C. Nelson Hostetter, 92, former director of Mennonite Disaster Service, funeral director, statistician

By on May 25, 2016

C. Nelson Hostetter died peacefully May 18, 2016 at Landis Homes Retirement Community, Lititz, where he and his wife Esther had lived for the past seven years. Before that they lived in Akron, where he was a member of Akron Mennonite Church for many years.

He was the oldest son of Dr. and Mrs. C.N. Hostetter Jr. Born at Lancaster General Hospital on May 18, 1923, he lived his early life in Refton in southern Lancaster County. At age 10, he moved with his family to Messiah College, Grantham. He graduated from Messiah Academy, Goshen College and Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.

As a conscientious objector during World War II, Nelson served in Grottos, Va.; Mulberry, Fla.; Ypsilanti State Hospital in Michigan; and LaPlata, Puerto Rico; where he met and married Esther Miller on Dec. 8, 1946.

Nelson was a funeral director and owner of a monument company in Ohio until 1971 when the family relocated to Akron, where he became the first full-time director of Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), then under Mennonite Central Committee. Later, Nelson was associated with Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia states in disaster response. During these years, Esther was his traveling secretary. He contributed to books on MDS and Anabaptist statistics. His work on statistics continued for the rest of his life. His long-time hobby was collecting Hostetter’s Bitters bottles.

He was predeceased by his parents and three brothers: S. Lane, D. Ray and Glenn Hostetter.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years: Esther; his daughter: Kaye Book of Durango, Colo.; his son: Chris of Akron; his grandson: Travis (Sarah) Book; and two great-grandchildren of Brevard, N.C.; and three sisters-in-law.

Services were held May 24 at Akron Mennonite Church.

Contributions in lieu of flowers may be sent to Mennonite Disaster Service or Akron Mennonite Church.

Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes Inc., Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at stradlingfuneralhome.com.

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