Nelda Grace (Musselman) Shantz
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1926 - 2021
Of Cambridge, passed away on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021 at the age of 95.
Wife of J. Ralph Shantz (deceased 2014) for 67 years. Loving mother of Roger (Susan) Shantz, Linda (Elwin) Garland, and Stan (Kathy) Shantz. Grandmother to Barb, Brian, Nathan, Andrew, Rachel, Sarah, Kristi, and Kayleena. Great grandmother to 4 great grandsons and 5 great granddaughters.
She was the daughter of the late Edgar and Irene (nee Snider) Musselman. Predeceased by sister Helen Steckly, brother Elmer Musselman, sister Arlene Burnett; nine brother-in-laws and eight sister-in-laws.
Nelda was born February 26, 1926 in a red-bricked house on Fountain Street in then Preston (now Cambridge), Ontario. At three or four years of age, the family moved to a farm at Bloomingdale, then a year or so later to Vineland, and then Grimsby at age six. At age sixteen a move was made to a farm near the current Pioneer BBQ at Kitchener. At age twenty-one, she married Ralph and they moved to Alma for a short time where Ralph had a trucking business. They then moved to Freeport (Kitchener) and lived in an apartment at the back of Ralph’s parent’s house where Ralph farmed and where their first son was soon born. In 1952 they bought a farm at Blair (Cambridge) where they dairy farmed until 1966 after selling the farm and herd. In early 1974 they moved to New Dundee, then to Lang’s Circle, Cambridge in 1981, then to the Fairview cottage in 1995. While living in the cottage, Mom and Dad hosted many visitors, including various church leaders. Often these visitors had relatives they were visiting in the Fairview Home next door and stayed overnight in their downstairs apartment with Mom providing “old time” farm meals. Ralph suffered a stroke in 2008 and moved into Long Term Care at Fairview with Mom moving to apartment # 518 at Fairview, where she lived a full life until her passing.
In Nelda’s pre-marriage years, she held many jobs – picking fruit at Grimsby; working at Savages Shoe Factory, Preston/Cambridge; JM Schneider’s, Kitchener; and as a live-in maid. After moving to the Blair farm, she did house cleaning and drove school bus for Rockway Mennonite High School. After the farm was sold, she worked for the Doon Pioneer Village for several years.
Nelda was an excellent quilter, great cook and gardener, dedicated to family, community and church. She defined the word “hospitality”. Never was a visitor (known or not) at church or at any random meeting allowed to go on their way without an invitation to a meal at their home. She went out of her way to welcome all, especially those on the “edges” into “her” family.
She was a long time member of Hagey/Preston Mennonite Church where she was very active in the WMSC (active women’s group responding to any needs presented to them). She volunteered for many years as a 4-H leader. She was also active, along with long time neighbor and friend Pat Kinzie Witmer in many hospitality initiatives in the Cambridge area. Along with Ralph, she volunteered for many years with Choice Books, MCC, travelling much of Ontario and into the NE USA.
She enjoyed travels to Puerto Rico; western and eastern Canada as well as all of Ontario in their trailer; Pennsylvania; Ohio to visit friends and family and take in any Mennonite Relief Sale in the area; and twelve trips to Arizona where son Stan was a minister at Trinity Mennonite Church, Glendale, Arizona.
Thank you to the Fairview Mennonite Home staff; to Nelda’s friends who visited and assisted her while she was in her apartment at Fairview: to the PSW's with the Waterloo Wellington Integrated Assisted Living; to Dr. Hollowell; to Pastor’s Danielle Raimbault and KyongJung Kim from Preston Mennonite Church.
Visitation is Friday, July 30th, 6-8 p.m. at Lounsbury Funeral Home. Check the funeral home website for covid regulations.
Interment and funeral are private and by invitation
In lieu of flowers donations are invited to Preston Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central Committee, or Fairview Mennonite Home