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Lester Heatwole

Lester Gabriel Heatwole, age 82, of Bartow, completed his earthly journey September 19, 2018, at his home.

Born November 8, 1935, in Dayton, Virginia, he was a son of the late Eli D. and Annie Rhodes Heatwole.

On September 21, 1956, he married Ellen Mae Keener of Harrisonburg, Virginia, who survives.

Lester spent most of his life as a dairy farmer in Rockingham County, Virginia. He was ordained as a minister in 1969 and bishop in 1980 for Southeastern Mennonite Conference. He was actively involved in beginning their Christian Day schools. He also assisted in starting mission churches in Puerto Rico. He was very active in other areas of church life, as well.

Upon retiring from the ministry and farming, the couple moved to Bartow to be near their daughter. There he spent many happy hours sorting used clothing for Christian Aid Ministries.

For 21 years, the hand of “Mr. Parkinson’s” tightly gripped his, but God’s grace was sufficient.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three siblings, Ivan, Clara and Jacob Heatwole; and a daughter-in-law, Ramona Heatwole.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by five children, Laura Rohrer, and husband, Wendell, of Bartow, Glenn Heatwole, and wife, Fern, of McDowell, Virginia, Weldon Heatwole, and wife, Mary Ethel, and Leroy Heatwole, and wife, Rhonda, all of Elkton, Virginia, and Philip Heatwole, of Grottoes, Virginia; 22 grandchildren; 52 great- grandchildren; and nine siblings, Norma Petre, Milton Heatwole, John Heatwole, Stanley Heatwole, and Reba Hewitt, all of Virginia, Arlene Yoder and Marvin Heatwole, both of Pennsylvania, Betty Shenk, of Ohio, and Hettie Barnhart, of Georgia.

Funeral service was held September 24 at the Bank Mennonite Church in Dayton, Virginia, with Nathan Horst, James Helmuth, Larry Showalter and Ken Martin officiating. Burial was in the church cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Christian Aid Ministries PO Box 360, Berlin, OH, 44610

Online condolences may be made at

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