Rosalie Jane Bentzinger, aged 96, of Donnellson, Iowa died on October 25, 2020, at her home in the care of Every Step Hospice. Her life began and ended in the room where she, her siblings and her mother were born.
Her birth was on August 9, 1924, to Carl M. and Edna Jane (Benjamin) Bentzinger. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother: Richard Alvin Bentzinger. She is survived by her sister: Margaret Bentzinger Gregory and nieces and nephews: Rosalie Jane Gregory Mills, Carl Gregory, Rebecca Bentzinger, Sarah Bentzinger Clarahan, John Bentzinger and Philip Bentzinger. She has seven great nieces and nephews.
Rosalie was a graduate of Ottumwa High School, Iowa Wesleyan College and Garrett Theological Seminary. She holds honorary doctorate degrees from Iowa Wesleyan, Westmar College and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Throughout her adult life, she had a distinguished career in service to the United Methodist Church. Her passion was for Christian Education and she was elected president of the Christian Educators’ Fellowship (CEF) – a newly formed national organization. She was consecrated as a Diaconal Minister (now the order of Deacon) in 1977.
Rosalie held Christian Educator positions at Methodist Churches in Ottumwa, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; Webster City, Iowa; and Park Ridge, Illinois. She was the manager of the Iowa Area Methodist Book Center in Des Moines. In the 1970s, she joined the Iowa United Methodist Council on Ministries in Des Moines and traveled around the state in support of Christian Educators.
Rosalie was instrumental in the formation of Diaconal Ministry as an important part of laity in service to the Church. From 1979 – 1994, she served as the Associate General Secretary of the Division of Diaconal Ministry for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry at the national United Methodist Headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. In this position, she traveled around the USA and the world. Rosalie was a key member of the team that helped to begin the formation of Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. She coordinated the design of the School of Education and traveled to Africa 5 times to advise and consult with the faculty. This project was very exciting for her and the overwhelming success of the Africa University gave her great joy.
Upon retiring from the General Board of Higher Education in Nashville. Rosalie and her sister Margaret moved to Donnellson Iowa and lived in the house in which they were raised. They became active members of their home church, Donnellson United Methodist Church and participated in many community activities. Rosalie served on the Board of the Donnellson Public Library. She was a proud member of PEO and Pi Beta Phi. She generously supported Heifer International and causes related to world peace, education, the environment and social justice.
Rosalie writes of her life and career: “As I take risks, I realize that the Christian’s call is to live ‘on the brink’, sacrificing comfort for growth and significant service. As is often true with ministry, I have never really known how significant or effective my efforts have been. I only know I have had many unusual opportunities for service; an abundance of hard work with wonderful colleagues; and much joy along the way.”
The family is planning a Memorial Celebration for Rosalie to take place when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Memorial gifts in Rosalie’s honor may be given to the Donnellson United Methodist Church, the Donnellson Public Library or Every Step Hospice in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Schmitz Funeral Home of Donnellson is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.schmitzfuneralhomes.com.