Norman Alfred Geissinger, 102, Reinholds Mennonite minister, sea-going cowboy, father of seven

By on April 18, 2018

Norman Alfred Geissinger, 102, went to be with the Lord on Friday, April 6, 2018 from his Menno Village home in Chambersburg.

Norman was born Feb. 24, 1916 in Hosensack to Abraham and Katie Godshall Stauffer Geissinger.

He was raised and baptized in the Upper Milford Mennonite Church, where he served as deacon for many years. He graduated from East Greenville High School, East Greenville.

He met Mianna Eisenhart at summer church camp and they were married a year later on June 12, 1937, in the West Swamp Mennonite Church. Together, they had five sons and two daughters.

Norman attended evening classes at Berean Bible School, Allentown, which helped prepare him for his future ministerial duties in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Norman was born in the same farm house as his mother and loved working the same farm land with his father.

Upon the death of his mother in 1959, he began his second career as a carpenter, which continued full time and part-time through 1978. In 1964, Norman began his third career as a pastoral minister to the Reinholds Mennonite Church congregation, where he served for 13 years.

His second ministerial call moved the family to Jackson, Minn., area where Norman pastored the Alpha Mennonite church congregation. During his tenure, the congregation built a new church facility in Jackson where he completed his ministry in 1988.

Upon retirement, Norman and Mianna moved to Mountain Lake, Minn., where they both volunteered at the Ten Thousand Villages/Care & Share store and served as “parents” to several international MCC volunteers. He assisted in ministry at Bethel Mennonite for a time in Mountain Lake. Summer 1999 saw the couple move to Menno Haven to accommodate Mianna’s advancing Alzheimer’s until she died March 2010.

Norman and Mianna enjoyed traveling across the U.S. and in Europe. Norman was proud of serving on a 1946 cattle boat as a sea-going cowboy, rebuilding a Native American village after the 1965 Alaska earthquake, and several other Mennonite Disaster Services projects. He also enjoyed reading, woodworking, and playing cornet in the family brass quartet.

Norman is survived by four sons: Ladnor and wife Shirley of Chapel Hill, N.C.; Cordell and wife Mary Kay of Brooktondale, N.Y.; Glenn and wife Arlene of Excelsior, Minn.; Timothy and wife Anita of Aurora, Ill.; and two daughters: Jewel and husband Eugene Ratzlaff of Hopewell Junction, N.Y.; Tanya and husband Avery Shealey of Seattle, Wash.; 14 grandchildren; and 29 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews and their children. His youngest sister: Esther Miller of Robesonia, is his last surviving sibling.

Preceding him in death were his parents; his brothers: Paul and Wilmer; sisters: Edna and Arlene; and son: Arlin (at age seven months).

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, at Menno Haven Chapel in Chambersburg. Chaplain Lori Witmer will be officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Menno Haven Benevolent Fund, at

Arrangements are entrusted to Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Chambersburg. Condolences and memories may be shared at

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