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Irven Fike Stern was born on March 8, 1928, in Fredericksburg, Iowa, the son of Roy E. and Ethel M. (Fike) Stern. He graduated from Fredericksburg High School, received a Bachelor of Arts at McPherson College, Master of Divinity at Bethany Seminary, and Master of Arts at Northwestern University.
On June 1, 1950, Irven married Pattie Bittinger at Elgin, Illinois. She preceded him in death on February 5, 2006.
Irven spent his life in service to others, as a missionary, teacher, pastor and church district executive. He was the founder and first principal of Kulp Bible School in Nigeria. He taught religion courses at McPherson College. He served pastorates in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Iowa and California. Along with his wife, Irven served as District Co-Executive of Pacific Southwest District of the Church of the Brethren. In his retirement, he built his own 864 square-foot greenhouse and began a houseplant business called Plants Please. For several years he grew plants in the McPherson College greenhouse to beautify the offices and public spaces of the college. Irven was a member of the McPherson Church of the Brethren, which he attended regularly even after his stroke and where he felt loved, welcomed and whole.
Irven died on October 20, 2014 at The Cedars, McPherson, six and a half years after a debilitating stroke that left him unable to walk or communicate verbally.
Survivors include: children; Gayle Bartel (Don) of Potwin, KS, Gary Stern (Rae) of San Diego, CA, and Susan Boyer (Bryan) of Claremont, CA; six grandchildren, Joshua Bartel, Jerry Bartel, Jason Stern, Bree Stern, Matthew Boyer, and Brett Boyer; seven great-grandchildren; and six brothers, Russel, Donald, Alvin, Roy, Robert, and James.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, brothers, Galen and Daniel, and sisters, Beulah Francione, Lois Ilaoa, Margaret Hansel, and Doris Tyler.
The memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM, Tuesday, October 28, 2014, at McPherson Church of the Brethren with Rev. Chris Whitacre officiating. A private inurnment will precede the service at McPherson Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to McPherson Church of the Brethren, McPherson College, or Church of the Brethren (with EYN Compassion Fund written in the memo line) in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Irven F. Stern please visit our Sympathy Store.
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