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Waldo O. Voth papers, 1919-1999, undated



  • Creation: 1919-1999, undated

Biography of Waldo O. Voth

Waldo Otto Voth was born December 9, 1911, in Goessel, Kansas to C. R. and Anna Banman Voth.

He attended Hochfeld school and District number 36 in Marion County, Kansas, graduating from Goessel Rural High School in 1930. He attended Bethel College in Newton, Kansas for two years, taught at the Good Hope Grade School for two years, then returned to Bethel College where he graduated in 1937. He attended the Kansas State Teachers' College for one year in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Waldo Voth taught in the Ness City (Kansas) High School for four years from 1938-1942 as the shop and physics teacher and baseball and football coach.

During World War II, Voth was a conscientious objector, as were many other Mennonites. Instead of joining the military service, he served in various Civilian Public Service camps: 1941-1943 as education director at Fort Collins, Colorado; 1943-1947 as education director at Colorado Springs; 1945 as dairy unit director in El Paso County, CO; and in 1946 as director in Three Rivers, California. Because he was a conscientious objector, his fiancé at the time broke off the engagement. There is also evidence that he did not get hired for a job because he did not serve in the military.

Voth and his brother Moses assisted their father during harvesting season by custom threshing and cutting, and later combining, for many years. During World War II, C. R. Voth tried to get Waldo furlowed from service so that he could help him with harvest at the farm.

In 1947, Waldo married Emma Unruh. In 1950 their son Robert D. was born. The Voths built their new house at 118 South Summit in Goessel in 1957. They were one year short of their 50th anniversary when Emma passed away in 1996.

Voth's main occupation was with the Crossroads Co-operative from 1948-1977 in Goessel, Kansas. When he took over the business as manager, it consisted of only a grocery and a feed store. When he retired, it had grown considerably.

From 1977-1984 he worked as the manager of the Sunflower Energy Works, which produced and marketed approximately 3000 solar heat absorber collectors. In 1984 he worked with the housing authority for the elderly in Goessel, Kansas.

Waldo Voth was heavily involved with the Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church. Among other activities, he taught youth and adult sunday school classes, served as congregational chairman, chairman of the board of deacons, and Sunday school superintendent.

Waldo O. Voth was a charter member of the Goessel Lions Club, Goessel Investors, Inc, and treasurer of Crossroads Federal Credit Union. The city of Goessel elected him as the mayor, serving for a decade. He helped to organize the Goessel Rural Fire Department and he served as a chairman of the Bethel College Parents Association.

Waldo O. Voth died March 11, 2000 in Goessel at the age of 88.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States