ELKHART, Ind. (Mennonite Mission Network)—Known for his wry sense of humor, ability to fix anything mechanical and humble approach to mission, Everett Metzler, 81, died July 26 at his home in Goshen.
Metzler and his wife, Margaret, taught English in China from 1985-1996 with China Educational Exchange, a predecessor agency to Mennonite Partners in China and a partner of Mennonite Mission Network. As the first long-term teachers at the agency, the Metzlers served as mentors to later teachers and were highly revered by both students and fellow mission workers.
“Mr. and Mrs. Metzler treated everybody kindly and equally,” one Chinese student in Luoyang is quoted as saying in an annual report. “We know that their affection for life stemmed from their belief that happiness is to help others. They always smiled patiently at the numerous questions and welcomed the visitors who came regardless of day or night. Their love and sincere friendship affected everyone around them and rekindled the same feeling in return.”
Friends and coworkers in China remember Metzler as a man of wisdom, humility and faith. Myrrl Byler, then-director of China Educational Exchange, said Metzler had great respect for the Chinese people and culture, which came through in his work as a teacher and how he related to others.
“Everett was low-key in most things that he did. He easily shared his faith with others, but it was more just being around him that one would see and feel the depth of his love of God, the church and the people around him,” Byler said.
Metzler was born Oct. 31, 1930, in Ronks, Pa., to the late Isaac J. and Mae Metzler. After graduating from Eastern Mennonite College—now Eastern Mennonite University—in 1955, he married Margaret Joann Glick in 1956.
The Metzlers spent the next 12 years serving in Vietnam with Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions, followed by six years in Hong Kong. When they returned to the United States, Metzler pastored at Park View Mennonite Church in Kokomo, Ind. for 10 years.
After returning from China in 1996, Everett and Margaret retired to Goshen and became members of North Goshen Mennonite Church.
Metzler was known as a skilled handyman who could fix almost anything. He delighted in his many mechanical creations and helped with numerous repair projects at La Casa, Habitat for Humanity and the Mission Network offices over the years.
A few months ago Metzler was found to have widespread lung cancer. His health rapidly declined until he passed away peacefully while under hospice care last week.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret; three sons, Malcolm, Eric and Andre; two daughters, Jennifer and Gretchen; five grandchildren, and siblings and their families.
A memorial service will be held in Goshen within a few months.
Mennonite Mission Network, the mission agency of Mennonite Church USA, leads, mobilizes and equips the church to participate in holistic witness to Jesus Christ in a broken world. Media may contact Andrew Clouse at firstname.lastname@example.org, 574-523-3024 or 866-866-2872, ext. 23024.