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Memorial Service

Sugar Creek Mennonite Church
Wednesday July 27th, 2022

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Robert Lee Hartzler

Robert Lee Hartzler was born January 22, 1936, to Ezra Jacob Hartzler and Cora Mae Yoder at Belleville, PA and died at the age of 86 on July 24, 2022, in Wayland, IA.

Survivors are his wife Phyllis (Freyenberger), five children: Jill Denise Hartzler of Washington, Tina Joy Ulrich (John) of Traverse City, MI, Faith Lugene Hartzler of Cedar Rapids, IA., Robert Reed Hartzler of Olds, IA, Ezra Drew (Teri) Hartzler of Washington, IA; eight grandchildren: Maria, Corinna, and David Ulrich, Alden and Anna Hartzler, Ashley, Olivia (Jacob) Warren, and Blake Hartzler; and one sister, Ruth Glick, of Chesterfield, VA.  He is preceded in death by his siblings, Vesta (Thomas) Peachey, Mollie (Leonard) Peachey, Sara (Raymond) Hartzler, Anna Mary (Paul) Renno, and Floyd (Alma) Hartzler.

Bob and Phyllis met when Bob was doing his 1-W alternative service in Hannibal, MO and his quartet sang at Sugar Creek.  They were married on November 23, 1956, and he went to work for Leonard Leichty driving the bulldozer and scraper.  He worked for the Leichty’s full time for 13 years and part time off and on throughout his years in ministry.  He believed that every pastor should have a marketable skill besides the primary task of shepherding the flock.

Bob was called to the ministry early in life and on December 30, 1962, he was ordained as a youth minister at Sugar Creek Mennonite Church in Wayland, IA.  He felt the need for more education and over the next six years, with the churches’ generous support, he studied at Hesston, Goshen, and Iowa Wesleyan colleges earning an AA degree from Hesston and completing his BA at Goshen College in 1968. He later continued his education in Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Iowa Hospital and Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, SD.

Bob served 39 years in pastorates in Wayland, Des Moines, Washington, IA and Belleville, PA, and nine years as the Northern District Conference Minister.  He was active in the Iowa Nebraska Conference and the larger church and served on many committees including the Publishing Committee at Herald Press, Hesston College Board of Overseers, Mennonite Church General Board, MCGB Nominating Committee, and the Council on Faith Life, and Strategy. Retiring in Wayland, he served as an interim pastor for five congregations, guiding them through difficult times between pastors.

Cycling was Bob’s favorite pastime.  He logged over 87,000 miles and completed the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa 10 times. The exercise and friendship of fellow bikers kept him healthy and happy over the years.

A private family burial service will take place at the Sugar Creek Cemetery on Wednesday, July 27, followed by a memorial service at Sugar Creek Mennonite Church at 10:30 AM with lunch served in the fellowship hall. The service will be available via Livestream at the Beatty Peterseim Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Memorial donations can be made to the Crooked Creek Christian Camp (2830 Coppock Rd, Washington, IA 52353) or to Sugar Creek Mennonite Church (PO Box 146 Wayland, IA 52654)

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Hartzler, please visit our flower store.

Service Program


A candle was lit in memory of Robert Hartzler

Patricia Brown Jul 29 2022 12:21 PM

Whenever I have the opportunity to share my life story, Bob is always there toward the front. He, with a small hand full of others have been critical in assisting and shaping me into the person I am today. My 30 + years of pastoral ministry and love for bicycling are two of the major ways that Bob influenced my life for the better. I will be forever grateful for his mentoring and contributions to my life.

Alan Kauffman Jul 27 2022 7:51 PM

Bob was such a kind patient sole. He drew you in with his soft spoken words. It was a pleasure to have met Bob and his family. Rejoice that is now in glory!

Mary Quigley Jul 26 2022 9:55 PM

Mr. Hartzler was my best friend Tina's dad. He often gave us rides to school and would educate us on matters of the world. He was the one who inspired me to get involved in social issues. Even when he disagreed with us he would try and seek compromise - such as letting us use his awesome stereo system to play Leon Russell albums...but only when he was not at home. Rest in peace Mr. Hartzler - you raised a wonderful family who made a difference in my life.

Terri Johnson Parker Jul 26 2022 1:25 PM

Bob was an awesome interim pastor, I learned so much from him both of the times he and Phyllis graciously pastored our church. I know he and Phyllis both enjoyed our mush dinners! It was Bob's encouragement that renewed my passion for bicycling, prompting me to attempt my first MCC bike/hike in South Dakota and my first RAGBRAI! His visits to Crooked Creek while out on a bike ride were always enjoyed, and he never left without offering a word of encouragement to the staff. My heart also aches with his loss, and my prayers are with the family as God welcomes home God's good and faithful servant.

Julie Bontrager Jul 26 2022 11:39 AM

Bob was such a genuine, kind soul. His sincere love of Christ was evident throughout his entire life. He was an encouragement to us in our trio singing years often showing up during our Christmas performances. He walked the last stretch of this journey with such bravery. He made a lasting impact on our conference and the greater Mennonite Church.
Peace and every good to Phyllis and family.

Atlee and Carolyn Yoder Jul 26 2022 7:08 AM

Our deepest sympathy to all. May God comfort you at this time as only He can.

Jim & Mary Hartzler Jul 25 2022 7:43 PM

Bob was a light to many a path in his days here on earth. Alden and Anna I am keeling you close in my heart ❤ as I know Grandpa was one in a million to both of you. He will shine his light on all your paths now from the Heavens. Your in my thoughts and prayers.
Cindy Hammen

Cindy Hammen Jul 25 2022 6:55 PM

May God bless and comfort Phyllis and the family and all who grieve Uncle Bob's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you from Alberta, Canada. Tom and Faith

Tom and Faith Peachey Jul 25 2022 5:51 PM

I'm so sorry to have read about your dad passing away. Losing a parent is not something that is very easy to deal with. Know that you and your family have my thoughts and prayers.

Mary Jo (Hammen) Schmitt Jul 25 2022 4:35 PM

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