Robert Lee Hartzler

1936 - 2022


Robert Lee Hartzler was born Jan. 22, 1936, to Ezra Jacob Hartzler and Cora Mae Yoder at Belleville, Pa., and died at the age of 86 on July 24, 2022, in Wayland, Iowa.

Survivors are his wife: Phyllis (Freyenberger); five children: Jill Denise Hartzler of Washington, Tina Joy Ulrich (John) of Traverse City, Mich., Faith Lugene Hartzler of Cedar Rapids, Robert Reed Hartzler of Olds, and Ezra Drew (Teri) Hartzler of Washington; eight grandchildren: Maria, Corinna, and David Ulrich, Alden and Anna Hartzler, Ashley, Olivia (Jacob) Warren, and Blake Hartzler; and one sister: Ruth Glick, of Chesterfield, Va. 

He is preceded in death by his siblings: Vesta (Thomas) Peachey, Mollie (Leonard) Peachey, Sara (Raymond) Hartzler, Anna Mary (Paul) Renno, and Floyd (Alma) Hartzler.

Bob and Phyllis met when Bob was doing his 1-W alternative service in Hannibal, Mo. and his quartet sang at Sugar Creek.  They were married Nov. 23, 1956, and he went to work for Leonard Leichty driving the bulldozer and scraper.  He worked for the Leichty’s full time for 13 years and part time off and on throughout his years in ministry.  He believed that every pastor should have a marketable skill besides the primary task of shepherding the flock.

Bob was called to the ministry early in life and on Dec. 30, 1962, he was ordained as a youth minister at Sugar Creek Mennonite Church in Wayland.  He felt the need for more education and over the next six years, with the churches’ generous support, he studied at Hesston, Goshen, and Iowa Wesleyan colleges earning an AA degree from Hesston and completing his BA at Goshen College in 1968. He later continued his education in Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Iowa Hospital and Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, S.D.

Bob served 39 years in pastorates in Wayland, Des Moines, Washington, and Belleville, Pa., and nine years as the Northern District Conference Minister.  He was active in the Iowa Nebraska Conference and the larger church and served on many committees including the publishing committee at Herald Press, Hesston College Board of Overseers, Mennonite Church General Board, MCGB Nominating Committee, and the Council on Faith Life, and Strategy. Retiring in Wayland, he served as an interim pastor for five congregations, guiding them through difficult times between pastors.

Cycling was Bob’s favorite pastime.  He logged over 87,000 miles and completed the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa 10 times. The exercise and friendship of fellow bikers kept him healthy and happy over the years.

A private family burial service took place at Sugar Creek Cemetery on Wednesday, July 27, followed by a memorial service at Sugar Creek Mennonite Church. The service will be available via Livestream at the Beatty Peterseim Facebook page.

Memorial donations can be made to the Crooked Creek Christian Camp (2830 Coppock Rd, Washington, IA 52353) or to Sugar Creek Mennonite Church (PO Box 146 Wayland, IA 52654)