Tax Service.
She had a curious intellect and an active mind. She was a constant learner and loved a challenge. Her family marveled at her resolve to fix an appliance, mend an item of clothing or repair any broken item. She was a creative engineer at heart, often inventing ways to improve the function of things or to create new gadgets. She was also a talented seamstress and spent countless hours knitting, crocheting and needle-working. Her children and grandchildren treasure the many beautiful handmade gifts she made for them.
She and her husband were married nearly 60 years. During retirement, they enjoyed traveling internationally and throughout the U.S. in their motor home. They spent many winters in Florida and Texas, where they made many friends volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
Most of all, she was a committed and devoted follower of Jesus. She had a beautiful alto voice and filled the home with her hymns and songs. She loved fiercely and prayed fervently for her family, for those less fortunate and for those facing challenges. Perhaps because of the hardships she had faced in her own life, she had a heart for those who were struggling and would go out of her way to share her love and acceptance. Her faith was strong and steady, and she did not shy away from examining and stretching her understanding. In times of doubt, she always chose love as her guiding principle.
She is survived by her husband; six children and their spouses, Edward (Mary Purves) and C. Daniel (Naomi Wilansky) Liechty; Mary (Peter) Graber; Martha (Paul) Conrad; Margaret (Phillip) Sprunger; and Janet (Philip Martens) Liechty; 13 grandchildren, Gretchen, Karl, Adele (Ed), Hannah (Dan), Emily, Nathan, Naomi (Mary), Jesse, Caitlin (Martha), Conrad, Carsten (Margaret), Raina and Rex (Janet); and 10 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; five sisters; and three brothers.
Due to COVID-19 public health and safety concerns, services and burial will take place privately with the immediate family. A link to view the memorial service will be available at First Mennonite Church website http://www.firstmennonite.org/.
Memorials may be made to Camp Friedenswald, Mennonite Disaster Service or Swiss Village Samaritan Fund.
Arrangements provided by Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home, Yager-Kirchhofer Chapel in Berne. To sign the online guestbook, visit www.zwickjahn.com.