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Inventory of the John H. Lohrenz Family Papers, 1904-1990
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This record group contains correspondence, sermon notes, unpublished manuscripts, course notes, diaries, notebooks, transcripts and grade sheets, financial records, official documents, clippings, genealogy data, Bibles and other miscellaneous papers of John H. Lohrenz and his wives, Maria Klaassen Lohrenz and Susie Richert Lohrenz. A letter of 1956 June 3 signed by Theodore Roosevelt Schellenberg, Assistant Archivist of the United States, is located in the correspondence files.
John H. Lohrenz was born 2 March 1893 in Moundridge, Kansas. He was baptized and joined the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro, Kansas, in 1907. After attending local public schools, Lohrenz enrolled at Tabor College in 1910. He received his B.A. degree from that school in 1918. During that same year he married Maria Klaassen. Maria Klaassen was born 28 November 28 1892 in Hillsboro, Kansas. She became a member of the Gnadenau Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church (Hillsboro, Kan.) at a young age. After attending public schools, she was among the first students to enroll at the new Tabor College and Academy (Hillsboro, Kan.), where she attended from 1908-1910. Klaassen then taught in local public schools from 1910-1913. She returned to Tabor Academy in 1914 and graduated from there in 1916 with a teacher's certificate, after which she resumed public school teaching. In anticipation of mission work, Klaassen enrolled at the Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton, Kansas, for one year of study and training. Following their marriage the Lohrenzes moved to Bluffton, Ohio, where John enrolled at Bluffton College and Mennonite Seminary. He received an M.A. degree from there in 1919. His thesis was entitled "History of the Mennonite Brethren Church of North America." A revised version of this thesis was published under the title The Mennonite Brethren Church (Hillsboro: Board of Foreign Missions, 1950). Also in 1919 the Lohrenzes co-authored the book Glaubenshelden in der Christlichen Heidenmission (Hillsboro: Mennonite Brethren Publishing House). After graduation from Bluffton, J. H. Lohrenz served as an itinerant evangelist among Mennonite Brethren congregations in Kansas and Oklahoma. On May 9, 1920 J. H. and Maria Lohrenz were ordained as Mennonite Brethren missionaries to India, where they began serving later that year. The Lohrenzes spent four terms in India from 1920- 1957, most of that time on the Shamshabad field in Andhra Pradesh state. John H. Lohrenz distinguished himself in India as an administrator, evangelist, educator and writer. As a teacher of Bible in the Shamshabad Bible Institute he prepared a series of Bible doctrine lessons that were eventually published as The Doctrinal Teachings of the Bible (Shamshabad: A.M.B. Mission, 1964). The book was published in the English, Telugu and Marathi languages. In India Maria Lohrenz taught Sunday schools and Bible classes and assisted her husband during evangelistic tours. She was the principal of the Shamshabad and Hughestown schools for many years. Maria Lohrenz also performed some medical work, serving for some time in the Shamshabad Mission Hospital. During their first furlough from India (1928-1929) the Lohrenzes attended the Kansas City Baptist Theological Seminary. Both of them received B.D. degrees from that school in 1929. Following their retirement from active missionary work the Lohrenzes moved to Fresno, California, where they became members of the Bethany Mennonite Brethren Church. In 1959 the Board of Foreign Mission sent J. H. Lohrenz to visit Mennonite Brethren churches in South America. Maria Lohrenz died in Fresno on July 19, 1962. Her husband published a brief biography of her life in 1963, entitled A Life For Christ in India (Hillsboro: Board of Foreign Missions). John H. Lohrenz married Susie Richert in 1963. Richert was born 19 March 19 1897 at Goessel, Kansas. She became a member of the Corn (Okla.) Mennonite Brethren Church in 1909. Richert graduated from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (Biola) in 1920 and received a B.A. degree from Tabor College in 1924. She was a primary school teacher in California for many years and retired in 1961. Shortly after their marriage, J. H. and Susie Lohrenz visited India for several months of preaching and teaching during 1963. Back in Fresno, Lohrenz conducted weekly devotional services in the Twilight Haven Rest Home for several years. John H. Lohrenz died in Fresno on 5 March 1971. Susie Lohrenz died in Fresno during the spring of 1991.
Collection is open for research.