​Jacob Flisher confers with "Mrs. Nathan," cashier, and Wilfred Victor, assistant business manager, at Dhamtari (India) Christian Hospital in 1967. Photo courtesy of Mennonite Church USA Archives.

By Lynda Hollinger-Janzen
Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Jacob Henry "Jake" Flisher Jr. and his wife, Arvilla, went to India in 1953. Jake's first assignment was to serve as a hospital lab technician, but later, he was asked to assume the role of administrator of Dhamtari Christian Hospital. As an ordained minister, Jake also pastored in several village churches.

Jacob Henry "Jake" Flisher Jr. served in India for more than two decades with Mennonite Board of Missions (MBM), a predecessor agency of Mennonite Mission Network. He died peacefully in his sleep in Goshen, Indiana, Sept. 22, at the age of 96.

Jake was a "quiet conscientious person, who worked behind the scenes to make the world a better place," said John Nyce, who knew Jake as an MBM coworker in India and, in recent years, as a neighbor at Greencroft, a senior living community in Goshen.

Another MBM co-worker, Weldon Friesen, who worked in India from 1968-71, described Jake as "cheerful, with a sense of humor." Jake's unassuming competence was especially appreciated during the period that the mission agency was turning leadership of the ministries over to Indian leaders, Weldon said.

Jake and his wife, Arvilla, went to India in 1953. His first assignment was to serve as a hospital lab technician, but later, he was asked to assume the role of administrator of Dhamtari Christian Hospital. As an ordained minister, Jake also pastored in several village churches. When the Flishers returned to the United States, in 1975, Jake became administrator of Beth Haven Retirement Community in Hannibal, Missouri, where he worked until his retirement in 1995.  

Paul Ewert, Jake's successor as the Beth Haven administrator wrote, after listing Jake's many professional accomplishments, "He led not by demanding or insisting but by being available and answering questions. His guidance extended beyond work into his ministry. His sermons were insightful and well thought out. Our community is better because of him."   

Jake was born April 27, 1927, in Nampa, Idaho, to Jacob Henry and Ina (Berry) Flisher. He married Arvilla Miller in 1952 in Kalona, Iowa. The following year, they began their ministries in India.  

Jake received his training as a lab technician at St. Luke's Hospital, Nampa. He, then, continued his studies at Hesston (Kansas) CollegeGoshen (Indiana) College and Goshen Biblical Seminary (now Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary).

In 2000, Jake moved to Greencroft, where he lived until his death. He was a member of College Mennonite Church.

Jake was preceded in death by Arvilla (1998). He is survived by four daughters, Mary Ina Hooley (Don) of Bluffton, Ohio; Judy Ginger (John) of Eugene, Oregon; Sylvia Blaser (Dennis) of Caledonia, Illinois; and Jeanette Hunt (Randy) of Millersville, Pennsylvania; seven grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and 14 step-great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held Oct. 20 ­­­­­­at Pea Ridge Mennonite Cemetery, Philadelphia, Missouri, where Jake will be buried next to Arvilla.

Memorial gifts may be mailed to Mennonite Mission Network, P.O. Box 370, Elkhart, IN, 46515; or given online.

 

 

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​Lynda Hollinger-Janzen is a writer for Mennonite Mission Network.

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